Flight, No Fright

By Tom LeCompte | Boston Magazine |

His aviation career began as an earthbound one, pushing a broom at his dad’s Hanscom Field–based flight school. Twenty-five years later, Maynard resident Mike Goulian still stays near the ground—except now he’s skimming it at 350 miles per hour, flying through a dangerous, low-altitude race course marked by inflatable fabric pylons. As part of the Red Bull Air Race circuit, Goulian pulls more than 10 g’s (fighter pilots train for seven) and gets banged up in his plane’s small cockpit. And in 2006, he nearly crashed after hitting a pylon. But despite that—and having friends die in their planes—he loves the thrill too much to quit. “They were as careful as I am, and made one critical error or had some bad luck,” he says. “I just do everything I can to make sure it doesn’t happen to me.”