It's widely accepted that once something is invented with a motor and can move, people figure out a way to start racing it. While air racing hasn't exploded in participation the way auto and motorcycle racing have, the sport's level of progression has mirrored its wheel-bound brethren. And with that progression always come moments that make you say, "Wow, I cannot believe that just happened."
To prep yourself for this weekend's event in Texas (the first of two U.S.-based events in the 2014 Red Bull Air Race World Championship), here are five of the most incredible moments from the history of the series:
1. Matt Hall's Amazing Save in Ontario, 2010
Aussie Matt Hall has actually reached Top Gun in the Royal Australian Air Force, and his background as a fighter pilot came in handy in Ontario in 2010, where an unexpected stall saw him actually hit the water. His remarkable ability allowed him to recover and save himself and his plane from a dangerous crash.
2. Adilson Kindlemann Rescued in Under 60 seconds in Perth, 2010
Unfortunately for Brazilian Adilson Kindlemann, no such recovery was accomplished when he hit the water in Perth, Australia, in 2010. His plane sitting idle with the cockpit underwater, Kindlemann was rescued with potentially life-saving haste by the rescue team and divers on hand, with no serious injuries at all.
3. Hannes Arch Strikes a Bird in San Diego, 2009
While Red Bull Air Race doesn't get course invaders like the average soccer or baseball game, it does get invaders, nonetheless. In San Diego in 2009, Hannes Arch was in the middle of a qualifying run when he struck a bird on the course, blasting a hole nearly completely through the tail of his plane.
4. Racing an MX2 Against a WWII-era Spitfire Fighter Plane
To celebrate Red Bull Air Race in the UK as well as the 70th anniversary of the Spitfire (Britain's premier fighter of WWII), British Air Race pilots Nigel Lamb and Paul Bonhomme took to the skies to duel it out in the modern air race machine and the senior warbird. Luckily, there was no need for Bonhomme to utilize the fire power on the Spitfire.
5. Basically All of Red Bull Air Race Ascot, 2014
Where to start on the UK round of Red Bull Air Race in Ascot this year? First, Paul Bonhomme is defeated in the top 12 by Matthias Dolderer. Then, Nigel Lamb and Matt Hall finish their heat with exactly the same time, with Hall receiving the nod after a photo review. Oh, but it's not over yet for the hometown boys, who qualify into the Super 8 with the two best losing times, and then go on to place first and second by day's end. Epic racing, and there are still three rounds to go.
For more info on Red Bull Air Race in Fort Worth, click here.
And if you can't make it to Texas, you can always check out Red Bull Air Race in Las Vegas! More info here.
Highlight shows from both events will air on Fox Sports 1.