Red Bull is well known for its eye-popping aviation events, and its recent joint effort with CubCrafters to land a Carbon Cub on a downtown Dubai helipad atop a 700-foot tall helipad was a brilliant idea and perfectly executed.
The point of the whole thing was presumably to bring visibility to Red Bull and to CubCrafters by showcasing something so crazy that everyone will want to watch and so dramatic and beautiful to look at, you’ll want to watch it over and over. If so, mission accomplished.
The Carbon Cub, piloted by talented Red Bull racer Luke Czepiela, who also happens to regularly fly this model, took aim and landed perfectly on the small pad—though the recovery maneuver, to go around starting at very slow speed but with lots of altitude to play with, would have been fun to watch even if the landing didn’t go to plan. But it did. We assume that Czepiela had a lot of headwind to work with, but such wasn’t the case at all. There was what appeared to be a very slight crosswind, in fact, which the crew called out as “six knots.” The landing speed? All of 25 knots! The Carbon Cub truly needs little room to land.
This one apparently even more so. The plane that Czepiela flew was modified for the mission by the brilliant aircraft designer Mike Patey of Draco and Scrappy fame. It had, according to CubCrafters, some weight taken off of it, a bit of power added and a more rearward CG to allow more aggressive braking. In the weeks leading up to the event, Patey and partner-in -rime and wife Chandra, herself an accomplished pilot, had been a bit dodgy about what they were doing in Dubai. Mystery solved!
Patrick Horgan, president of CubCrafters, 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.”
Czepiela weighed in, as well: “Working with CubCrafters and Mike Patey to prepare the airplane for this event has been a true pleasure. During the training and preparation, I developed full confidence in the aircraft and its unique capabilities that enabled me to successfully accomplish this mission.”