François Le Vot, born in Tunisia but now based in Pezanes, France, is a decorated French Air Force fighter pilot and former French national and World Aerobatics Champion. After achieving all his aerobatic goals, Francois joined the Red Bull Air Race Challenger Class series and managed to successfully apply his aerobatic skills to the world of air racing, winning his first three races and moving up to the Master Class series after just one season.
Le Vot first attended a Red Bull Air Race training camp in 2008 and retired as a top gun flight instructor from France's 'Armee de l'Air' after a distinguished 12-year career flying Alpha Jets and the Mirage 2000. A supremely confident pilot, Le Vot has a smooth, efficient and artistic style of flying that impressed crowds and rival Challenger Cup pilots. Known as 'Zool' in the aviation world, Le Vot is an articulate aviator who can colorfully describe his love of high-speed, low-altitude flying and who enjoys inspiring others into the world of aviation.
Le Vot has extensive aerobatics experience and success in both the World and European Aerobatics Unlimited Championships dating back to 2004 and has set his sights on one day winning the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. He spent 12 years on the French military's aerobatics team and was on the French team since 2004. He won the European silver medal in 2012 and won a share of the team gold before he won the World Aerobatic Championship title in 2013. He earned his Unrestricted Super License for the Red Bull Air Race from the FAI in 2008, joined the Challenger Class in 2014 and was invited into the Master Class for the 2015 season.
In the newly created Challenger Cup, Le Vot was a dominant force winning the first three races in Abu Dhabi, Croatia and Malaysia and finished 2014 on the top of the Challenger Class points table.
Stepping up to the Master Class last season, the Frenchman was constantly learning at every race. The increased importance of precision, rapid rate of knots required and head to head format to adjust to were just some of the factors the talented pilot had to work hard to try and overcome. François’ main concern was finding his pace in the race, which showed to improve as the season progressed. With a switch around within the team and a winter spent working on the aircraft, the new line up is eager to get the 2016 season underway.
Le Vot has more than 4,000 flight hours to his name, including 1,500 hours in military jet aircraft and more than 1,200 hours in aerobatics.
|Aircraft||Edge 540 V2|
|Top Speed||380 km/h / 236mph|
|Max G||+12G / -12G|
|Engine||Lycoming AE10 540 EXP / 6 Cylinders|
|Propeller||Hartzell 3 Blade Composite|
Javis Allison, a Louisiana born and bred aviation enthusiast, joins François and Philippe adding an American impression to the former all-French Master Class team. As the team technician, Javis will travel to all eight global destinations ensuring that the Breitling Racing Team Edge 540 is fully optimised for François to climb up the leader board rankings.
With extensive experience working on corporate jets, helicopters and privately owned aircraft ranging from a Cessna 150 to Boeing 757 for the last 19 years, he couldn’t be a more pertinent fit for his new role.
Javis also understands the demands of aerial competitions having worked with some of the top aerobatics pilots in the world. He realises and doesn’t underestimate the requirements for high G, high speed, flying and is set to ensure that safety is the number one priority alongside the need for speed and performance.
After working on a range of various aircraft, his personal favourite are the Edge 540, Extra 300 and the MXS, loving high performance machinery and cutting edge aerodynamics. Javis is relishing the challenge of pitching his skills against the best of the best and testing his ability to ensure the race aircraft is in tip-top condition to maintain energy and speed through the track.
Now living in New Orleans, Javis follows the philosophy of “Joie de vivre”; the joy of living.
Outside of work Javis’ passion is being on the water, being a keen wakeboarder, while on the land he appreciates and enjoy listening to the New Orleans jazz.
Philippe Alberola steps into the Team Coordinator role for the teams second season and will apply his extensive experience and managerial skills to ensure François gains some solid results in 2016.
Philippe, joined François in December 2014 as the technician for the first season, preparing a race-ready aircraft in superhuman time and overcoming multiple challenges to ensure François could enjoy a safe and progressive introduction in to the Master Class Series.
As Philippe has gained the full oversight of the Red Bull Air Race World Championships, knows the technical demands and understands the tough mental and physical requirements, he has the ideal attributes to transition into the team coordinator role.
Formerly Philippe founded his own company Aerodelta, which operated 6 Gruman Ag Cat aircraft and a Piper PA -18, specializing in agricultural spraying. With his many technical qualifications and a season with his head under the cowlings of the Breitling Racing Team Edge 540 there will be a strong technical benefit to put the other teams under pressure.
Being a pilot himself with over 3,000hrs mostly operating in low and difficult conditions, Philippe really understands the challenges Francois faces racing through the track. Marrying this experience with his true passion for aviation and a desire to innovate and advance aviation mechanics, Philippe will be able to give the maximum advantage for Francois to impress during his succeeding season.
In 1995 the two François’ joined the French Air Force in the same year and were designated to fly the Mirage 2000 for the “Cigognes” (Storks) squadron. François le Vot was assigned the call sign ‘Zool’ François Hanne was donned ‘Petrole’ and as the two youngest pilots in their unit a friendship ensued that was strengthened by the steep learning curve and the difficult challenges they had to overcome.
By applying their infamous humor they managed to optimize their time in the military. In the air they would respect and look after each other as either leader or wingman, however on the ground they generally pitched their wits against each other, to see who would have the last laugh.
During 1999 – 2002 ‘Zool’ and ‘Petrole’ were both flight instructors on Alpha Jets during tours and perfected their double act, ensuring their abdominals had a daily work out of laughter and amusement. When “Zool” joined the aerobatic team, “Petrole” went back to operational forces mainly in an instructor’s role, based in Taiwan for 4 years. Currently he is still part of a test flight squadron focusing on assessing, optimising and implementing new technologies and procedures.
When the opportunity arose for the pair to work on a new mission together ‘Operation Podium’ Petrole was keen to take up the track analysis challenge. If the tradition is respected the new adventure should be surprising, funny, entertaining and hopefully resulting in successful races.
Patrick Paris has teamed up with François Le Vot’s to propel the team forward by finessing not only the flying elements, but also the all important mental preparation and focus.
Patrick first started working with François 14 years ago, when he joined the French Air Force team and triggered the "method" that assisted him to be the 2013 World Aerobatic Champion. In the Red Bull Air Race environment, Patrick is the external view constantly assessing François’ status in terms of state of mind, energy, workload, physical and mental level of fatigue and mapping and prioritising these elements to overcome the tasks and challenges during the race week, to meet the required outputs and to optimize the team’s results. Patrick perfectly transitions any small issues or moments of duress, into positivity and motivation.
Patrick started flying in 1972 choosing a Cap 10 to explore the skies and he flew as a flight instructor on Fouga Magisters for 5 years. He joined the “Equipe de Voltige de l’Armée de l’Air” and while a member of that French Air Force during 11 years, he won the Freestyle world championship in 1988 in Red Deer (Calgary) Canada.
After leaving the Air Force, Patrick became the official display and competition pilot for Breitling. He won the European Aerobatic championships in 1993, 1995 and 1997 and for a second time won the World Aerobatic Freestyle Championship in 1996. He won the Overall World Champion title in 1998 in Trencin, Slovaquia.
During his flying career, he also found a calling in coaching aerobatics enjoying seeing other improve and excel. Since 1998, Patrick had the opportunity to train the Royal Jordanian Falcons, the French, British and Swiss national teams, and individual pilots from all over the world.
Patrick focuses on improving the mental approach of the individual and the flying skills of the pilot finding in each individual the correct balance and application required to reach their full potential.
The Red Bull Air Race World Championship is the fastest motorsport series in the world. It features 14 of the worlds most experienced and talented pilots in a competition that combines speed, precision and skill.
Using the fastest, most agile and lightweight racing planes, pilots navigate a low-level aerial track made up of air-filled pylons 25m high.
The world championship is staged over eight races, in seven Countries on three Continents with the challenging tracks inflated over both water and land.
At each venue, the top nine places earn World Championship points. The pilot with the most points at the end of the Championship becomes Red Bull Air Race World Champion.
Read more about the Master Class here.