Live this weekend at the Indy Finals

It’s the Red Bull Air Race finals at Indianapolis this weekend and Melanie is ready to pull the stops out during the last race of the season.

She is one of the 6 Challenger Pilots that qualified for the final at the iconic home of the Indianapolis 500 car race. She made the final in 2016, her first year as a Challenger pilot, and finished 7th in the Championship. This year Mel has progressed a lot, she’s flying really fast and she’s currently 5th. Her objective is to finish in 4th place overall in the Championship with a win at Indy.

The peculiarity of the Indianapolis circuit is the take-off start and the 90° turn in the VTM. It takes really precise and smooth flying to do well here because of the relatively low airspeed. That means that the aircraft has a lot less energy to start with, so you have to do everything you can to build your airspeed as quickly as possible and maintain it. The slower airspeed also means that there is no chance of “over-G-ing” the aircraft, but here pulling lots of G creates lots of drag which will quickly slow you down.

The 90° turn in the VTM requires a lot more concentration than a standard straight half loop. The pilot needs to turn onto the correct heading while inverted and accelerating down towards the next gate. It’s essential to roll the short way around (which is easier said than done when you’re upside down) so that the ailerons are used for the least amount of time possible, keeping drag to a minimum so that the aircraft accelerates as fast as it can.

The Indianapolis race is all about flying with finesse, which Melanie is very comfortable with.

Says Mel about the circuit:

« The Indy circuit is well suited to my style of flying as I am pretty fluid in the way I move the controls. I really enjoyed flying here last year and it gives me even more confidence to push myself to yet the next level this year. Also I feel really at home in the cockpit now so I am definitely going to give the other pilots a run for their money here, so tune in live this weekend… and smile on!  »


You can follow Melanie and the Red Bull Air Race live here:
Practice and qualifying sessions: Saturday Oct 14 from 10.45LT (14.45UTC, 16.45CET)
Challenger Race : Sunday Oct 15 at 12.00 LT (16.00 UTC, 18.00 CET)

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