Peter Besenyei and the New Corvus
So, since weíve done calibrations we can be sure that Peter will be racing the new Corvus this weekend. It will be fascinating to see how well this man-machine combination does! It was in 2006 that I started my journey to bring a new type to the Red Bull Air Race. Of course, our task was totally different all those years ago but there are some parallels I am sure.
The MXS was still on the drawing board back then so I started with the heavier MX2 two-seater. All MXís are designed primarily for the aerobatic market whilst the Corvus has been designed to race. I jumped in to a well-established aerobatic machine programme whilst Peter has been involved from day one in a race-plane programme. My journey with MX Aircraft and modifications to the MX2 was tough. Just thinking roll control, I did over 160 flights to get the best from the ailerons and finally we made it to the podium (3rd place) after one year. We introduced the first MXS in 2008 and that journey has been one of constant change. Control adjustments (only 50 flights for the ailerons!) weight saving, aerodynamic modifications, the powerplant etc etc.
I am no test pilot so I must admit that we went round in circles many times and it has taken 2 years with the MXS to get where we are todayÖ a competitive machine which handles like a dream and which is functional and easy to operate.
Peter has had a very interesting journey in this championship and the Corvus will (I think) be the 7th machine he has tried. The truth is, he has forgotten more than I have ever known about aerobatics and the pure handling of this kind of machine. He is one of the few I know who can make an aircraft dance in the sky. Truly magical to watch. BUT, will all that talent be enough to tame a new type in this environment? An environment where the other competitors leave little margin for your mistakes - there is only one ideal race line and you need the speed, the precision and the handling to be on that line at all times to beat them all.
To make that happen, you need the all-round package - man, machine and team. We know that this Corvus man can do the job but will the Corvus team be able to produce a machine that is not only fast but also easy to operate and has the handling qualities to complete the package?
Yes, of course, I know itís possible but Iíll be amazed if they can pull it off and win a race before the end of this year. Peter, good luck here in Windsor and if Iím wrong, Iíll buy you a bottle of the finest champagne!