Red Bull X-Alps

Hannes ArchBiography

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Hannes Arch was born in Trofaiach, Austria and lived for the mountains. He was a world class rock climber and paragliding pilot. Based on his passion for adventure sports, Hannes invented the Red Bull X-Alps in 2003. The epic paratrekking competition quickly gained a reputation as one of the world’s toughest adventure races. No matter if  he was hiking, ski-touring, rock climbing, paragliding, flying helicopters or stunt planes - the mountains were where Hannes felt most at home and at peace.

Biography - Hannes Arch

Early days…   
Few people have spent more time in the air than Austrian pilot and adventurer Hannes Arch – but Arch is not somebody you would say has his head in the clouds.  Since helping start the Red Bull Acro Team in 1994, the accomplished Austrian has made a career of climbing mountains, paragliding, and flying stunt planes. Arch started early – at the age of 16 he attained his hang-gliding license, by 19 he was a state-approved mountain and ski guide, and by 23 one of the best mountaineers and climbers worldwide. He completed his outdoor education by studying Sports Science and working as a lecturer on sport climbing at Graz University. More importantly, he’s known as one of the first “acrobatic paragliders” in the world.

Conquering the air… 
In 1998, four years after establishing the Red Bull Acro Team, Hannes took his love of flying to the next level by making the crossover from free flying to motorized flying, experimenting with aerobatics and in 2001, eventually earning a first place in the Swiss Championship Advanced Category and earned a coveted spot on the Swiss National Aerobatic Team. During this time he joined Ueli Gegenschatz to become the first to dare a B.A.S.E. jump from the imposing 1800-metre high north face of the Eiger, one of the most daunting peaks in the Swiss Alps, followed by another north face – that of the Matterhorn. The extreme sportsmen had only two seconds to open their parachutes during the jump, infamous for having the highest “exit” in Europe.

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Athlete & businessman…
Discontented to only achieve heights in the sky, Hannes combined his business savvy and love of extreme sports to form production and stunt coordination company Airpro GmbH. Specializing in aerial film and TV productions, the company quickly attracted a roster of high profile clients, undertaking such stunts as flying a BMW from a paraglider.

Red Bull X-Alps…
Hannes made his mark on the paragliding scene inventing the grueling international competition known as the Red Bull X-Alps, taking the world’s most elite paragliding pilots across the Alps from Austria to Monaco entirely by air or foot in a race against the clock. The event quickly gained a reputation as one of the world’s toughest adventure races. It will return for its eight time in 2017 in the spirit of its mastermind!

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Red Bull Air Race… 
The last few years has seen Arch attain recognition first as race director and aviation coordinator of the infamous Red Bull Air races, and ultimately as one of its most competitive pilots. Eventually, Arch and his crew became a force to contend with on the Red Bull Air Race competition, with an overall win in 2008 and hard-fought 2nd places finishes in 2009 and 2010. After a three-year break, the famous race finally celebrated its comeback in 2014. Two victories and fast times throughout Red Bull Air Race 2014 allowed him to maintain a lead all season long. The World Cup finals in Spielberg, Austria, became an emotional hometown showdown. In front of more than 34,000 excited fans, he put up fantastic performances and gained the title of Vice World Champion 2014. The Red Bull Air Race Saison 2015 had its ups and downs for him, he finished third in the season’s overall World Cup standings and had two magnificent victories in Rovinj and Budapest. In 2016, Hannes started with a successful second place in Spielberg and with a third place in Lausitz.

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SOS Nepal…
Hannes career as a mountaineer started reading a book about first ascents of the highest mountains in the world in Nepal. He felt responsible for the people of the country, which helped him defining his dreams and visions. With his favourite project SOS Nepal, Hannes actively supported the crisis-ridden people in Nepal. After the earthquake in 2015, he helped personally by hand and with helicopter transportation flights to rebuild the school in Ripchet. For further information go to www.sosnepal.com.


On September 9, 2016, Hannes Arch died in a helicopter accident during a private flight. Hannes was a true friend and will be dearly missed.

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