Combining two different types of aircraft, the Pitts Special S2B from the 1960s with the modern Extra ES 300, The Wizards are renowned for their breathtaking flying displays the world over and are a must see act for the Al Ain event – which is being held under the patronage of HH General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
Their most famous and death defying move, and a wild crowd pleaser, features two fearless skydivers leaping from the Pitts planes mid-manoeuvre to perform the only dual inverted parachute drop currently being undertaken anywhere in the world.
“We are calling on the massive support of all the spectators to make our debut here in Al Ain a massive success. We will not disappoint with our display as we push the extraordinary aerobatic capabilities of our machines to the absolute limit and put on a show that is sure to dazzle,” said the Team Leader of The Wizards.
Also making their regional debut is Italy’s Team Pioneer, which will be lighting up the skies in their Pioneer helicopter, the first of its kind to emit smoke in different colours. Striving to demonstrate the precision and elegance of flight in what has been described as ‘a synchronized dance in the open sky’, the four man team – comprised of the Italian National Team – is looking to give the other competitors a ‘fly for their money’.
The team’s display routine was conceived by a crack-group of pilots and flight instructors and developed with the assistance of former jet pilots from the “Frecce Tricolori” – the Italian National Jet Formation Team. These crack pilots trained the Pioneer team, giving them an understanding of flying in formation and the essence of “team spirit”, which they hope to show off to the crowds in Al Ain.
The two international teams are the latest to sign up for the 2008 Al Ain spectacular – which runs from January 24-27.
They join an elite field which will see over 110 aircraft compete in the four-day, family extravaganza as they look to impress the judges across a variety of criteria. Scored on innovation and entertainment criteria, 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.
The Al Ain International Aerobatics Championship 2008 has attracted a high-profile sponsorship line-up including Etihad Airways and ADNOC Distribution as Platinum sponsors; Pilatus, Etisalat, Al Ain Mineral Water and Abu Dhabi National Hotels as Gold sponsors, and Al Ain Mall as Silver sponsor.
Jointly organised by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) and the UAE Air Force and Air Defence, and in conjunction with the World Air Sports Federation, the Championship will also be organised in co-operation with the Department of Municipalities and Agriculture – Al Ain Municipality, Al Ain Police Directorate, Al Ain International Airport, and Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company.
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