The winner of two Red Bull Air Race titles, Kirby Chambliss is one of the most outstanding pilots ever to fly in the sport. With 13 completed seasons as of 2018, no one in the current field has more experience blazing through tracks, and his 10 race victories (among 32 podiums) put him third in the all-time wins list.
Hailing from modest roots, the American is proof that it’s possible to attain the pinnacle of flying achievement by working hard literally from the ground up.
A native of Texas, Chambliss always wanted to become a pilot. He began flying at age 13, doing jobs like washing and fuelling aircraft to earn flying time. He became a night freight pilot, and by 24 he was the youngest commercial pilot at Southwest Airlines, promoted to captain at 28. In a competitive aerobatics career that began in 1985, he clinched 13 medals in World Championship competition – including the World Freestyle title in 2000 – plus five US National Unlimited Championships. Today he lives in Arizona with a hangar and runway right in his backyard.
From the debut of the Red Bull Air Race, Chambliss was a dominant force, finishing third in the inaugural 2003 season and winning the title in 2004. When the series became an official World Championship in 2005, Chambliss jumped on the overall podium in third and then claimed the Championship in 2006, adding another overall third in 2008. His drive and skill have been key to the sport’s development, and over the years he has built his team to leverage ever more advanced technology and data analysis opportunities.
Chambliss’ most recent successes include back-to-back wins in Budapest and Kazan in 2017, when he also earned his first DHL Fastest Lap Award and was in contention for the title up to the final race. In 2018 he claimed another DHL Fastest Lap honour in Cannes, as well as three podiums right across the season.
“We’ve made a couple of changes since last year and we have a really positive team going into 2019,” Chambliss reports. “We’re looking forward to some good results!”