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Juan Velarde: "The Simloc AVC-SR system is improving out racer time"

Following the final three races of last season and the first race of this season, which was held in February in Abu Dhabi and in which Juan Velarde finished in sixth place, the pilot from Madrid and his team are very optimistic about the upcoming Red Bull Air Race calendar.

Confidence is very high that, once and for all, he will reach the top positions. This level of certainty comes primarily from the consistent flying, the aircraft's performance, good team work and the technology they use for analysing flights, supplied by Simloc.

Here, we take a look at Juan Velarde's assessment of what this technology offers.

Proyecto Juan Velarde 26

Simloc's AVC-SR system gives you a customised tool for analysing your competition flights. How important is this to your race capability? 

This system is pretty fundamental for our competition team. It enables us to download data from the plane after each flight and, importantly, represent that information in a very intuitive and highly graphical way so that we can analyse it. From this, we draw conclusions so that we can study both the flight path and my flying technique to improve my race times. It's a highly advanced tool and, since we've been using it, it has given us a much higher analysis capability than we had before we started working with Simloc. This is clearly reflected in the improved times we're achieving in terms of training and competing and also in the performance of the whole team during races.

How do you use it?

The system itself is used by our tactician Anselmo Gámez and team engineer Miguel Ángel de Frutos. They analyse the flight path data, the Gs at each point, the speed of the plane, its height, the speed at which the position of the plane's nose changes, and the roll rate or inclination at each point of the circuit. It also helps us to represent engine data, synchronising its performance at each point of the circuit before and after each race.

What advantages does it give you?

Being so intuitive, it enables us to analyse the flight in a much shorter time. During races and all the different tasks involved, we have very little time to reach conclusions and make improvements in the next flight. Sometimes, we only have half an hour between flights and every task is highly precise, not only inside but outside the plane. In short, it allows us to perform at our best when under this time pressure.

Do you know if other teams use anything similar? 

Honestly, we don't know what other teams use in terms of this kind of technology. Everything to do with the trace analysis software is kept pretty secret. They have no idea where we are with all this and we can guess to some extent where they are, but we don't know exactly. There is a lot of secrecy between teams here, because it's obviously an extremely confidential topic. There are things that we can all develop, based on what other teams do - such as aerodynamic improvements that you can actually see on the plane. But you have to hide everything that can't actually be seen if you want to achieve the best performance in the race to your own advantage.

And looking to the future, how are you moving things forward?

Looking to the future, we are in continuous contact with Simloc, working with them to improve this system and develop new ones. In fact, we're working on a new flight simulator. We already have a Red Bull Air Race flight simulator, but we're starting almost from scratch to build a much more advanced simulation tool. That's this year's big project. I can't say too much about the direction we're going in, but with the ongoing work of Simloc's engineers and our tactician and engineer, I'm convinced that in a few months we'll have a much more developed tool than we have today.