Red Bull Air Race Pilot Hannes Arch Dies

Red Bull Air Race pilot Hannes Arch died in a helicopter crash in the Austrian Alps on Thursday. Red Bull

Hannes Arch, one of the select few pilots in the world to fly in the highly technical Red Bull Air Race series, died yesterday in a helicopter accident in the Austrian Alps. On Thursday evening Arch, who was an avid mountaineer, was flying a Robinson R66 helicopter from the Elberfelderstraße hut, a mountain hut located in the south central part of Austria, the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF) said. Shortly after takeoff, the helicopter hit a cliff and crashed into a steep gully. The conditions at the time of the accident were night VFR. The cause of the crash has not been determined.

Because of the remote location of the crash, it took rescuers three hours to hike to the site, the ORF said. Arch died instantly, but his passenger, the warden of the hut, survived the crash and is expected to survive.

In his Red Bull Air Race bio, Arch was called “one of the most successful pilots in the history of the Red Bull Air Race.” Arch first flew in the qualifying round for the Red Bull Air Race in 2006. He won the World Championships in 2008 and finished first or second overall during four seasons. His performances in this year’s races so far had earned him a ranking of third overall.

With his background as a mountaineer, climber and aerobatic paraglider, Arch had been a Red Bull athlete for 25 years. “We will miss his warmth, sense of fun and boundless energy,” Red Bull said in a statement.

Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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