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Less known than the international Dubai Air Show, the Al Ain Air Championships is another major aviation event organized in the United Arab Emirates. The airport of Al Ain in the emirate of Abu Dhabi hosts this spectacular biennial show. Desert sand dunes provide a great backdrop for the championships, in which the public is heavily involved by voting for the winner... The Saudi Hawks, displaying their green and white BAe Hawks jet trainers, were first to show off their display skills, to the delight of the local public who came out in numbers.

Saudi Hawk crossing at Al Ain 17dec Hassan Sidahmed

The Hawk crossing is without doubt one of their most thrilling maneuvers.

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Operating the Italian-made MB339NAT jet trainers, the local pride is Fursan al-Emarat (Knights of the Emirate). Despite a bird-hit, followed by an engine flame out on the first day of the championships, the team eventually won the 2015 edition.

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The UAE Air Force has a sizeable fleet of modern fighters, which have been called to action frequently in the Arab region. The F-16E is probably the most advanced version of the well known F-16 and put on its skills in spectacular fashion.

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France has long been a supplier of hardware for the UAE Air Force, with the Mirage V being succeeded by its logical derivative the Mirage 2000. The UAE operates the Mirage 2000-9 version, which is the ultimate development of Dassault’s delta wing design.

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When winter has come to Europe, temperatures in the Middle East are going down to a nice level, thus enabling air show acts to fill their annual schedule. The Belgian operated Broncos is not only an aviation enthusiast favorite, with its sharp turns and sharp look!

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Sukhoi is a well known Russian fighter manufacturer, which also constructs aerobatic aircraft, like this Su-26 which operates from Spain and found its way to the Abu Dhabi desert for the championhips.

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Local pride and technology go hand in hand in the Middle East.