Interview with British pilot Nigel Lamb

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By website-editor on 7.8.2023

Interview with British pilot Nigel Lamb

Nigel Lamb is an accomplished pilot with over 1,500 airshows under his belt. In his 4th year at the Red Bull Air Series he is currently in 8th place overall after coming 5th in the British leg of the race. inQuireLive had the chance to speak to him briefly the day before the race during the qualifying stages.

How did you find the conditions today?

Choppy, a little choppy, but easier than yesterday. It was much easier to get round today without picking up penalties.

How do you prepare yourself mentally for the challenges of flying the course?

The first thing is you have to have the background and the experience so that you can feel comfortable in this sort of environment. You are basically strapping a plane to your body and that becomes your means of getting round the track. You need to be very comfortable with flying the plane so fast and so close to the ground. Finally you need to be well rehearsed in how you are going to run the track and know exactly what you are going to do out there. Overall it might not be the best strategy, but it is my strategy and it works.

How does the plane handle the 10 or 11Gs that experience while flying?

Well you have got to remember firstly that these planes are built to take this sort thing. You also have to relate G over time. 2Gs for 5 minutes can be pretty hard work whereas 14G for a millisecond is nothing at all. When you have a lot of energy the Gs can spike but this goes down again very quickly.

How do you deal with the Gs physically?

Whenever you hit the high Gs your blood wants to move down through the body, your job is to stop it from doing this because if it does the first thing that will go is your eyesight. What you need to do is inflate your chest cavity take use very fast, very short breathes while tensing your body as hard as possible to stop the blood flowing down. While your preparing before the race you need to be stretching a lot and making sure your really ready with your breathing technique so that when you do hit the first Gs you are ready to act.

And how does timing affect your performance.

Well you need to be as quick as you can through the course obviously but the way the pylons are set out make London a very challenging track. It looks simple enough but it actually works out to be 29 gates in 81 seconds so you have to be ready for the fact that something will be flashing by you every 3 seconds or so.


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