Sabato, 20 Ottobre 2018

Royal Jordanian air team provides thrills


(By Kate Carlisle)
Rome, June 28 - Air shows may be geared to
attracting aviation enthusiasts, but for the Royal Jordanian
Falcons (RJF), what happens before and after the 20-minute
flying performance is just as much a part of the whole show.
While Captain Mohammed Al Jaloudi, the head of the
four-pilot Falcons team, knows that what he does in the air
thrills the crowds, he is equally as passionate about his role
on the ground.
"Of course we pose for pictures, sign cards and shake
hands, but what I really like is when I get questions about my
home country, Jordan," the military-trained pilot who has
directed the team since February tells ANSA.
"No question is too simple," the seasoned pilot says.
"But I do realize that there is a lot to explain about my
country...there are many misconceptions," he chuckles,
remembering questions about whether he lived in a tent or had
The Royal Jordanian Falcons, a perennial national
aerobatic team, was formed in 1976 at the initiative of the late
King Hussein Bin Talal.
It is made up of volunteers from the country's airforce,
all fighter pilots, who gracefully twist and turn their five
Extra-300 L aerobatic aircrafts over the heads of spectators
around the world.
Currently on tour in Europe, the team hits 16 major air
shows each year and hopes to increase that number by one
Their performances are free thanks to the support of King
Abdullah II and is supervised by Prince Faisal Bin Al-Hussein.
More financial backing comes from the Aqaba Development
Corporation (ADC), Royal Jordanian Airlines and the Royal
Jordanian Air force.
The precision aviation team sees itself as the country's
"roving ambassadors".
"We have brochures and guides, but mostly, we have our
knowledge and love of our country," Al Jaloudi says.
Recently the team headquarters was transferred to King
Hussein International Airport in Aqaba - the Red Sea resort that
is blooming into a business and tourism hub for the region.
"We want people to see Aqaba and everything around it,
like Petra and Wadi Rum, also known as The Valley of the Moon
where Lawrence of Arabia was filmed," says Al Jaloudi.
But while promoting the best of Jordan is top of the list
on the ground, wowing onlookers while in the air takes 100%
"During the show we are flying around 150 knots and have
to be sure we are always visible to spectators, while being at a
safe distance all the time," the captain says.
"When you fly, you forget about everything else around is just you and the pilots," he says.
A commentator on the ground narrates the experience for
the crowd so they don't miss a beat of the team's maneuvers as
they zip and loop over head and on the horizon.
"We choreograph all of our performances ourselves and
always have a backup routine in case weather conditions prohibit
certain moves," Al Jaloudi says.
Their European tour which ends in September includes the
Lappeernrante Airshow in Finland, Leszno Airshow in Poland,
Waddington Airshow in the UK, Krefeld Airshow in Germany, Hradec
Airshow in the Czech Republic and Sanicole Airshow in Belgium.

© Riproduzione riservata

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