Flying display: three jet teams and 12 more acts
Three military aerobatic teams from Europe will appear in the daily flying display here, interspersed with a dozen solo acts. The Spanish air force Patrulla Aguila (Eagle Patrol) is making its Dubai debut, flying seven CASA 101 jet trainers. The Patrouille de France and the UK Royal Air Force Red Arrows are making return appearances. Among the solo performers, the MiG-29 OVT will likely attract the most attention.
Test pilot Mikhail Belyaev will demonstrate the Russian fighter’s enhanced agility, thanks to thrust-vectoring (TV) of its two RD-33 turbofans. Unfortunately, the U.S. Air Force canceled a plan to bring the new Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor to Dubai, thus denying the Dubai crowd a chance to compare this stealthy, fifth-generation fighter’s own TV performance with that of the MiG.
But Stealth will still be on display here, as the Lockheed Martin F-117 makes probably its last international appearance before retirement. The U.S. Navy will show off an F/A-18F Super Hornet, and Lockheed Martin pilots Troy Pennington and William Gigliotti will alternately fly an F-16E belonging to the UAE Air Force. The planned appearance of a U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle has been stymied by that type’s grounding.
The two remaining contenders for the UAE’s jet trainer requirement–the Aermacchi M-346 and the KAI T-50 Golden Eagle–will both be flying. The Pakistan air force will fly China’s K-8 basic jet trainer as well as its country’s indigenous Super Mushshak primary trainer. From Germany comes the Remos G-3, an aggressive competitor in the market for light sport aircraft. Pilatus Aircraft will be flying the PC-21 turboprop trainer.
Expect a spirited performance from Italian test pilots Marco Venanzetti and Enrico Scarabotto, flying the Alenia C-27J tactical transport. Last but not least, the Airbus A380 airliner will make a return appearance here, nine months ahead of its introduction to service by Emirates Airline.
The flying display will run from approximately 1:30 until 4:30 each day, with a short interruption for commercial airliner movements about halfway through. Dubai’s regular air show narrator–veteran British commentator Sean Maffett–has returned to do the honors again this year.