Team Manager, Albert Hemsted, explained that the difficulty in performing this manoeuvre is that the aircraft will be minus canopies, so inter-pilot communication will be extremely difficult; communications to or between the skydivers impossible.
“The team has been performing together for a number of years, and know each other like the ‘back of their hand’,” he said, “with the exception of our number three skydiver – Johan Grobler – who will be performing the Inverted, for the first time in public in Al Ain.
“Of course, rehearsals are paramount to any aerobatic display. Apart from our regular scheduled practice sessions, the team is practising for Al Ain at least five or six times a day, and will rehearse at the venue. The main point is that our pilots have time to familiarise themselves with the terrain.”
Faisal Al Sheikh, Manager of the Major Events Division of Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), which hosts the globally renowned aerobatics event, said: “Each year we endeavour to raise the bar with this show and to bring a fresh new approach to it. This daring attempt at a ‘world first’ record will again take the Al Ain Aerobatic Show into the annals of international aerobatics history. It will be a thrilling episode for the sports fans and spectators.”
The Goodyear Eagles Team, which boasts two ex fighter jet pilots in its line up, has been together for the past 25 years flying the famed Pitts Special light biplane which dominated world aerobatic competition in the 1960s and 70s. All members now fly for commercial airlines and each has his own personal training programme, averaging at least eight hours a week, so they are in peak physical condition.
Last year, the Goodyear Eagles took part in 18 air shows and appeared at the Al Ain show in 2008 as The Wizards, performing with two aircraft and two skydivers. They continually refine their formation displays, looking for ways to make their spectacle even more impressive.
“We strive to show the public the outstanding characteristics of the Pitts Special,” continued Hemsted. “As regards the Inverted, we looked to add another dimension to the display, in this instance, the Skydivers. The development of the Triple Inverted parachute drop was both frightening and exciting, but it was well worth the effort and hours of practicing!”
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, the Al Ain Aerobatic Show is hosted by Abu Dhabi Airports Company, organised by ADTA and the UAE Air Force and is supported by an extensive list of sponsors. These include gold sponsors Etihad, Pilatus, Al Ain Water and Abu Dhabi National Hotels, along with silver sponsors Mubadala Aerospace, ADAT, Al Ain Municipality and Panasonic. Costa is the official retailer which will partner with The National, a leading UAE English language daily newspaper, to create ‘The National Costa Coffee Lounge’ – a relaxed venue to grab a coffee and paper. Mercedes Benz meanwhile will provide the official vehicles.
Monday, January 11- 2010 @ 9:51 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.