Air Races Continue Despite Risks

October 12, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. spectator (n.) [spek-tey-ter] – somebody who watches or observes an event or activity
Example: Thousands of spectators cheered the contestants on stage.

2. fatality (n.) [fey-tal-i-tee] –death resulting from disasters or accidents
Example: The traffic accident at the expressway resulted in two fatalities.

3. high-profile (adj.) [hahy-proh-fahyl] – prominent and famous; well- known
Example: Our company lawyer handles high-profile cases of politicians.

4. maneuver (n.) [muh-noo-ver] – movement in various directions
Example: The famous ice skater impressed everyone with her graceful maneuvers.

5. push (something) to the limit (idiom) [poosh] – to attempt to extend the current limits of performance
Example: The coach pushes her players to the limits to win the upcoming athletics competition.

Read the text below.

Fast, thrilling and at times deadly, air races in the US continue to attract both pilots and spectators despite the obvious risks of the sport.
In this year alone, at least thirteen fatalities at US air shows have been reported. One of the most tragic crashes happened on September 16 in Nevada, where 74-year-old pilot Jimmy Leeward crashed into the audience, killing ten people, including himself.

But danger does not seem to prevent people from participating in the sport. Aviation analyst and former US military pilot Jim Tilmon says that seeing airplanes race like cars and fly with incredible speed makes the sport thrilling. Today, several kinds of air races are held around the globe. The most high-profile is Red Bull Air Race Circuit where international competitors perform air maneuvers within a time limit.

No matter how thrilling air races may be, a balance between excitement and safety must be met, says Peter Newport, CEO of Sky Challenge Air Race. Even if well-trained, pilots face huge risks because they push their planes to the limit.

As a way of ensuring safety during races, the Federal Aviation Administration examines the race course and planes’ safety records, monitors pilots' practice runs, and observe the racesitself. However, pilots must still be very careful of unexpected engine failures.

Newport believes new technology can make air races safer in the future. This would not only raise air racing as a global sport but also encourage more young people to go into aviation.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

·         What do you think makes extreme sports interesting for other people?
·         What extreme sports do you think should be banned? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Do you believe the latest technology can minimize accidents in extreme sports?
·         How else can accidents be avoided in extreme sports?

October 12, 2011