Ten things to know about Michael Goulian

Courtesy of Red Bull Air Race Media Service

Michael Goulian with his Pitts S1-T after winning the 1990 US Aerobatic Nationals in the Advanced category in Bedford, Massachusetts, USA. –
Photographer Credit:
Goulian Aerosports / Red Bull Content Pool

By winning the 2018 opener in Abu Dhabi, the USA’s Michael Goulian has set the pace for the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. With nine full seasons already to his credit, the pilot is familiar to fans – but do you really know everything about the man from Massachusetts?

1) He’s had a lifelong need for speed. While still in high school, Michael started watching Formula 1 after seeing the Grand Prix of Monaco on TV. He admired Ayrton Senna for his passion and determination.

2) He has always been good with a stick. Before Michael ever started flying an airplane, he was an avid ice hockey player, and he still loves the sport today. (He’s pretty good with a golf club and a baseball bat, too.)

Michael Goulian (circled) with his youth hockey team at Arlington, Massachusetts, USA in 1981. –
Photographer Credit:
Goulian Aerosports / Red Bull Content Pool

3) He believes in goals, accountability… and coaching. Whether it’s his workouts, endurance cycling or nutrition, Michael has a coach for everything. He says coaches push him to give his all, to reach goals and to be better than he was before. The pilot relies on his race team to hold him accountable, too.

4) Flying is a family affair. Michael’s dad started out as a crop duster and ended up founding one of the United States’ most recognized flying schools. Michael’s brother and wife are also pilots.

Michael Goulian (second from left), Kirby Chambliss (far left) and the rest of the US National Team at the 1998 World Aerobatics Championship in Slovakia. –
Photographer Credit:
Goulian Aerosports / Red Bull Content Pool

5) When it comes to aerobatics, he has the answers. Michael co-authored a series of books, “Basic and Advanced Aerobatics,” that became an industry standard. Which is hardly surprising given that he started aerobatics at age 17, earned the US Advanced Championship at 22 and the national Unlimited Championship at 27.

6) He was probably jet-lagged when he claimed his first Red Bull Air Race podium. Michael was more than 11,600 miles from his East Coast home when he clinched a second-place finish at Perth, Australia in 2007, only his second full season in the sport. He was about 4,200 miles from home in 2009 when he took his first race win in Budapest.

7) He’s a gadget freak. Michael always has an eye out for the coolest gadgets: phones, bikes, computers… whatever. If it’s new, he has to have it.

8) He’s had the same haircutter for 20 years?!? “Yep, it’s true,” Michael smiles. “Don’t mess with my hair.”

Michael Goulian takes his father, Myron Goulian, for an aerobatic ride in an Extra 300L at St. Augustine, Florida, USA in 1996. –
Photographer Credit:
Goulian Aerosports / Red Bull Content Pool

9) He’s a Great Showman. When he’s not racing, Michael really knows how to put on a show. He’s one of just seven pilots to earn the triple crown of honors for airshow flying: the Art Scholl Memorial Award, the Bill Barber Award and the ICAS Sword of Excellence.

10) He’s in tight (formation) with the Blue Angels. In 2012, Michael was the first civilian to fly in formation with all six of the Blue Angels in their F/A-18 Hornets. He was named an honorary member of the US Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron two years later, and some of his closest friends today are from that 2014 team.


Michael Goulian flies in formation with the United States Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, over Dayton, Ohio, USA on July 5, 2012. –
Photographer Credit:
Mike Ullery / Red Bull Content Pool

Watch Michael Goulian defend his overall lead at the second stop of the season: the French debut of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in Cannes on 21-22 April 2018. For more information on tickets and all the latest, visit www.redbullairrace.com


Red Bull Air Race 2018 Calendar: 
2-3 February:                          Abu Dhabi, UAE
21-22 April:                             Cannes, France 
26-27 May:                              Europe, location TBA
23-24 June:                             Budapest, Hungary 
4-5 August:                             Asia, location TBA
25-26 August:                         Kazan, Russia
6-7 October:                            Indianapolis, USA
November:                              Asia, location TBA

Michael Goulian of the United States poses for a photograph with his team at the first round of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on February 1, 2018. –
Photographer Credit:
Joerg Mitter / Red Bull Content Pool

About Red Bull Air Race:

Created in 2003, the Red Bull Air Race World Championship has held more than 80 races around the globe. The Red Bull Air Race World Championship features the world’s best race pilots in a pure motorsport competition that combines speed, precision and skill. Using the fastest, most agile, lightweight racing planes, pilots hit speeds of 370kmh while enduring forces of up to 10G as they navigate a low-level slalom track marked by 25-meter-high, air-filled pylons. In 2014, the Challenger Cup was conceived to help the next generation of pilots develop the skills needed for potential advancement to the Master Class that vies for the World Championship.

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