Michael Goulian and Team 99 have returned to the podium at the Red Bull Air Race in Kazan, Russia with a brilliant third place finish.
For Team 99, this podium finish is the realization of a goal they have been working towards in earnest over two seasons of racing. It serves as validation of the hours of effort improving their Edge 540 race plane, honing their strategy, and refining the dynamics within the team. Leaving Russia, trophy in hand, allow Goulian and his team to set their aim higher, with a clear sight to a race win.
The podium finish is especially rewarding given the challenging conditions of the race course.
“The goal today was to fly very cleanly, and very fast. We flew fast but not always so cleanly, until it mattered in the final 4. So, we were really fast all day, some of the fastest net times there, but gate 4 as it was a problem for everybody, was a problem for us as well. But, we realized our goal today…”
Tattered remnants of pylons filled the air in Russia like confetti at a parade Sunday morning. A subtle wind pushed the race pilots further into the harshest corners of the race course. 7 out of 14 pilots toppled a pylon in the first round of competition, knocking several favorites out of the running and turning the competition into a free-for-all.
Goulian, flying in the first heat of the Round of 14, had to fly without the advantage of watching the misfortune of his competitors. He would be the first to slice a pylon, though his time of 1:00.531 was still fast enough to allow passage into the Round of 8 as the “fastest loser.” The two pilots sitting atop the World Championship leader board; Japan’s Yoshi Muroya, and the Czech Martin Sonka were unable to best Goulian’s time, ending their respective bids for victory.
Moving into the Round of 8, Goulian was matched against Christian Bolton of Chile. Bolton amassed an unfortunate string of penalties in his flight, presenting an open window for Goulian and Team 99. The course bit again, with Goulian striking pylon #4, though he held on to an impressive 3 second lead over Bolton. Goulian moved into the final round of competition for the first time of the 2017 season.
For the Final 4, Goulian had to fly clean and he delivered. First to fly was fellow American Kirby Chambliss, whose run of 0:58.378 was an impressive time for his competitors to beat. Goulian, flying second, was able to maintain a clean line, avoiding the pylon hits that had plagued earlier flights that day, and threw down a time of 0:59.650. That time would hold Goulian in second place as Petr Kopfstein logged 6 seconds in penalties with two pylon hits in his third run. Canadian Pete McLeod; the fastest pilot all week, seemed to have the contest won as he quickly outpaced Chambliss’s time. A two-second penalty for incorrect passing of a gate would destroy McLeod’s run for top of the podium, though he was able to push Goulian to third, with a time of 0:59.125
- Kirby Chambliss – 0.58.378
- Pete McLeod – 0:59.125
- Michael Goulian – 0:59.650
- Petr Kopfstein – 1:04.297
Michael Goulian and Team 99 will head into the Round of 14 with a 5th place qualifying finish. Goulian was able to fly two penalty free runs on Saturday in a field besieged with pylon hits, and disqualifications. Less than half a second separates Goulian from 2nd place, and the team is confident they know where they can make up that difference.
“There is a magic half of a second on the eastern portion of that track. As long as we can find it and take advantage of it, we’ll be in good shape tomorrow.”
Faced with the most demanding race course of the 2017 season, Goulian and Team 99 rocketed into the qualifying round with a clear aim. Their strategy relied on Goulian’s ability to execute with a degree of precision that has become the signature of his air show flying career. The Russian race course shows its teeth after gate 3 (gate 10 on the second lap) where the air race pilots must execute a hard, high-G left turn before reversing back to the right to pass through the inflatable pylons of gate 4 (Gate 11 on second lap) at a seemingly impossible acute angle.
Complicating things even further, the prevailing wind Saturday was 180 degrees off from everything the pilots had seen during previous practice rounds. With such a drastic shift in conditions, pilots were essentially seeing the race course for the first time all over again. Anticipating how the wind would effect the optimal race line was crucial for a clean flight.
Race day action will kick off Sunday, with Goulian facing Spain’s Juan Velarde in the first heat of the Round of 14.
Fans in the United States can follow the Red Bull Air Race live ticker feed beginning at 7am EDT or catch the rebroadcast on NBC Sports Sunday night at 11pm
SATURDAY’S QUALIFYING RESULTS:
- Pete McLeod (CAN): 54.562
- Martin Šonka (CZE): 56.339
- Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA): 56.450
- Kirby Chambliss (USA): 56.703
- Mike Goulian: (USA): 56.837
- Matt Hall (AUS): 57.068
The Massachusetts Air and Space Museum is pleased to welcome Michael Goulian to our Board of Directors. Mike is an aerobatic national champion aviator who races in the Red Bull Air Race World Series under the number 99.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL – March 30, 2017 – The National Aircraft Finance Association (NAFA) honored Joseph Dini and Louis Seno with the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award at the 46th annual meeting held at the Harbor Beach Marriott in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
“I am honored to present the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award to Joe Dini and Lou Seno,” said Ford von Weise, president of NAFA. “This is the first time in the history of NAFA that we are presenting this award and I couldn’t think of two more deserving people than Joe and Lou.”
Joseph Dini was the first award recipient. Dini experienced a very successful 40 year plus career in business aviation finance, having founded the business aviation finance groups at First NH Bank, FINOVA, GMAC Commercial Finance, Merrill Lynch Capital, Sovereign Bank and lastly establishing the successful member aircraft finance group at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, known as AOPA Finance. Not only was he successful in his own career, but he also served as a mentor to many aspiring business aviation professionals, including the current heads aircraft finance at three top banks. Dini was also instrumental in establishing Boston Aviation Leasing and is currently on the Brown Aviation Leasing Advisory Board. He – along with the other Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Lou Seno – was an early member of the National Aircraft Finance Association (NAFA) and was elected as its president twice for two separate non-concurrent terms. Dini – along with Seno – is credited for dramatically expanding the membership to include both general and business aviation and helped to develop its robust education program. Dini is also past elected member of the Town of Lexington’s School Board and a Town Meeting Member. He resides in Bedford, MA with his wife.
The NAFA Lifetime Achievement Award was established to recognize the lifetime achievements of individuals within the aircraft Finance, Legal and Insurance community to recognize their extraordinary professional contributions of leadership, time, ideas and mentoring of association members.
The Award is bestowed by the National Aircraft Finance Association (NAFA) during its Annual Conference.
The National Aircraft Finance Association (NAFA) is a non-profit corporation dedicated to promoting the general welfare of individuals and organizations providing aircraft financing and loans secured by aircraft; to improving the industry’s service to the public; and to providing our members with a forum for education and the sharing of information and knowledge to encourage the financing, leasing and insuring of general aviation aircraft. For more information about NAFA, visit the website at visit www.NAFA.aero
On March 25, 2017 at Worcester Regional Airport, the Massachusetts Air and Space Museum hosted the 2nd Annual Massachusetts General Aviation Forum where the leaders of the GA Community could share ideas and calendars about upcoming events for the 2017 flying season.
Our featured speaker was Dave Pascoe, founder and owner of Live ATC. Dave spoke about his passion for training in personal flying and was able to turn his need for hearing Boston air traffic communications into the worldwide communication sharing system that has become LiveATC, both on mobile devices and through the Internet.
Several key individuals from the aviation community attended. Loren Herren flew in from Bridgewater State University to share what the school is doing on the subject. Groups such as the Massachusetts Airport Managers Association, represented by David Dinneen, AOPA Regional Representative, Sean Collins and Aero Club of New England (ACONE) who sent Cary Webster all presented how their organizations are working to combat the issue of diminishing pilot numbers.
Andy Davis, Airport Manager for Worcester regional Airport, spoke about the work going at ORH and Joe Dini shared some updates about plans for the museum. John Henry of the New England Flying Gourmet Challenge spoke about how important it is to work together to achieve a unified goal as represented by the great success of the NEFGC.
EAA106 was represented by Barbara Jagla, Jim Engbeg spoke about happenings with the Worcester Pilots Association and Keith Young gave updates from the Fitchburg Pilots Association.
Our museum once again participated in the annual STEM Aviation and Maritime Expo sponsored by the FAA & MassPort at Logan Airport. Over 1700 students from the Boston area and beyond participated in the event. The Expo is held annually at the Delta Airlines Hanger to expose young people to various careers within the aviation and maritime fields.
Veteran attendee Joe Dini was joined by first timers Bob Segal and Glenn Block at the MASM Table. These three dedicated volunteers spent the morning chatting with students and teachers about the choices available for those interested in the flying world. A large number of our Horizons newsletters went home with individuals and hopefully will generate interest in what we are working to achieve as an organization. Barbara Jagla & Keith Young were on-hand and working the table for Young Eagles with EAA 106.