On the 1st of January my parents and I went to Abu Dhabi Heritage Village, and right after we entered, a thrilling show of the national aerobatics team began. Needless to say, everybody’s attention was immediately captured and visitors of the Village exhibition started taking photos of the six black and gold aircrafts performing their incredible aerobatics.
The show was breathtaking, sometimes they were flying so low I thought they were going to land on the Corniche. Either with all aircrafts together or taken alone, the show was diverse and entertaining, giving the willies even to those with their feet steady on the ground. At some point, a single aircraft flew very high, and when almost disappeared from our sight, the pilot switched the engine off releasing the colors of the UAE’s flag. He kept the engine off for almost a minute, spinning around itself while coming down at freefall speed. My breath literally stopped he switched the engine back on.
The pilots were excellent, and my parents said in unison, in what sounded to me like a burst of unusual national pride: “They are probably the Italian Frecce Tricolori, they are always called everywhere for this kind of shows because they are the best.” This drew my attention, and after a bit of research I was pleased to find out that our Air Force aerobatic display team is indeed one of the best in the world, and that they actually are behind the training and the direction of the Emirates’ aerobatics team that debuted last November.
The team of five Italian pilots, led by colonel Paolo Tarantino, trained the Emirati team of Al Fursan (The Knights) teaching them tricks and secrets. Al Fursan is currently using the same Aermacchi aircrafts that Frecce Tricolori use. The mission of the Italian team didn’t finish with November’s Air show. This what Tarantino told Italian news agency Ansa: “There are three more goals we must reach: continuing our training to qualify the pilots as instructors, creating an original and more difficult programme and accompanying the team in the next shows they will perform abroad.”
The show was fantastic, and in the hope to see them again, I wish good luck to both teams.