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World’s oldest plane to make regional debut at Al Ain Airshow

United Arab Emirates: Wednesday, January 02 - 2008 @ 14:16

Gaining immortality on July 25th 1909, the Bleriot XI aircraft crossed the English Channel from Calais to Dover in just 36 and a half minutes, securing its place in the history book and in the hearts of aviation enthusiasts for many years to come.

And, having performed its first flying loop in 1913 at one of the first ever air shows in Europe, the Bleriot XI has gone ‘full circle’ as it makes its regional debut at the Al Ain International Aerobatics Championship nearly a century later.

“This event has a sterling reputation for putting on an amazing spectacle, showing off some of the world’s most fascinating aircraft and the pilots’ lightening quick skills in a four day festival. We continue to go from strength-to-strength with this event, and take great pride in continuously raising the bar for Al Ain, Abu Dhabi and the UAE,” said Mohammad Abdullah Bin Barrak Al Dhaheri, General Co-Ordinator, Al Ain International Aerobatics Championship 2008.

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 2008 show, 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, will see over 110 aircraft compete in the four-day family extravaganza.

The Royal Jordanian Falcons in a formation of Extra-300 aircraft return to the emirate’s skies to woo onlookers, as will the Saudi Arabian Green Hawks and world-renowned aerobatic legends, Italy’s Pioneer Team, which will be making their event debut this month.

Smiles galore are also expected with comedy air display team, The Alabama Boys, confirming they’ll be in town to show off their crazy aerospace antics.

“It is all about exciting contrasts, we have the oldest aircraft and the latest state-of-the-art remote controlled flying machines. We have death defying stunts coupled with hysterical flying displays. At the end of the day, this is all about enjoyment for spectators and to help raise the Emirate of Abu Dhabi’s profile on the international stage. Something I believe this event does very well,” added Al Dhaheri.

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.

Russian Svetlana Kapanina – the ‘best female aerobatic pilot of all time’ – who took home the US$50,000 winner’s cheque in the solo aerobatics discipline in the 2007 Al Ain show is returning to defend her title.

Another star set to return 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.

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.

In addition to the ADTA and UAE Air Force and Air Defence, 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.

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.

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Wednesday, January 2- 2008 @ 14:16 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.

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