Red Bull Air Race in Abu Dhabi Provides Extra Excitement

Kirby Chambliss avoids disaster as canopy departs.

Red Bull Air Race Abu Dhabi

Red Bull Air Race Abu Dhabi

The 2015 edition of the Red Bull Air Race launched in Abu Dhabi this weekend and, in addition to the usual thrills provided by the intense aerobatic pylon races, the competition included some extra excitement that fortunately ended with no serious injuries. While circling to enter the racecourse, Kirby Chambliss' Edge 540 airplane lost its canopy.

What would likely have ended in a serious tragedy had the failure happened on the race course, where pilots and airplanes are pushed to the max at very low altitudes, the incident appears to have resulted only in some very minor injuries. "The canopy hit him in the face resulting in a possible broken nose and a few scratches," a post said on Chambliss' Facebook page. "He is going to be fine!" There was no mention of why the canopy departed the airplane.

Abu Dhabi's race presented an additional challenge with scorching temperatures and changing winds in the Arabian Gulf. The winner was Paul Bonhomme, the Brit who took third place overall in 2014. But, as is often the case with the Red Bull Air Race, the margins were extremely tight. In second place was Australia's Matt Hall, only 0.084 seconds behind Bonhomme. "That's about the length of an airplane that separated us," a frustrated Hall said after the race.

The competition was held at a purpose built arena on the Corniche breakwater in Abu Dhabi. It was the eighth time the city hosted the event. The 2015 Red Bull Air Race World Championship series, which will consist of eight races around the world, will continue on May 16 and 17 in Chiba, Japan. It will be the first Red Bull Air Race held in that country.

Get a taste of the excitement in this footage from last year's race.

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