Red Bull Air Race Pilots Attend LA Awards Ceremony <


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Red Bull Air Race Pilots Attend LA Awards Ceremony

By Bill Goldston

February 2, 2010 - All four Red Bull Air Race pilots in attendance at the 7th annual awards ceremony, joined by race director Jim DiMatteo, said they were honored to be invited to the star-studded evening at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills that paid tribute to 70 people of remarkable accomplishment in aviation.

Beverly Hills, Los Angeles - Red Bull Air Race pilots Paul Bonhomme, Kirby Chambliss, Michael Goulian and Pete McLeod rubbed their tuxedo-clad elbows with the crème de la crème of aviation and some of Beverly Hills’ brightest stars at the “Living Legends of Aviation” gala recently, an event known as the “Academy Awards of aviation.” Tom Cruise, who won the “Top Aviation Inspiration and Patriotism Award”, told the gathering how he threw up on the plane during the making of his Oscar-winning film “Top Gun” in 1986, the highest grossing aviation movie of all time.


Cruise, an accomplished aerobatics pilot, owns his own P-51 Mustang. Buzz Aldrin, 80, is one of only 12 astronauts to walk on the moon and a former fighter pilot. He was also honored with the “First Out of This world Landing and Take-Off Award”. 

“It was a great evening,” said British ace Bonhomme, the 2009 Red Bull Air Race World Champion and most successful pilot in the race’s history with 11 career victories and 29 podiums in the last five years. “It was a true Beverly Hills/Hollywood style red carpet evening. As well as Cruise and Aldrin there was also John Travolta and Kurt Russell with his wife Goldie Hawn, just a great evening,” added Bonhomme, who was there with technician Wade Hammond. 

American Chambliss, the 2006 Red Bull Air Race World Champion, relished the chance to hear the speeches from some of the aviation legends like Aldrin and Bob Hoover, a former air show pilot and U.S. Air Force test pilot often called the “pilot’s pilot” who was also celebrating his 88th birthday. 

“It was a great event and I’m honored to have spent an evening with other people who share such a passion for aviation,” said Chambliss, who was at the gala with his technician Jason Resop and his new team coordinator Jocelyn Buras. “Listening to the legends like Bob Hoover and Buzz Aldrin speak reminds us all why we do what we do – for the love of flying. The industry has come a long way. But it’s going to go a lot further.” 

After walking down the red carpet, the four impeccably dressed Red Bull Air Race pilots could not resist the chance to try to find out what their rivals have been doing during the off-season to prepare for the 2010 championship. But despite the ebullient atmosphere in Beverly hills all four managed to keep their guards up. Observers noted all four were all tight-lipped about what modifications they have been working on and there was no spilling of the beans.  


"I was honored to be a guest at the Living Legends of Aviation awards," said American Goulian, who won his first race in Budapest last year and is "pumped" about the 2010 calendar that will have a first-ever race in New York on June 19-20.

The "Living Legends of Aviation" are 70 remarkable people including entrepreneurs, innovators, industry leaders, record breakers, astronauts, pilots who have become celebrities and celebrities who have become pilots. The Legends meet yearly to recognize and honor individuals that have made significant contributions in aviation.  

The event is produced by and benefits the Kiddie Hawk Air Academy, a non-profit organization. Kiddie Hawk introduces kids ages 5 through 11 to flight with the Kiddie Hawk Trainer. The Kiddie Hawk Trainer allows kids to take their first flight lesson with the sophistication of motion and control of real flight, piloting their airplane, albeit just a few feet off the ground.  Kiddie Hawk follows the students as they progress, making scholarships available as Kiddie Hawk pilots enter actual flight training.  The Kiddie Hawk program also introduces youngsters to other aviation related careers.

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