Exclusive: Team Chambliss on their approach to success in the 2019 Air Racing season

Courtesy of Red Bull Air Race Media Service Team

This year, Red Bull Air Race pilot Kirby Chambliss (USA) has a chance to move up to second place on the all-time race wins list and claim his third season crown. Here, he and his teammates share their perspectives on how they define success – and what it will take to achieve it.

Chambliss himself is not counting race wins. “For Team Chambliss, success would be to win the World Championship,” he states. “To do that you have to win races, of course. When you win enough races, the Championship will follow.” 


Team Coordinator Kayla Layton says, “I think the key this year is eliminating any and all distractions during race week. The Red Bull Air Race is just one part of what Team Chambliss does year-round, and sometimes it is hard to put other events and tasks out of our brains. We need to be all race, only race during race week.”

Tactician Paulo Iscold expresses similar thoughts: “With large breaks in the calendar and little time with the aeroplane this season, our team needs to focus during race week and not allow all the exterior distractions to take us out of pace. We will put extra focus on making sure the plane is ready to go for Kirby each and every flight.”


In turn, Chambliss says his biggest focus is to fly the raceplane clean, a task that may be more challenging while he gets accustomed to a new raceplane system configuration that was implemented when a rule change impacted one of the team’s custom innovations. “It has changed the feeling of the aeroplane, specifically in the vertical turns,” he reveals. “We’re at a very big disadvantage with this and the lack of time with the plane.”  

After the raceplanes arrived in Europe for the upcoming stop in Russia, some teams accessed their aircraft, but Team Chambliss are based in the American Southwest. “We’d love to have our raceplane like the Europeans do. We haven’t had time to change anything,” the pilot comments. “I’ll have to do the best I can to get readjusted to the raceplane with such a long break in flying it.” 


Rounding out Team Chambliss is a new technician, Peter Conway, who began working with the team at the end of the 2018 season and officially took on the Technician role at the 2019 opener. Taking over for Chambliss’s longtime Technician Jason Resop could have been an intimidating proposition, but Conway says, “The opportunity to work for and with legends like Kirby Chambliss and Paulo Iscold sealed the deal, and I couldn’t be happier about the team I am on.” 

Conway has an upbeat outlook and proven skills – he was the Technician for Yoshihide Muroya’s World Championship-winning campaign in 2017. “A good attitude is contagious. I just hope the other teams don’t find that secret out!” he smiles. “It’s important to keep positive and truly remember how lucky we are to be racing aeroplanes all over the world. Open communication and a willingness to learn from mistakes is also key. If someone on the team sees something we could be doing better, the ability to talk about it, brainstorm and come up with a ‘fix’ at an open table discussion is another key to a successful team.” 


Chambliss is more than willing to consider fresh suggestions. “The good thing about having a consistent team is that you know what everyone is capable of. But when you bring someone in new from the outside, they can exceed your expectations or bring in some new ideas,” he notes.  

The second stop of the season, Kazan, is approaching in June. Chambliss has stood on the podium in both of the previous races at the Russian sporting capital, capturing the win in 2017 and finishing third last year. “If the cards fall correctly, we CAN get the World Championship,” Conway affirms. “Our aeroplane is fast, our team is strong and we have the most experienced pilot. I would like to see us in the Final 4 at every race this season.” 


See Team Chambliss go for the win in Kazan, Russia on 15-16 June, 2019. For ticket information and all the latest, visit www.redbullairrace.com

Red Bull Air Race 2019 Calendar
8-9 February: Abu Dhabi, UAE
15-16 June: Kazan, Russia
13-14 July: Lake Balaton, Hungary
TBA: Europe
7-8 September: Chiba, Japan
TBA: Asia
19-20 October: Indianapolis, USA
8-9 November: Saudi Arabia

About Red Bull Air Race
The Red Bull Air Race World Championship is an aerial motorsport series that demands a combination of speed, precision and skill. Using the fastest, most agile, high-performance raceplanes, pilots compete in iconic locations over water and land. The high speed, low altitude and extreme manoeuvrability required make it accessible only to the world’s most exceptional pilots.

Flying just metres from the ground, 14 Master Class pilots race against the clock whilst reaching speeds of up to 370 km/h, requiring a combination of precision and skill unmatched in the world of aviation. Pilots must be in peak physical condition as they endure forces up to 12G while navigating the technical racetracks made up of air-filled pylons.

The Air Race was developed in 2003 and is accredited by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), with more than 90 races completed across five continents. As the most advanced aerial challenge in existence, competing in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship is the highest accolade for elite pilots.  

A Challenger Cup feeder series was introduced in 2014 with the goal of facilitating the development of the unique skills required for the Master Class for the next generation of pilots. 

For more visit www.redbullairracenewsroom.com.

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