Nicolas Ivanoff


Plane: Edge 540
Race number: 27

Red Bull Air Race World Championship results
2009: 5th
2008: 9th
2007: 7th
2006: 8th
2005: 7th

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About Nicolas


Nicolas Ivanoff is the enigma of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship, a mysterious Frenchman who can fly brilliantly in one race and end up near the top but who might be off in the next race and not even make it into the top eight. The unpredictable Corsican with Russian and Greek heritage is nevertheless hoping that his victory in Perth at the end of 2007 and his spectacular second place on a very difficult course in London in 2008 will give him the lift he needs to be a regular challenger for the podium in 2009.

“I’m looking forward to the challenges that await me and am relishing the chance to vie for victories in 2009,” said Ivanoff, a good-natured Frenchman now flying in his 5th championship. “My goal is to be in the top half of the field and get on the podium as often as possible. It will take a dedicated team effort, lots of hard work and the right modifications. I think that with me flying well there’s no reason I can’t win a race or two.” Ivanoff struggled at times in 2008 with his Extra 300SR which he has now dropped in favour of an Edge 540. But when the conditions for the sensitive plane were right, Ivanoff excelled. He took sixth on a difficult and windy course in Detroit before taking 2nd in London but Ivanoff only made it to the top eight in three of eight races last year. “I was pleased to be on the podium with the 2nd place in London,” said Ivanoff. “But I was disappointed whenever I didn’t make it to the Super 8. It was disheartening because it turned out that most of the tracks were not particularly suited to my plane. I think I could have done better in a different plane. My goals were to race well and get on the podium. That only worked out like that once, in London.”

Ivanoff who recently relocated to London, England remains the quintessential Frenchman and is the best-dressed pilot in the field invariably showing up at the races wearing stylish scarves and smart pilot garb. Always friendly, Ivanoff is a veritable fountain of entertaining stories to tell and anyone who talks to Ivanoff particularly in his native language has a hard time getting him quiet again.
The imperturbable Ivanoff is part of the pack of second-tier veteran pilots who want to make life difficult for the perennial title contenders at the top and, after tasting victory in Perth and the podium in London, it’s clear that he wants more. “I’m hoping to improve my ranking in 2009,” said Ivanoff, who finished an identical seventh overall in 2005 and 2007 and eighth in 2006 before falling two pegs to 9th last year.
Ivanoff became an aerobatic pilot almost by accident in 1990 after having spent most of his adult life as a flight instructor. He joined the French Aerobatics Team seven years later and was a member of the French team that won the World Championships in Toulouse in 2000. He took second place at the French Unlimited Aerobatics Championship in 2004.

He is an instructor at Corsica’s famous ‘Corse Voltige’ flying school. Thoroughly French despite his Russian and Greek heritage, Ivanoff is nevertheless the antithesis of a hot-blooded Corsican. Even when things aren’t going his way Ivanoff remains calm and collected. He takes an artistic approach to flying, comparing it to “painting in the sky”, and when he’s having a good weekend, his style of flying is indeed a pleasure for the eye.

Flying achievements
2008:European aerobatics unlimited championship - 7th overall
2004:Silver medal - French Unlimited Aerobatics
2000:World Aerobatics Unlimited Championship - team gold medal
European aerobatics unlimited championship - team silver medal
European aerobatics unlimited championship - free program bronze medal