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Upcoming Al Ain Air Championship will go interactive this year with mobile app

posted on 01/12/2015: 1550 views

The skies above Al Ain will play host to incredible stunts and daring feats of bravery as 10 civilian and military flying teams take to the air for the Al Ain Air Championship later this month.

Air shows are always crowd-pleasers, but, this year, audiences will have a chance to be directly involved in how things play out in the skies above.

"The format of the event has changed from an air show to an air championship,” said Sultan Al Mutawa Al Dhaheri, acting executive director at TCA Abu Dhabi. "Fans will be allowed to vote for their favourite team through a mobile app, offering them a chance to judge the best of the spectacular stunts.”

Taking place from December 17 to 19, the event will also feature plenty of on-ground entertainment.

"There will be fun-filled family activities, ranging from dramatic aerobatic displays and simulator experiences to interactive games, arts and crafts, soft play areas and car-drifting spectacles for visitors of all ages,” Mr Al Dhaheri said.

"Sunsets are expected to be picturesque, with live music entertainment and a daily hot air balloon display set to an impressive sound and light show. It will be a gastronomic feast, with a variety of food trucks from a range of different restaurants.”

Participating teams include the Breitling Wingwalkers, the Red Bull China Firestars and the Saudi Hawks, but all eyes will be on the local heroes in the form of the UAE's own Al Fursan.

The team, led by Lt Col Nasser Al Obaidli, made its debut at the 2011 Dubai Air Show.

"Al Fursan means The Knights,” Lt Col Al Obaidli said. "In the Arab world, knights are considered heroic, and have qualities such as nobility, courage, perfection and grace. The team identified with these qualities and hence we chose it as our name.

"Al Fursan represents the UAE as a nation and is part of the Air Force,” Lt Col Al Obaidli said. "Its mission is to do the nation proud while engaging and exciting people with its high-adrenalin stunts.

"We are absolutely looking forward to the championship. This is the second year that the team is participating in the show. We hope the audiences enjoy the performances and vote for their favourite one. We have seven aircraft and will have seven pilots at the championship. We don't have any female pilots on the team yet, but hope to have them someday soon.”

Being selected to fly an Aermacchi MB-339NAT as a member of Al Fursan is no easy task. Only UAE Air Force pilots flying fighter jets stand a chance.

"They have to be the best pilots of their squadron,” Lt Col Al Obaidli said. "Aerobatic flying is different from commercial or military flying.”

Lt Col Al Obaidli believes next month's event will further strengthen Al Ain's position as a global tourist and cultural destination.

This is a sentiment shared by Mr Al Dhaheri. "With a variety of tourism attractions on offer, Al Ain is becoming a must-see destination for UAE visitors and those from across the GCC,” he said. "Our aim is to showcase Al Ain's wide array of family fun attractions to attract larger numbers of visitors to this wonderful city.

"Year on year the Al Ain Air Championship has enjoyed growing popularity and presence, becoming a must-visit attraction in people's calendars.

"Visitors will experience a wonderful climate at this time of year and take advantage of a wealth of cultural, fun and exciting tourist attractions across the city.”

Tickets start at Dh30 a day and can be bought through or at the Championship Village box office on the day of the event.

For more information visit – The National -


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