Spectacular solo acts, gravity-defying stuntmen and a helicopter with a penchant for comedy are to take this year’s Al Ain Aerobatic Show, running Feb 2 – 5 at Al Ain International Airport, to new heights.
The latest line up joins a cast of stellar display teams that includes the Turkish air force’s aerobatic team - the Turkish Stars – as well as the Baltic Bees and Team Viper, the world’s only Hawker Hunter fighter jet display team.
In an Al Ain Aerobatic Show first, the Fournier RF4D and RF5 motorgliders of pilots Fabio Iannaccone and Ivan Prizzon, known as Blue Voltige, will perform a unique aerial ‘ballet’. The two propeller aircraft from the 1960s, with their sleek lines and aerodynamics, will glide effortlessly through the air in a routine set to music that will be both passionate and thrilling.
Adding comedy value this year is one of the world’s most distinctive air show acts. Performing under the stage name ‘OTTO the Helicopter’, the clown-faced Hughes TH-55 Osageone helicopter will showcase a full set of antics, from blowing bubbles to playing with a giant yo-yo and racing around barrels. OTTO is piloted by Roger Buis, a nominee for the US Army Aviator of the Year in Helicopters, with over 16,500 total flight hours.
In addition, Miss Demeanour, a vintage 1956 Hawker Hunter jet whose stunning ‘atmospheric re-entry’ paint scheme and eye-catching stunts have captivated crowds worldwide, will be showing off her colours to the 130,000 expected visitors. No less of a legend than his aircraft, Miss Demeanour’s owner, Jonathan Whaley, started his flying career at only 17 and can spotted by film buffs in adventure-lovers’ all-time favourite films - ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ and ‘The Mummy.’
Also joining the exclusive line-up will be the unusually-named Scandinavian Airshow, which will dazzle the public with a three-act show of its own. This will include the Skycats’ famous wing-walking extravaganza, and Jacob Holländer’s spine-tingling Pitts Python and Wasp routines.
Flying the world’s most powerful piston biplane, the Pitts Python, Jacob Holländer will put this unique aircraft into its natural element with a head-spinning show of tumbles and tail slides, before hopping into the Wasp’s pilot seat to delight crowds once again with an exhilarating set of aerial stunts.
Fully whiskered, suited and booted parachutist Hella Stenning and skydivers Emma Alexson and Lisa Henriksson will have spectators peering through their fingers at the Skycats trio’s daring antics, wing-walking across a Grumman-164A‘Catwalk’ and striking different poses to rock music, while pilot Sus Jan Hedén performs loops and barrel rolls amid swirling white smoke.
And if that’s not enough, more than 20 aircraft will take to the skies in the daily flying display, while the unique, multi-discipline FAI Desert Challenge, arranged by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), the international governing body for air sports, will see six of the world’s best pilots flying in classic and free-style competing to be the Desert’s first free-style aerobatic champion.
Complementing the aerial displays will be spectacular on-ground activities for the whole family, including meet-the-pilot sessions, tethered hot air balloon rides, go-karting, bungee trampolines and crazy golf, as well as face-painting and appearances by children’s favourite magazine character Majid, the Al Ain Aerobatic Show’s own Friendly Pilot Bear mascot and a stilt-walking pilot.
Daily show tickets are just AED 40 (US$ 11) per adult and AED 20 (US$ 5.5) for children between three and 10 years old, while children under three enter free. Visitors also have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to win a flight with one of the world-class pilots who will be participating at the show, as well as numerous other chances to win free tickets, by taking part in an online competition on the Al Ain Aerobatic Show website. For more information visit: www.alainaerobaticsow.com