When the phone call came in from one of the guys in Red Bull saying that they had something in mind that would be right up my street, I wasn’t exactly expecting what they had planned. Having known my penchant for speed and thrills I guess they saw it as somewhat of a challenge to see if they could really make me feel a bit nervous. Of course as soon as I heard the words ‘Air Race’ I subconsciously said yes before allowing him to finish his sentence, (it’s a problem I sometimes have).
The venue would be the little-known Top Gear Test Track, otherwise called Dunsfold Aerodrome. Once fitted into my flight suit, I was then equipped with my parachute which is precisely when things got very real! When I informed my pilot that I had never used a parachute before he simply smiled and told me “we probably won’t be using them today, but if we do, it’s all pretty instinctive”. Okay…
Unlike your usual flight where you cross a belt over your waist and insert into the metal buckle, I would be held very firmly in place by a five-point safety harness that would make what’s in most race cars look a little on the skimpy side. Given that the Extra EA-330/LC I was going up in is capable of pulling 10G and reaching a top speed of 410km/h, I was glad to have it. Rather than try to describe to you just how it all felt, it’s best that I let the video do the talking! Big thanks once again to Red Bull Ireland for making it happen.
– Dave Humphreys