Zivko Edges A Lead At Red Bull

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This year's Red Bull air races, which wrapped up last month in San Francisco, proved there is no end to the public's fascination with machines that defy gravity and go fast -- and also showed a place for the Zivko Edge among aerobatic competitors. After American flyers Mike Mangold and Kirby Chambliss roared to the top of the pack in their Edges, Hungarian Peter Besenyei, the founder of the Red Bull event, switched at the last minute from his German-made Extra 300S to an Edge instead. The Edge, built by Zivko Aeronautics in Guthrie, Okla., is over 100 pounds lighter than the Extra and can accelerate faster -- a plus for the Red Bull race. Its full-span ailerons give it a roll rate of 420 degrees per second. The Extra still holds similar performance and the favor of certification. The Edge climbs at 3700 fpm and speed maxes out at 265 knots. It feels like a "rocket with wings," according to Chambliss. Built specifically for high-performance, unlimited aerobatics, it features a 327+ hp Lycoming engine that tops out at 2,800 rpm. The fully composite wings can withstand +/- 10 Gs of force. The fuselage is a steel tube frame with composite fairings. The E-540 aircraft has the highest aerobatic thrust-to-weight ratio of any competition aerobatic aircraft currently available, according to Zivko. Chambliss also flew his Red Bull Edge to win the U.S. National Aerobatic Championships, for the fifth time, in October.