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Sun, Jun 06, 2010

YIKES!!! Red Bull Pilot Pulls Off Amazing Recovery After Water Collision

Wingtip Grazes Water, But Pilot Matt Hall Recovers

Folks... I really don't know that it gets closer than this... but you gotta wonder what kind of rabbit's foot Australia’s Matt Hall is carrying around.

Matt, you see, had a scare during the first Qualifying session at the Red Bull Air Race in Windsor Ontario, Saturday, when his plane touched the surface of the Detroit River but instead of what usually happens with these things, the former RAAF pilot pulled off an unlikely recovery and returned safely to Race Airport.

Wow... (which we're sure is NOT exactly the words Matt might use to describe this misadventure... but we digress).

 

(Red Bull Photo)

According to Red Bull Air Race reports, Hall was challenging for the lead in the first of two Qualifying sessions when he stalled out... low... really low... really wet and low. His left wing skimmed the surface of the river that separates the United States and Canada. His right wheel cover hit the water as well but Hall was able to regain control of his MXS-R aircraft and climb up away into the sky.

 

(Red Bull Photo)

"I felt I was having a fairly good run,” Hall said. “I might have skipped twice on the water. It’s a very disappointing result for me. It’s the motor racing equivalent of touching the wall..." (except that you can't drown hitting the wall).

 

(Red Bull Photo)

Hall, who flew combat missions with the US Air Force in Iraq, was confident his plane could be repaired in time for Qualifying 2 an hour later. He is hoping to get his third career podium in Windsor and has been in the top three in most training sessions this week.

 

(Red Bull Photo)

"The plane is damaged but will be recoverable,” Hall said. “Our game plan is to get some rest for now. It will hit me harder in a few hours time. Everyone in aviation has been in some fairly tight situations before. I've been in tight situations before. I'm disappointed in myself for putting myself in that situation. We're okay but we'll move on from that. Everything's fine.”

 

(Red Bull Photo)

Hall’s plane was inspected in the air after his safety climb out by Nigel Lamb, another pilot who was flying in a holding pattern. Lamb said the damage all appeared to be superficial. Hall then landed safely back at the Race Airport in Windsor.

 

(Red Bull Photo)

"The main damage is on the right aileron,” Hall said. “I think the plane is not that badly damaged. It is going to be a matter of replacing parts.”

 

(Red Bull Photo)

Hall has two podiums in his career, including a second place finish in his home race in Perth, Australia in April. He joined the race in 2009 and became the most successful rookie in race history last year when he took third place overall. Hall is in fourth place so far this year.

This is not the first time a Red Bull Air Racer has had to deal with aqua firma... Brazilian pilot Adilson Kindlemann was involved in an accident while practicing for the Red Bull Air Race held in Perth, Australia on April 15th. Kindlemann's plane went down just before noon local time, impacting the Swan River. Kindlemann was rescued by staff rescue and recovery personnel, the airplane was trashed and Kindlemann recovered with 'minor' injuries...

FMI: www.redbullairrace.com

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