Short takeoff and landing (STOL) bush plane videos are fun to watch, and it’s always entertaining to see the talent of the pilots and admire the performance of their increasingly specialized aircraft. Red Bull and extreme sports promotor XDubai upped the ante today (March 14) by landing a highly modified CubCrafters Carbon Cub on a 78-foot-diameter helipad atop the 56-story Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. After the cheering and high-fives died down, Polish pilot Luke Czepiela then poured on the power and took off from the tiny space, diving to gain airspeed and punctuating the pullout with a chandelle in front of a cheering crowd. Extensive video of the full event can be seen here.
The accomplishment was two years in the making, and involved extensive modifications of the aircraft by Mike Patey, described by CubCrafters as a “renowned bush pilot, aviation engineer, and YouTube personality,” as well as the owner of his own Carbon Cub. Patey described the development process: “It was a pretty simple formula. We cut weight, changed the [center of gravity] to increase the effectiveness of the brakes, and added extra horsepower.” Patey added, “I’m really proud of how the airplane performed. The Carbon Cub was a great choice to start with, and we made it even better for this event.”
Patrick Horgan, CubCrafters’ president and CEO, said, “Red Bull has done many projects over the years that have inspired aviators worldwide, so we were honored to join them on this project to demonstrate the incredible capabilities of the kinds of aircraft our company designs and manufactures.” Brad Damm, CubCrafters vice president, added, “This project, two years in the planning and execution, really pushes the limits of what a best-of-class STOL aircraft, and an extremely capable and dedicated pilot, can achieve.”
Meanwhile, the one with most to lose, pilot Czepiela, said, “During the training and preparation, I developed full confidence in the aircraft and its unique capabilities that enabled me to successfully accomplish this mission.”