Red Bull Wraps Air-Race Season
Austria's Hannes Arch placed first in the final event of the 2010 Red Bull Air Race in Lausitz, Germany, on Sunday, but Britain's Paul Bonhomme, who came in second, took the overall title for the season. Bonhomme, who also placed first in 2009, is the first pilot to win back-to-back titles and joins Mike Mangold of the U.S. as the only two-time champion in the eight-year history of the race series. The final race drew an overflow crowd of 118,000 spectators to the EuroSpeedway racetrack. Bonhomme said he hopes the competition will return to the site after the one-year hiatus that was recently announced. "It's a superb venue," Bonhomme said. "We're a motor-racing sport and we worked beautifully together. I hope that when the Air Race season fires up again, we have a lot more venues like this and that we indeed come back here again as well." But while the air race series winds down, another Red Bull project -- to fly in a balloon to the edge of space and parachute back to earth -- is moving forward.
The Red Bull Stratos project aims to carry skydiver Felix Baumgartner to 120,000 feet in a helium balloon, where he will jump and theoretically exceed the speed of sound before deploying a parachute to land safely back on earth. Recently, Baumgartner met with astronaut Neil Armstrong, who said he thinks the goal is achievable. "Before the middle of the 1940s many distinguished engineers believed it was not possible to go supersonic [in an aircraft]," Armstrong said. "They thought the craft would disintegrate, which was complete nonsense. I think a human can go supersonic ... there are possible difficulties. When shockwaves influence your ability to stabilize yourself, that's a difficult area to predict. But I think it's possible." The jump is expected to take place sometime before the end of the year, though no date has yet been announced.