On Saturday and Sunday, the season finale of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship will take place in Asia for the first time, with a showdown in Chiba, Japan. Currently tied in the points for fourth overall, Massachusetts native Michael Goulian has a chance to make the overall podium for the second season in a row. The good news for his fans is that last year, Goulian excelled in the race over Tokyo Bay, taking pole position and the DHL Fastest Lap Award on his way to clinching second in the race.
Team Goulian have come into Chiba, the fourth and final stop of the 2019 season, with 37 points. That is 18 points off third place overall – the position that Goulian achieved last year – with a total of 28 points still on offer across Qualifying and Race Day in Japan. On paper, even the World Championship is still within his reach, but the team isn’t concentrating on an overall target: they are taking things flight by flight. Goulian says, “My mindset for Chiba is to win the race.” And then the points can fall where they may.
In the meantime, the pilot has been staying G fit with performances at the Duluth Airshow, EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, the New York International Airshow and Nova Scotia’s Air Show Atlantic. He also had an opportunity to try out the new, all-composite “NG” at Extra Aircraft in Germany.
Goulian is 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. Ever since Red Bull’s announcement that the Red Bull Air Race World Championship will not continue past this season, he has been looking toward expanding his airshow career, as well as exploring other opportunities for Goulian Aerosports.
The team can already share that they will be doing an airshow with Lycoming in Pennsylvania this month, and they will be part of the Thanksgiving celebration at Goulian’s home base of Plymouth, Massachusetts, where he’ll be circling the U.S. Army’s Golden Knights Parachute Team in his aerobatic plane. Airshow industry colleagues can also find the team at December’s ICAS convention in Las Vegas. “We’ve got some other cool things on the horizon,” Goulian hints with a smile. “We just can’t reveal them quite yet.”
When it comes to what is looming closest on the horizon, the race in Chiba on 7-8 September, the team have laid out their plan. After delivering clean runs throughout Qualifying and Race Day at the most recent stop at Lake Balaton, Hungary, they want to step up the speed while retaining the precision. “In Hungary I think our strategy was too conservative,” assesses Goulian, who finished seventh in that Balaton race. “For Chiba, we will be focused on being as fast as possible for the entire race week.”
Join Japan’s superfans and see #99 Michael Goulian fly at the Red Bull Air Race season finale on 7-8 September 2019. For ticket information and all the latest updates, visit www.redbullairrace.com.
Red Bull Air Race 2019 Calendar
8-9 February: Abu Dhabi, UAE
15-16 June: Kazan, Russia
13-14 July: Lake Balaton, Hungary
7-8 September: Chiba, Japan
Images courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool.