Date of Birth: 18 March 1978
First Race: 2016
Race Team: Team Spielberg
Competing for his second season in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship, Czech pilot Petr Kopfstein has honed his skills in scores of national and international competitions. Before joining the elite Master Class in 2016, he earned seven race podiums over two seasons in the Challenger Class of the Red Bull Air Race – as well as the crown of 2014 Challenger Cup Champion.
Kopfstein dreamed of flying from childhood and signed up for piloting lessons with the first money he made 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 recalls.
Kopfstein both 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 1,200 hours flying more than 30 different aircraft, including helicopters as well as airplanes, and he also uses wind tunnels to train in the skydiving discipline of freeflying.
When Kopfstein joined the Challenger Class of the Red Bull Air Race in 2014, he took to racing quickly, earning seven podiums across two seasons, including the pinnacle of his championship. In his Master Class debut last year, the Czech pilot proved to be flexible and resilient, constantly adapting in a weather-plagued season to make steady progress that included two top-10 finishes as well as a performance at the season finale in Las Vegas that would have put him in the elite Round of 8 if strong winds hadn’t caused the cancellation of flying sessions.
Team Spielberg includes Red Bull Air Race experts Andreas Kaufmann in the role of technician for Kopfstein’s Edge 540 V3 raceplane and Martin Nepovim as team coordinator.