A Red Bull Air Race pilot landed a fixed-wing Carbon Cub aircraft on the heliport of one of the tallest buildings in the world, the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai, UAE. The pilot landed a specially modified version of the CubCrafters aircraft onto the helipad on top of the 56-story hotel.
The pilot, Luke Czepiela, had to land on an 88.5-foot wide helipad over 695 feet in the air. He completed over 650 practice landings before the attempt, needing about 65 feet to stop. The aircraft underwent many modifications like reducing the total weight to about 937 pounds, moving the fuel tank to the back of the plane for more aggressive braking, and adding nitrous to enhance power. The modifications to the aircraft were done by bush pilot, aviation engineer and YouTube personality Mike Patey.
"All big moments start with little ideas powered by imagination and the desire to create something special," CubCrafters' President andamp; CEO Patrick Horgan said. "Red Bull has done many projects over the years that have inspired aviators worldwide, so we were honored to join them on this project to demonstrate the incredible capabilities of the kinds of aircraft our company designs and manufactures.
CubCrafters completed the feat in collaboration with Red Bull and the extreme sports promoter, XDubai. Czepiela is a commercial pilot that competes in aerobatics competitions and air races and has been on the Polish aerobatics team, competed for world championships and won the Red Bull Challenger Cup in 2018. He personally owns a Red Bull-themed CubCrafters Cub EX STOL aircraft for backcountry flying.
"Working with CubCrafters and Mike Patey to prepare the airplane for this event has been a true pleasure," Czepiela said. "During the training and preparation, I developed full confidence in the aircraft and its unique capabilities that enabled me to successfully accomplish this mission."
"It was a pretty simple formula," Patey said. "We cut weight, changed the C.G. to increase the effectiveness of the brakes, and added extra horsepower. I'm really proud of how the airplane performed. The Carbon Cub was a great choice to start with, and we made it even better for this event."
Czepiela posted a video of the accomplishment on his Instagram, the first-ever plane landing on the helipad of the iconic hotel. He said there were no reference points while he was landing. Patey also took to his social media to announce the success and stated a video would be coming soon about the modifications the plane underwent.RELATED STORIES:Watch Red Bull skateboarder freefall, parachute out of a C-130 after performing stuntsNTSB releases final report on Red Bull plane swap crash
Red Bull, with the slogan "Giving Wings to People and Ideas," has moved beyond the energy drink world into sports, gaming and dance. Red Bull athletes encompass many sports and many parts of the world, from BMX to basketball. Red Bull has accomplished many stunts in the sky with their aerobatic athletes, like the controversial failed stunt where two pilots attempted to swap planes mid-air without FAA approval. The extreme side of Red Bull's athleticism even saw Brazilian Red Bull skateboarder, Letícia Bufoni, skated out of a plane, sliding down a rail and into a freefall at 9,000 feet.
"To ensure success, we wanted the airplane best suited to the challenge, and CubCrafters was the obvious choice," Aviation Project Manager Michal Graczyk said. "They have a long history of innovation and industry leadership, relentless research and development, and an impeccable reputation for the quality of their aircraft. These attributes made us very confident in choosing them as our partner for this event."
CubCrafters is known for its adventurous aircraft, giving the pilot access to remote areas and designed for a different kind of flying. The pilot with an adventurous spirit can enjoy STOL performance with an aircraft designed and engineered for backcountry flying.
"Throughout the years, CubCrafters' brand has grown to be synonymous with an adventurous lifestyle, and giving pilots the ability to land our airplanes in the most challenging environments is core to our mission," CubCrafters' VP Brad Damm said. "This project, two years in the planning and execution, really pushes the limits of what a best-of-class STOL aircraft, and an extremely capable and dedicated pilot, can achieve."