Capital to witness heart-stopping aerial display

ABU DHABI - A spectacular show of the French military aeronautical professionalism is coming to Abu Dhabi in September. Patrouille de France, one of the oldest team in Europe, will present an official 30-minute airshow on September 28 evening.

By Anjana Sankar

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Published: Fri 9 Jul 2004, 10:56 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:46 PM

Captain Gilles Combarieu, Public Relations Officer of Patrouille de France, said at a Press conference held at the embassy in Abu Dhabi that the team consisting of eight professional fighter pilots will be performing the latest 2004 Display in Abu Dhabi, celebrating the close ties and friendship between the government of the UAE and France.

The airshow also known as a 'Series' is a dynamic combination of constantly changing formations weaving wonderful forms such as loops, all-crossing etc. The aircraft take off and join up together in close formation, manoeuvring between 120 and 300 knots, changing formation in each figure. After the first bomb burst, four aircraft separate from the other aircraft to begin a synchronised presentation. The two solos will also perform a series of crossing manoeuvres.

'It is a very risky and adventurous feat as there is no ground support offered to the pilots when they are performing in the sky at a speed of 300-600km per hour. It is their sheer skill and positioning that help them to successfully finish the high-altitude air choreography," remarked Captain Gilles Combarieu. Elaborating on the professionalism of the pilots, he said that all of them are highly experienced fighter pilots with the French Air Force with more than 10 years of experience in flying fighter planes.

"To apply for the post in Patrouille de France, one must have completed a minimum of 2,000 flying hours. In order to perfect the 30 minute of aerial choreography, hours upon hours of intense training are necessary, which is generally conducted during the winter season. And it is again with the technical competence of mechanics that day after day the line of eight aircraft is ready so as to optimise the training," he added.

Successively equipped with F-84 G, Ouragan, Mystere IV, the Patrouille de France has been flying the Alphajet since 1981. The team has its mission to open the eyes of the world to French military aeronautical professionalism. So far 60 millions of spectators in over 30 countries have witnessed the virtuosity of their flying. Since 1953, 170 pilots followed one another and totalised 2,000 flying demonstrations and over 135,000 flying hours. The team hosts 40 official displays every year in Europe itself during the summer.

According to the Captain, the aeronautical team has already visited the United Arab Emirates four times before, in 1997, 1999 to Dubai and in 2001 both to Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

And this time the team, consisting of eight pilots and 35 engineers, who is on their way to China is using the opportunity of their five-day stopover in the emirate to showcase their talent to the residents of Abu Dhabi.

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