Pilot reactions: test flights in Chiba

The pilots share their thoughts after their first day in the air above Chiba

Nicolas Ivanoff shares his thoughts

After the long wait, the pilots were able to get into the skies today. Here's what they had to say:

Paul Bonhomme (GBR)
"It's good to be back out there. The track is interesting and what happens will depend on the wind. If there's a south-westerly wind, it'll push people over to one side of the track and after a vertical turn, it might be hard to make the correct adjustment at the speeds we fly."

Matt Hall (AUS)
"I've got to relearn how to fly my MXS-R again. It feels different from last season, which is what I remember, not how it flew in Abu Dhabi. I had less than an hour in the aircraft in Abu Dhabi and after a three-month gap, I've reverted to how I used to fly it."

Pete McLeod (CAN)
"It's been an awkward start with the weather, but it was really nice to get in the air today. When I saw the track with my own eyes I realised that the track looks a lot more interesting than it does on paper. Gates three and four look particularly interesting. The wind could cause problems there."

Hannes Arch (AUT)
"It's a technical track. To be honest, I think some other pilots might be underestimating how difficult it is if they think it's just a fast and straight track."

Nigel Lamb (GBR)
"We've done some good analysis and I think it's accurate. With the limited flying time it's about getting it right, and getting it right quickly. You've got to be a step ahead. It's all about being on the right line for Race Day."

Yoshi Muroya (JPN)
"I've been able to fly and get the new raceplane set up ready for this race. I'm not sure if it's race ready, but I already know it works much better than the old raceplane."

Peter Besenyei (HUN)
"We had to change the fuel lines as there was some trapped air, and that's taken up a lot of our time. But I've now flown and already watched the video back. I'm preparing my lines for tomorrow."

Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA)
"You have to feel comfortable in the track and for me the first sensation felt a little different. I asked Jimbo [Ivanoff's technician] if he'd changed anything and he said: "No," so I have to relearn the raceplane. I felt ok with the G-force, my body feels good. It will all start tomorrow!"

Matthias Dolderer (GER)
"It always feels good to get the air under the wings. I'm already analysing the track and seeing how best to attack it. It's a scratched course. It's a long, straight course and the pilot with the fastest raceplane will have an advantage."

Martin Sonka (CZE)
"Our new air intakes are just having some minor adjustments. They will reduce drag and improve engine cooling. I don't have one of the fastest raceplanes, so I'm hoping that I'll be able to manage the energy before the straight so I can be as fast as possible."

Francois Le Vot (FRA)
"I've been visualising the track and keeping my mind active. The raceplane will be the same as before, so I have to make sure my brain is working at a high speed, ready for the track"

Michael Goulian (USA)
"I've spent a lot of time looking at the track on Google Earth and working out different lines for different weather conditions. I've also been doing a lot of flying and I feel like I'm 'G-fit' right now."

Juan Velarde (ESP)
"It's been good to fly again, the aircraft has had a few technical changes made to it, and we've made it a few kilos lighter. I've also been doing a lot of simulator training, so we'll find out soon enough if it works."

Kirby Chambliss (USA)
"It'll be good to look at the analysis. The track seems pretty straight to me, I've just got to let the raceplane go. People have been saying with the lack of flying time that the more experienced pilots will have the benefit here, but I don't think that's true on this track."