Daniel Genevey is the first Challenger Class pilot to fly under the Hungarian flag, and in a highlight of the 2017 season, he earned pole position in only his third race: in home skies at the classic Red Bull Air Race stop of Budapest. Also a commercial airline pilot, mechanical engineer and aerobatic competitor at the European and World levels, in 2018 Genevey will be looking for his debut podium in the Challenger Class, while building his skills in the new Challenger raceplane, a swift Edge 540.
"This plane is amazingly fast. It will push the limits further in the Challenger competition, which will become even more thrilling to the public and demanding for the pilots," Genevey states.
While Genevey and his family are based in Budapest, the pilot is truly a man of the world. He grew up in Guadeloupe, where his childhood interest in flying came as a surprise to his family, who had never been involved with aviation. So Genevey started aerobatics with model airplanes. He then moved to France for his engineering degree, and to the USA, earning a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech university. As a mechanical engineer, he collaborated on rocket engines for use by the European Space Agency. Concurrently, he acquired his commercial pilot's license, eventually joining Air France, where he is a first officer.
Having begun his aerobatic training almost as soon as he got his pilot's license, Genevey won the French National Advanced Aerobatics Championship in 2011. He subsequently chose to compete for his new home country, Hungary, where he had been conducting all of his aerobatics training. On the Hungarian Aerobatic Team, he contends in the highest class, Unlimited, and he ranked among the top 10 European pilots in only his second year in the category. Joining the Red Bull Air Race meant adding an entirely new skillset to his repertoire; one Genevey is determined to keep growing throughout his second season.
"I could feel more confident at the end of 2017, but this is an endless process. It's always possible to improve our flying," he says. "This year I will be looking for consistency and step-by-step progress. All in all, it's a matter of experience and mental preparation."