747 Captain Wins 2015 Red Bull Air Race Championship

Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas, Paul Bonhomme captured his record-setting third Red Bull Air Race World Championship. Bonhomme is well-known for his aerobatic skills, but he also happens to be a 747 Captain for British Airways.

At the post race conference, Bonhomme said, “I knew it was going to be hard work, everyone was on their game. We seemed historically to come out of the blocks well… that was pleasing, then it was pretty obvious that everyone else was catching up. Up until 3 o’clock this afternoon, I had no idea what was going to happen.”

Photo courtesy Red Bull Media
Photo courtesy Red Bull Media

Bonhomme won four of eight races this year, taking the 2015 Championship by five points, over Australian Matt Hall. Hall won this weekend’s race in Las Vegas, with Bonhomme taking second. Third place for the 2015 season went to Austrian pilot Hannes Arch. Captain Bonhomme, age 51, has been flying on the Red Bull circuit since 2003, and is the most successful pilot in the Race’s history. He got his pilot’s license at age 18, and has been flying aerobatics for 29 years. American pilot Kirby Chambliss finished 12th in Las Vegas, and 11th overall for the 2015 series. He spent much of the 2015 season making adjustments to his Zivko Edge 540, including winglets and a new canopy.

Peter Besenyei. Photo courtesy Red Bull Media.
Peter Besenyei. Photo courtesy Red Bull Media.

Also this weekend in Las Vegas, the Race also celebrated the career of 59 year-old pilot Peter Besenyei, of Hungary. Besenyei has retired from competitive flying with 22 podium finishes over nine seasons, including eight victories, and the inaugural world title in 2003. He is known as one of the pioneers of the sport.