Meet the Challengers: Dario Costa

The inside track on Italy’s first Red Bull Air Race pilot

Dario Costa

Dario Costa will be the second pilot making his debut in the Challenger Class in 2018. Along with South Africa's Patrick Davidson, he will join eight other pilots as they compete to be crowned the 2018 Challenger Cup Champion.

Costa is an extremely experienced pilot and instructor; he has taught over 2,000 hours and piloted more than 4,500 hours – over half while performing aerobatics – in more than 50 different models.

He was born in 1980 and grew up in Bologna. Costa has been passionate about going skyward since his maiden flight as a one-year-old. He piloted solo at age 16 and graduated from an aviation high school, subsequently studying physics at university before working with an aviation engineering company in Africa. By 21, he was teaching aerodynamics and pilot theory courses.

"I've tried to fly every plane I could, and to get the most from every flight," Costa said.

Costa was there at the inaugural Red Bull Air Race in 2003, but as a spectator. Since that moment he dreamt of becoming a pilot in the sport, and he took every opportunity to grow and ensure he reached his goal. Winning the national Unlimited aerobatic title was just one step on his path. In 2010 he became Italy's youngest professional aerobatic instructor, he's an established commercial pilot, and was also the Contest Director for the 26th World Aerobatic Championships. In 2017, Costa was named to the elite Flying Bulls team, piloting aerobatic display flights, both solo and in formation.

"From the time I was little, I wanted to become a racing-car driver and pilot fast jets, and Red Bull Air Race is a combination of the two, the third dimension of motorsport," Costa said. "I have been working hard for this in all aspects of aviation since the first time I saw the sport. I'm going to make the most of this opportunity, and it also means a lot personally to be the first to fly for Italy."

You can watch Costa in his first Red Bull Air Race in Abu Dhabi on 02-03 February. Get your tickets HERE.