Kirby Chambliss

Pilot info

Pilot bio

Race team

Kirby Chambliss is one of the most outstanding pilots ever to fly in the Red Bull Air Race. He can boast two World Titles and 10 race victories, which puts him third on the all-time wins list. The American with the never-say-die spirit has been a leading force in the sport throughout his career that began in 2003. His prowess in the raceplane has seen him on the podium in 11 of his 12 seasons, a remarkable string of consistency that was only snapped in 2014.

2015 and 2016 saw glimpses of the old Chambliss where he made podiums and looked back to his best. He is still fiercely competitive and will do anything to win that third title, which looked close to happening in 2017. The never-say-die attitude saw Chambliss take two wins and compete for the title. Only poor results in two other races saw him miss out. 

A friendly Texas native with his own runway in the backyard of his house in Arizona, Chambliss is an aerobatics World Champion and helped develop the Red Bull Air Race with innovations. Chambliss has remained competitive as the sport has evolved and is a contender for the podium in any race. He always goes all-out for the win and famously disparages second place as "first loser."

Chambliss grew up racing motocross but always knew he wanted to become a pilot. He began flying at the age of 13 and by 24 became the youngest commercial pilot at Southwest Airlines. By the time he made it to captain at 28 he was already polishing his aerobatic skills. His interest piqued when completing his aerobatic training for an earlier job flying a business jet.

During his high school years, Chambliss fuelled aircraft to earn extra money and was soon working as a night freight pilot. His aerobatics career began in 1985 and he won five US National Championships in the Unlimited Level. He was the 2000 Freestyle World Champion and has won 13 World Championship medals. Chambliss has been flying the Zivko Edge 540 and he jokes that he has flown the plane so much that the controls and wings are mere extensions of his own arms. Chambliss is married to fellow pilot, Kellie, and they live on the "Flying Crown Ranch" in Arizona with their daughter, Karly.