Last summer we worked with four chaps from TOS on the Red Bull Air Races. We as TOS employees went along to London and to Porto.
From London all the equipment was taken by lorry to Porto. As soon as we arrived in Porto we immediately started with preparations for the race. Aqua Events realises the activities on the water for Red Bull Air Races. The company has a large number of linkable pontoons from which large pontoons are made. On these large pontoons the cones are placed between which the aircraft fly during the Air Race. After the pontoons had been completed, they were brought into position on the river.
The positioning of the pontoons was not easy because the river sometimes flows at a speed of 6 knots. A multicat and a local tugboat were used to anchor these pontoons. This multicat had been brought all the way from Ireland to Porto. Luckily we found some people to interpret for us, since rest of the locals did not speak English.
During the activities on the water lifeboats must be present. Here they use fast RIBs. These boats were also manned by Austrian rescue divers. During the Air Races these lifeboats are used in case of accidents on the water with an aircraft.
The drivers of the RIBs therefore receive training in order to learn how to act in the case of an accident. In Porto the location was split into two by the river Douro as a result of which it was necessary to deploy taxi boats in order to ferry staff backwards and forwards across the river.
Because all events were filmed from two sides of the river, a fibre-optic cable had to be run across the bed of the river, this was done by means of the Multicat. After the very last flight an immediate start is made on the dismantling of the equipment for the Air Race, because within a few days the equipment has to be on its way to the next location.
This means that when the Air Race is over, the time pressure is still felt. Porto was a very beautiful city to work in and especially the enthusiasm of the public made it an even more wonderful event. On the day of the race there were 650,000 spectators, everywhere you looked there were people.
Travel report: Red Bull Air Race Porto by Jim
Date: 20-08-2007 to 07-09-2007
Position: Set-up assistant
Training: Willem Barentsz Maritime Institute Terschelling
You can read more about this on our Experiences page.