“New to the Master Class after two seasons in the Challenger Cup, Czech pilot Petr Kopfstein has honed his skills in scores of national and international competitions. In two seasons flying in the Challenger Cup he earned seven podiums, as well as the crown of 2014 Challenger Cup Champion.

Kopfstein dreamed of flying from childhood and signed up for piloting lessons while at university. He had an immediate affinity for high-G flying. “My introduction was an aerobatic flight, and at that moment I knew that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” he said.

Kopfstein finished his studies with a master’s degree in economics from the University of Prague and steadily developed his flying skills. He joined the Czech Aerobatic Team in 2007 and became one of the country’s top talents, earning the Czech National Championship in the Unlimited and three other categories, as well as Unlimited podiums at the German and Hungarian championships. While he’s passionate about sport in all its forms, from a genuine love of snowboarding to a newfound interest in scuba diving, Kopfstein finds that nothing beats being in the air. So far, he has accumulated more than 1,000 hours flying more than 30 different aircraft, including helicopters as well as planes.

The Challenger Cup gave Kopfstein an opportunity to experience a new flying discipline, and he took to racing quickly, going from fourth place at the season opener to claiming title of 2014 Champion. In 2015 he clinched two more wins and two runner-up places. After excelling in a final training assessment, Kopfstein was granted his Unrestricted Superlicence and an invitation to join the Master Class in competition for the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.

“It is a great honour to become part of the unique group of aviators in the Master Class – on the other hand, it is a huge commitment. The first year will be a season of learning, testing and tuning, but we want to do it quickly and become competitive as soon as possible,”Kopfstein said. “While we have high ambitions, our expectations are down to earth at the same time. It will be a tough and challenging season.”

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