Péter Besenyei

Péter Besenyei (b.1956) is a renowned Hungarian aerobatics pilot and world champion air racer. He was born on June 8, 1956 in Körmend, Hungary. He lived near the airport of Budapest and became interested in flying when he was a child. From watching 1962 World Aerobatic Championships he decided to become a pilot. At 15 years of age he flew a glider for the first time. In 1976 Peter entered his first flying competition by piloting a glider and showed his talent, finishing in second place.

Peter Besenyei became an aerobatics pilot and won several titles in national and international championships. He won his first gold medal in 1982 at the Austrian National Championships. His specialty is free-style aerobatics. He invented a number of original snap rolls and, in 1984, the "knife-edge spin". In 1995 Peter Besenyei won 2 gold and 2 silver medals and he was named the most successful aerobatics pilot of his time. In 2001 Besenyei flew upside down under the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, that spans the river Danube in Budapest, a maneuver that became a standard in air races today.

Besenyei is sometimes referred to as the godfather of the Red Bull Air Race because of his work helping develop it. He was asked, in 2001 by Austrian energy-drink company Red Bull, to help develop the concept of an air racing competition. With enthusiasm he helped set up the rules and regulations and carefully selected the most daring pilots, with skills and courage, to handle the extreme physical and mental challenges of the air race. The first race was held in 2003 in Zeltweg, Austria. After two years the competition became a worldwide organization of Red Bull Air Race World Series.

He is currently a test pilot for the Hungarian Aviation Office and a flying instructor for aerobatic pilots on Zivko Edge 540. Peter enjoys car racing, skiing, sky diving, fishing, and photography. Peter is divorced from his first wife, but now married to Tünde and they have two daughters Dóra and Nicolette.

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