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InterviewLife on the Edge as a Red Bull Air Race Pilot

Words by Nathan Irvine

We chat to British air racer Ben Murphy ahead of the Abu Dhabi 2019 competition

Ben Murphy is no stranger to breakneck speeds. The British pilot has flown with the RAF and led the famous Red Arrows aerobatic team in a number of gravity-defying performances.

In 2018, Murphy made the leap into the cockpit of Red Bull Air Race’s Master Class and has been tearing up the skies in competition ever since. We caught up with the fearless gent for a chat ahead of the Abu Dhabi 2019 race.

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How did you get into a sport like air racing?

I’ve been a fan since the day it started. I followed the careers of (fellow racers) Paul Bonhomme, Nigel Lamb and Steve Jones with interest and longed for an opportunity to get involved. After my RAF, Red Arrows and Blades aerobatic team experiences it seemed like a natural transition.

What’s the trickiest part of competing?

Making sure your head is in the right place. Basically, you can have the plane and the team prepared perfectly, but at the end of the day it’s dealing with the mental pressure of flying a flawless lap that’s the hardest.

What’s the closest you’ve ever been to wiping out?

It’s a situation we would never allow to happen. The air race is an extremely exciting and dynamic sport. Yes, we race the airplanes to their max, but all the teams are incredibly experienced.

Finally, can you describe why people should come watch a Red Bull Air Race?

It’s a motorsport that is completely unique – nothing else comes close. And when people think of airplanes they usually think of sitting on an airliner, but this is a completely different aspect of flying. It’s exhilarating, low to the ground and sees 14 of the best pilots in the world fighting over small margins.

 

Watch Ben Murphy compete in the Abu Dhabi Red Bull Air Race on February 8-9

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