Red Bull Pilot Killed In Unrelated Training Accident

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Alejandro Maclean, a pilot in the Red Bull Air Races since 2005, died last week while practicing for an airshow in his native Spain. The airplane slammed into the ground during a maneuver and Maclean was killed instantly, according to a spokesman for the Casarrubios del Monte air field, near Madrid, where the accident occurred. Maclean, who twice won aerobatic championships in Spain, had placed as high as fifth in the Red Bull races. He was known for an aggressive style of flying and was a pioneer in air-race fitness, working to lose over 40 pounds in 2007 to help gain fractions of a second in high-G turns. He started flying in ultralights at age 18, and had survived two other accidents in his career. Maclean was 41 years old, and leaves his wife, Emma, and two children, age 7 and 12.

Earlier this month, Maclean had been named the 2010 winner of the Paul Tissandier Diploma by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale in recognition of his work, initiative and devotion to the cause of general and sport aviation. He was scheduled to receive the honor at the annual FAI conference in October. "The entire Red Bull Air Race community and the aerobatic fraternity have lost one of their most vibrant and passionate characters," the Red Bull Air Race said at its website. This year's air races ended on Aug. 8, and next year's competition has been canceled while the organization revamps.