PHOTOS: The 2014 Red Bull Plane Races Kick Off In Dubai

The 2014 Red Bull Air Race season kicked off in Dubai over the weekend, and the current world champion took home the first win.

The race works like a slalom event: One at a time, pilots fly a course through a series of pylons as quickly as possible. Best time wins.

In Dubai, Britain’s Paul Bonhomme clinched first place with a time of 56.439 seconds around the track. Second-place Hannes Arch of Austria finished in 56.776 seconds.

Once popular in Europe and the United States, air races are now mostly a thing of the past, so watching these skilled pilots fly so fast and low — the pylons are just 25 meters tall — is something special.

Here are a few photos from the season’s first event. The next race is scheduled for April in Rovinj, Croatia, to be followed by races in Malaysia, Poland, Fort Worth, and Las Vegas. The season ends with a China race in November.

Here’s Hannes Arch of Austria, who finished second.

Canada’s Peter McLeod, the youngest pilot in the race, came in third.

Cool trophies:

And here’s a video recap of the first race:

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