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Al Ain aerobatics championship to take off in January

posted on 31/12/2007: 1502 views



Set against the backdrop of one of the world's oldest desert oasis settlements, the largest-ever Al Ain International Aerobatics Championship - a permanent fixture in the global air sports calendar - will take place in the 'Garden City' of Al Ain from 24-27 January. The organisers of the Al Ain International Aerobatics Championship announced that the show will see over 110 aircraft from (number) countries compete in the four-day family extravaganza.

"There will be a spectacular contingent of both civilian and military aerobatic aircraft. It is a unique combination of jet and propeller aircraft, as well as helicopters," said Mohammad Abdullah Bin Barrak Al Dhaheri, General Co-ordinator, Al Ain International Aerobatics Championship 2008.

"With daily solo and formation flying displays in the aerobatic programme, we are confident crowds will flock to Al Ain in what is traditionally an amazing spectacle for the entire family." A veritable chronology of aerobatic aviation will take to Al Ain's skies during the event, with everything from antique aircraft dating back nearly a century, to the very-latest models of remote controlled flying machines set to the woo spectators. With pilots and teams from a host of countries, including, Sweden, the USA, Italy, the UK, Turkey, Hungary and Austria, the stage is set for a gripping extended weekend of thrills and excitement.

Leading the 2008 flying brigade will be Russian Svetlana Kapanina - the "best female aerobatic pilot of all time" - who took home the USUS$50,000 winner's cheque in the solo aerobatics discipline in this year's Al Ain show. Also returning is Zoltan Vers, the inspirational pilot whose eye-catching aerobatic displays in a high performance Extra-300 aircraft culminated in him performing 408 consecutive rolls - a feat which saw Al Ain and the Hungarian entered into the Guinness Book of World Records.

A panel of three qualified scorers will judge the solo and formation displays on innovation and entertainment criteria as the pilots fly a combination of classic aerobatics - a series of unlimited classic manoeuvres performed against the clock, known as "AR," or Aerobatics Race - and a three-minute freestyle section referred to as "AF", or Aerobatics Freestyle.

The scores received for the "AF" are converted direct to seconds and subtracted from the pilots' "AR" programme times. The pilot/s with the lowest aggregate time wins the day's flight, and the pilot/s with the lowest time from the two days of competition flights wins the overall championship.

This year's event attracted over a 100,000 spectators, including visitors from the GCC countries, the wider Middle East, and as far afield as Europe and the USA, and organisers are promising an even bigger turn-out in January. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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