Staff Reporter www.khaleejtimes.com
AL AIN – Two aerobatics teams participating in this year’s Al Ain Aerobatic Show have made a spectacular fly-past over the southern emirates at the start of the second day of the internationally acclaimed event.
The four-day show, which is being held at Al Ain International Airport every afternoon until Saturday, is the world’s only aerobatic spectacle that combines military and civil aircraft, stunt displays and competitions.
At 9.50am, the seven L-39 Albatros Breitling Team jets joined forces with the four BAC 167 Strikemasters of Team Viper, flying over Al Ain before heading towards Dubai. They passed over Burj Khalifa and Atlantis Hotel and then headed to the coast of Abu Dhabi, circling over the Emirates Palace Hotel and Grand Mosque and finally returning to Al Ain.
Although the Breitling Team has performed before at the Al Ain Aerobatic Show, this is the first time it has done so with seven member aircraft. Coincidentally, this will be the last year that they will be flying in this livery. Vipers also made their debut appearance this year.
Faisal Al Sheikh, manager of the Major Event’s Division of Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), which is organising the event in coordination with the UAE Armed Forces, said a record 23 international teams from 15 countries are taking part in the show this year.
“Since its inception eight years ago, the show has gone from strength to strength. Not only are more teams from more countries competing, but there is also ever-growing interest from around the world, with visitors coming from as far away as Canada, the USA, Australia and Chile,” he said.
“Among the many highlights are a number of other firsts. For instance, the South African Goodyear Eagles Aerobatic Team are attempting a never-before-seen triple synchronised inverted parachute drop, while three aircraft perform a formation loop.
“For the first time, we also have on display an AH-64D Apache, four-blade, twin-engined attack helicopter belonging to the UAE’s Air Force and Air Defence, whilst the Royal Bahraini Air Force (RBAF) is making its international debut with two RBAF F16s demonstrating daily. Crowd favourites the Saudi Hawks — the Royal Saudi Air Force Aerobatics Team — are also performing a new, tight-formation flying routine.”