Alejandro Maclean: Red Bull Air Race Pilot Profiles
Alejandro Maclean of Spain and his team have worked hard to break into the pack of leaders of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship, investing extensive time and effort into analysis and modifications to make the MXS-R more competitive. There have been gains but they have been incremental and not enough to keep pace with the rapidly improving field around him.
“Alex” Maclean, who got his decidedly un-Spanish name and blue eyes from a Scottish grandfather, is an intensely competitive man. A proud Spaniard, it does not take much to get his Latin blood boiling – especially when an otherwise good run ends up marred by a close penalty call. Maclean, who switched to an MXS-R from an Edge 540 in mid-2008, has an aggressive style of flying and likes the more challenging, turn-filled race tracks rather than the faster out-and-back courses.
Maclean, who has helped make the race popular in Spain where it is closely followed on television, has been hoping to make a breakthrough to the upper echelons for the last 4 years and is confident experience will pay off in 2010. Maclean has been a race fitness pioneer, demonstrating that the loss of 20 kilos in 2007 helped his plane pick up crucial fractions of a second in high-G turns. Many others followed. He was the first to work with a sports psychologist in search of another advantage.
Maclean started flying an ultralight at 18. He won two Spanish aerobatic championships. Good fortune has accompanied his career; he suffered broken bones in a crash when the propeller broke apart on an experimental plane. His aircraft came apart in midair in another incident, but he was able to bail out and land safely with his parachute from an altitude of 200 metres.