The 1800mm long by 1300mm high, navy blue case contains a complete engineering and service workshop, including clean and dirty work benches, a vice and full set of 10 drawers containing enough tools and spares to keep his hot-rodded Zivko Edge 540 single-seat-single-engine aerobatics plane going for a year.
A separate section at the back of the case contains other essentials, including two mountain bikes (for Bonhomme and his race engineer Wade Hammond), a kettle and a toaster.
The Red Bull Air Race is an adrenalising flying competition staged around the world, pitting the speed and precision skills of the world’s most talented pilots against each other. There’s a total of 10 races and 13 pilots, 3 from the UK including Bonhomme.
Team Attitude Aerobatics had been wanting to get the definitive flight case built for some time, and Bonhomme was initially looking at sourcing it in the US. However the need then became urgent, and a friend from the conference and exhibition industry recommended 5 Star.
The unique custom case was designed by Bonhomme and 5 Star’s Simon Edwards with input from Hammond and is constructed from 5 Star’s Tour Grade range of 12 mm ply, double skinned in some places. Weight wasn’t an issue – it weighs in at 180 Kgs – and it had to be tough and robust enough to carry a heavy payload of tools and deal with being air freighted around the world. The tool drawers are all different sized and foam lined.
Bonhomme comments that 5 Star has done an “Excellent” job in just 2 weeks from him giving the green light to the case being delivered.
The first time the mobile workshop appeared it caused a real stir amongst the other race crews all of whom coveted it. “We had to beat them off in the end” quips Bonhomme “Everyone wanted a closer look and I was inundated with requests to borrow my vice!” (it’s tradition to help out other teams if they need essential tools).
5 Star’s Keith Sykes says, “It’s great to be involved in a project like this – not only does it challenge all our case-building skills and ingenuity – and it’s also enormous fun. 5 Star wishes Paul lots of luck in his quest to become the 2007 Red Bull Air Race Champion”.
Bonhomme’s day job is piloting 747s for British Airways – albeit without the aerobatics!!
The next Red Bull Air Race takes place in London for the first time ever on Sunday 29th July – the pilots will zip through the course just a few metres above the River Thames near The O2.
About the Red Bull Air Race
The competition features a dynamic new flying discipline called ‘air racing’. The objective is to navigate an exacting race course in the sky in the fastest possible time. Flying individually against the clock, the pilots have to execute tight turns through a slalom course consisting of specially designed pylons or ‘Air Gates’. They compete in knockout rounds, with the two fastest going head to head in the final.