Flight team per­forms first show abroad

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - NATION | HK - By ZHAO LEI zhaolei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The Au­gust 1st Aer­o­bat­ics Team, China’s first and best­known aer­o­batic demon­stra­tion team, per­formed its first show abroad in Moscow on Fri­day.

Six J-10 multi-role fighter air­craft per­formed a 20-minute stunt show in front of thou­sands of spec­ta­tors at the MAKS-2013 air show at Ra­men­skoye Air­port.

The 11th in­ter­na­tional air show opened on Tues­day and will con­clude on Sun­day.

The jets from the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army Air Force per­formed var­i­ous for­ma­tions and staged a flyover, a cer­e­mo­nial aerial sa­lute, us­ing col­ored smoke trails.

How­ever, the team’s most com­pli­cated ma­neu­vers, in­clud­ing bomb burst, were not per­formed due to poor vis­i­bil­ity caused by fog and clouds.

Colonel Cao Zhen, com­man­der of the team, told PLA Daily that its pi­lots have chore­ographed and prac­ticed 21 ma­neu­vers specif­i­cally for Ra­men­skoye Air­port and the team has three show plans for dif­fer­ent weather con­di­tions.

“I blame the un­fa­vor­able weather as the rea­son why the team didn’t dis­play more so­phis­ti­cated ma­neu­vers,” said Wang Ya’nan, deputy ed­i­torin-chief of Aero­space Knowl­edge mag­a­zine. “Even if the pi­lots per­formed the ma­neu­vers, peo­ple would not be able to see them be­cause a lot of them are con­ducted at high al­ti­tudes.”

There­fore, he said, pi­lots had to choose rou­tines that could be per­formed at low al­ti­tudes and low speeds.

“It’s also their first over­seas show, so I think the team picked ma­neu­vers they are most fa­mil­iar with to be 100 per­cent as­sured,” Wang ex­plained.

He said com­pli­cated ma­neu­vers can be ex­pected in the next two days as long as the weather is good.

The team, named af­ter the date the PLA was founded, has pre­sented more than 500 shows for 668 del­e­ga­tions from 166 coun­tries and re­gions, but the Moscow tour marks the team’s first show abroad, ac­cord­ing to the De­fense Min­istry.

When the team was es­tab­lished 51 years ago, it flew J-5 fight­ers and has been grad­u­ally up­dat­ing the air­craft fleet.

The do­mes­ti­cally built J-10 fight­ers made its de­but in 2008 at the 7th China In­ter­na­tional Avi­a­tion and Aero­space Ex­hi­bi­tion.

In ad­di­tion to the Au­gust 1st team, China has two other aer­o­batic demon­stra­tion teams: Sky Wing and Red Fal­con.

Both were formed in 2011 and be­long to two flight-train­ing in­sti­tutes of the PLA Air Force.

Colonel Yang Yu­jun, spokesman for the De­fense Min­istry, said that the Au­gust 1st team will stage more shows in China and for­eign na­tions in the fu­ture, in­di­cat­ing the PLA has dis­pelled its long-held con­cern on send­ing mil­i­tary units to over­seas de­fense shows.

The team’s next show abroad, upon PLA ap­proval, will be at the bi­en­nial air show in Dubai, United Arab Emi­rates, in Novem­ber, Wang said.

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