Air Show evokes strong sense of national pride

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APP99-14 ISLAMABAD: August 14 – President Mamnoon Hussain and First Lady Begum Mehmooda Mamnoon witnessing the spectacular Aerobatic Display and Fly-past of Pakistan Air Force at PAF Complex to mark the 70th Independence Day. Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman is also present. APP

ISLAMABAD Aug 14 (APP): Blazing after-burners and
thunderous roar of fighter aircraft over the skies Monday
enthralled the people of twin cities gathered to celebrate the
70th independence Day celebrations and evoke a sense of
national pride.
The event, at the F-9 Park was also witnessed by
President Mamnoon Hussain, along with the Minister of Defence
Khurram Dastgir, Chief of the Air Staff Sohail Aman, diplomats
including the specially invited ambassadors of Saudi Arabia
and Turkey, from atop the building of Shaheen School, adjacent
to the park.
The festive event, a special, to mark the 70th
Independence celebrations, was participated by internationally
acclaimed Aerobatics teams from Turkish Air Force – Solo
Turkey, and Saudi Hawks of the Royal Saudi Air Force, besides
the aerobatics team of Pakistan Air Force and commandoes of
the three services. The air show along with the Saudi and Turk
Air Forces reinforced their strong brotherly ties with
Pakistan.
Excited children carrying the green and white national
flags, many dressed in the national colours, donned matching
hats and goggles and shouted Pakistan Zindabad as the fighters
thundered by. Age also seemed to be no barrier as young and
old all kept their eyes fixated on the twists and turns of
their favourite aircraft in the backdrop of the hazy sky.
The thrilling show began with a flypast by three Mirage
aircraft of the Pakistan Air Force, upgraded with modern
avionics and armament packs, that dropped flares and dispersed
in a bomb burst.
It was followed by the aerobatics show by the lone F-16
known as; Solo Turk, by the Turkish Air Force, an event that
tested the machine and the pilot to the limits.
Solo Turk got a loud applause for flying past the dias
at near the speed of sound – equivalent to 650 kms per hour on
ground. The pilot than almost hovered the aircraft at the
minimum possible speed by a aircraft of its type and waved at
the crowd before pulling it up 90 degrees, as it dispensed
flares.
The crowds around the F-9 Park started to build since
early morning and by the time the show started past the
midday, hundreds of thousands of people gathered, raising
slogans of Pakistan Zindabad and singing and dancing to the
tune of national songs. The roads leading to and from the F-9
Park were jam packed with people on motorbikes, cars, vans
carrying Pakistani flags and playing national songs.
The manoeuvres of Solo Turk included a 8-point role,
flying upside down, rolls and tight turns in which he pulled
almost 9 Gs, besides flying in a wave mode.
The six-member team of the Saudi Hawks were the next to
enthrall the record crowds by flying in different formations.
Flying the BAE Hawk aircraft the team did barrel rolls, bomb
burst, besides their signature manoeuver of forming the Saudi
government logo of a palm tree with two swords.
The most exciting manoeuvres were the ones in which two
aircraft flew in from opposite directions and zapped past each
other with less than 100 meters separation. Emitting Red smoke
they also made a heart, as another aircraft flew through it
making an arrow.
The PAF’s SAAB 2000 AEW&C (Airborne Early Warning and
Control System) Surveillance aircraft also flew past the dias.
The recently inducted Augusta Westward 139 helicopters
for combat Search and Rescue missions of the PAF made their
debut and their pilots showed their skills of handling this
highly versatile and manoeuvrable helicopter, by flying in
reverse, turning on pivot, hard turns.
The workhorse of the Pakistan Army an Mi-17 exhibited
dropping of a team of Special Services Groups who repelled
down the helicopter.
Another manoeuvre in which the SSG Commandoes hang from
ropes from a helicopter also received a thunderous applause
for their daring skills and is normally used for insertion and
extraction from behind the enemy lines.
The final aerobatics was by a JF-17 Thunder, a pride of
Sino-Pakistan joint production effort.
The event concluded with a free fall jump by Special
Services Group teams of the three services, who landed right
at their designated spot inside the F-9 Park.