Title: Paul Bonhomme 540 Modification
Category: Best Design/Experimenter of the Year
Nominees: 2015 Red Bull Mod Team (Paulo Iscold, Wade Hammond, Paul Bonhomme, UFMG students, Eric Stewart)
Nominator: Eric Stewart
Argument: Following a third place overall finish in the 2014 Red Bull Air Race competition, Team Bonhomme decided it was time to up the ante and effect an overall mod package on Paul Bonhomme’s Edge540. During a very short off-season in which much of the design and fabrication work was done in Brazil while the airplane was shipped from Austria to Craig Catto’s shop in Jackson CA for final assembly, the RB mod team instituted a large number of performance enhancements including improved data acquisition and simulation software/hardware, an entirely new wind-tunnel tested cowl and belly panel with integrated cooling systems, and other smaller modifications. The overall effect has improved aerodynamic efficiency and reduced overall aircraft weight. Bonhomme won the first race of the 2015 Red Bull air race season, with consistently faster times than his competition.