A Very Different Alpine Slalom!!!
Hannes Arch’s slalom flight to promote the next event in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship series was out of the ordinary.
Just a few kilometres from Spielberg in Austria, where Arch will join the other competing pilots on 23-24 April, he fulfilled a long-held ambition at one of the world’s highest wind farms. At 1,900 meters (6200ft) above sea level he slalomed through the fourteen wind turbines in Oberzeiring (Styria, Austria).
Growing up near the Tauern Wind Farm in his Styrian homeland, the native of Trofaiach Arch often played with the idea of attempting a slalom flight saying, “If, as a Red Bull Air Race pilot, you have such a wind farm on your front door and fly past it, it’s no wonder that you also want to fly through it at some point!”
Unlike the Red Bull Air Race pylons, wind turbines don’t bend, they are rigid, and that is precisely why the idea of flying in between such massive “gates” had such an irresistible appeal for the Austrian pilot, “Respect is of ultimate importance, and without my experience as a Red Bull Air Race pilot I would never have given the idea of flying between them a second thought.” he added.
With official permission both from the local authorities and the wind farm’s management granted, and after intensive preparations, Hannes Arch finally powered his way between the giant wind turbines in the Niedere Tauern mountains as you can see in the Red Bull Air Race video below.
After completing his flight at speeds of over 300 km/h (almost 200mph) and pulling as much as 6 G, he was emphatic: “I don’t know if a pilot has ever done anything comparable. Regardless, I am super happy that I was privileged to have such an experience. One of the greatest challenges in comparison to the Red Bull Air Race is having to adapt far more to the natural conditions. In the middle of the mountains, you are rising and falling. You can’t fly as close to the obstacles, which increases the radius, and, at around 300 km/h, things can get a bit tight. Every second, you have to be perfectly clear in your mind that you have wind turbines in front of you and need to know precisely what you are going to do next. Though it has nothing to do with the Red Bull Air Race, it’s every bit as much fun, with the added benefit that it’s not about the time you clock. Things will get really serious again at the next race in Spielberg!”
Click on photos below video to enlarge (photos: Red Bull Air Races / Marcus Berger)