Red Bull Air Race: Those Magnificent Men and Their Flying Machines!

Sheiban ShakeriSenior Analyst IJune 9, 2008

We see them do half-Cuban eights, watch them navigate a track at full speed and at high G's, but what is the equipment used for the Red Bull Air Race?

There are three types of planes that are used for the series: The Edge 540, the Extra 300SR, and the MXS.

Edge 540

This plane (pictured above) is an all-American racer built by Zivko Aeronautics based in Oklahoma. With stiff wings and a carbon fibre shell, the plane is a light and nimble aircraft that gives the pilots of the Red Bull Air Race a chance to modify and perfect their setup.

The plane has a top speed of 265 mph and can sustain +/- 12 G's. The plane is less than 21 feet long, and almost 24.5 feet wide from wingtip to wingtip. This is the aircraft of choice in the Red Bull Air Race, with seven of the 12 pilots using it.

Extra 300SR

Built by Extra, which is based in Germany, the 300SR is an older racer in comparison to its two sisters. Originally built in 1987, the design has been improving and is being modified constantly.

It has a top speed of 253 mph, 12 mph slower than the Edge, but is still capable of winning if you have the right setup. It can't take as much G forces as its American counterpart, with +10/-8 G's, so it is a little more difficult to control. For the Red Bull Air Race, the Extra uses specially-designed high-lift wings in order to make better timing and to compete.

The length for a Red Bull Air Race Extra 300SR is about 22 feet long and slightly over 26 feet wide, so it's a lengthy and wide plane.

Overall, not a beginner's plane, and only used by Peter Besenyei and Nicolas Ivanoff.


The MXS is built by MXR Technologies, which is based in the United States as well. It is a relatively new plane to the scene, with Nigel Lamb using it for the first time in San Diego and Alejandro Maclean using his for the first time in Detroit last week.

With its carbon fibre body and symmetrical wing design, the MXS has a top speed of 265 mph and an impressive roll rate of 450 degrees/second. Lengthwise, it has almost the same specifications as the Edge 540.

It is able to take +/- 12 G's, but it is still a little unstable for the two pilots that are using it. Once Nigel and Alejandro are able to become one with the aircraft, then it will definitely become a force to be reckoned with.

See you all in Stockholm!