American Michael Goulian has completed 10 full seasons in the Red Bull Air Race, and he just keeps getting better. In 2018, Goulian flew his best campaign yet, earning two pole positions, five race podiums and two race wins – including home victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
A Massachusetts native, Goulian grew up in an aviation family. He soloed on his 16th birthday and dived into aerobatics a year later, earning the US National Advanced Championship at 22 and the National Unlimited Championship at 27. In addition, Goulian was a corporate pilot, established an aerobatics school and co-authored a series of books, “Basic and Advanced Aerobatics,” that became an industry standard. He’s also one of just seven pilots ever to earn the triple crown of industry honours for airshow flying: the Art Scholl Memorial Award, the Bill Barber Award and the ICAS Sword of Excellence. Goulian further holds the distinction of being an honorary member of the legendary US Navy Blue Angels.
It’s not only Goulian’s crisp and athletic style of flying that makes him a favourite. He’s an engaging advocate for aviation globally, whether explaining his motorsport on camera or chatting with fans at autograph sessions.
One of the most experienced contenders in the Red Bull Air Race lineup, Goulian had accumulated career highlights including a 2009 win in Budapest, Hungary and taking part in a North American podium sweep at the series’ 2017 debut in Kazan, Russia. Then, for 2018, he set a target of stronger, more consistent results, and positive outcomes came right from the start. Team Goulian won the season opener in Abu Dhabi and next set a new track record – twice – in taking pole position and third place at Cannes. As the season continued, Goulian’s successes put him in a three-way battle for the World Championship right down to the season finale. Coming so close to the title made it somewhat bittersweet to stand in third place on his first overall podium; however, the pilot’s October race win at Indianapolis was pure joy.
“Being a winner in Indianapolis puts your name forever in the history books of one of the most historic racing venues in all of the world – and definitely the most historic racing venue in America,” Goulian says. “So for me, it’s not just a season memory but a life memory.”