American Rookie Impresses at Red Bull Air Race Season Opener

  • Mar 15, 2016 9:04pm GMT

Red Bull Air Race launched its 2016 season in perennial favorite Abu Dhabi, UAE with new faces in the Master and Challenger Series. However, it was 25-year old rookie American Kevin Coleman who immediately captured everyone's attention by finishing top of the time sheet in practice.

"Red Bull Air Race is definitely something I have been working on for a while. When Red Bull Air Race started in 2003 I was 13 years old," says Coleman. "As soon as I saw it online I knew I wanted to be a pilot competing in it one day, and now here we are. It is still surreal for me."

Veteran Daniel Ryfa still dominated winning the Challenger Cup, but Coleman finished strong with a second place finish.

Coleman returns to the U.S where he'll return to air show flying and more. "I will be doing four different styles of flying for 2016. Solo Air Show flying, Formation Air Show flying, Competition Aerobatics and now of course Red Bull Air Race."

"An Air Show pilot is what I have wanted to be since I was three years old, so I will continue to have a big presence in the Air Show world, I don't want to become irrelevant."

"I will also be representing the United States in Poland this summer at the Advanced World Aerobatic Championships, so right now I am very focused on contributing to the team as much as possible so hopefully we as a team can win the Gold medal for the United States, that is a big goal for this year. I think we have an awesome team and I look forward to representing the United States."

Coleman says he's looking forward to his rookie year and will race for the podium again in Spielberg, April 23-24.

"I spent 10 days in Spain training in the course, and it was quite the eye opener. This is the most challenging flying I have ever done. So going into my rookie year I hope to learn as much as possible, take in as much information from my fellow Americans and Master Pilots Mike Goulian and Kirby Chambliss."

"The big thing this year is to learn as much as possible, but at heart I am a competitor so if the opportunity presents itself to win some races and contend for a championship, you can bet that all focus and resources will be on that."

He's certainly off to a fantastic start.