It was already 11.50 am when Vij told me about the Fly-in at Al Khor. He wanted to visit the event not just to see the flights, but also to have a first-hand experience, sitting in those small flights. Then, we just thought of having lunch outside and left home, wondering if we would be able to see the event properly, as it was too windy.
|Fly-in at Al Khor|
We reached the Al Khor airport by 1 pm and as expected it was so dusty and windy. We could see people and small children covering their faces and trying to avoid dust from falling in their eyes. Though I could cover myself with the shawl, by the time we left the place, our dress, body and cameras were smeared with a fine layer of dust, not to mention the fine layer on the body of our car…
|Small models for sale|
|This had a note saying don't sit inside ;)|
There were a diverse range of light aircraft from Qatar and the Gulf region at Al-Khor Airport and we saw several aircraft enthusiasts from all over the region gathering around the flights and clicking pics. The crowd seemed to be excited, which was obvious through their cheer and smile.
|Red beauties ;)|
The Fly-in, fifth in the series, was organised jointly by Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA), Qatar Aeronautical College (QAC), light aircraft owners from Qatar and the region (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and UAE), the remote flying section at the Science Club, Al-Khor Airport, the ultra-light amateurs, and regional flight clubs.
|Looking what's inside...|
The objective of the event was to educate Qatari youth about the concepts and practicalities of aviation, offering them an opportunity to plan their future and choose the adequate specialisation to make a career in the discipline, should they feel the urge to ‘reach for the sky’. It was also a great opportunity for those with a passion for aviation to immerse themselves in a fantastic and original experience by taking a closer look at a diverse range of aircraft - from jets, to propeller aircraft, to micro-copters and many others.
|I loved that kid's glass and bunny cap :)|
The event started on Friday at 8 am and the Fly-in began at 9 am and luckily we went on the second day and there was not that much of crowd. The display of remote-controlled aircraft, set to traditional, local music was an added attracted at the site. Had we visited on Friday, we could have witnessed a police squadron providing an air show accompanied by a ‘search and rescue’ scenario, followed by a flying show and then a remote-control display, accompanied by a commentary.
The potential of the Fly-in was evident by the number and stature of Qatari companies that had sponsored the event. We could see several private and government companies like Qatar Petroleum, Qatar Steel, Qafco, Ras Gas, Al-Khor Space City, Barwa Real Estate, Qatar Foundation and its partner the US Museum of Flights, and HBK Holding sponsoring the event, and their banners fluttered in the air.
Though, we went on time, we couldn’t take the flight as it was too windy! The offer by some of the small planes to take people around the airfield at a fee of QR150 per passenger seemed quite exciting and was a great draw at the event. Visitors had to register for the ride to be called in when their turn comes. There were conditions to take a ride too. The passenger had to be at least 16, fit for flying and wear protective gear.
The planes used were mostly gyrocopters, autogyros and micro light flown by professional pilots and the trip usually lasted around 15 minutes. The demand for the trip was very high and only a few had a chance Friday.
The event featured more than 30 planes, of small and light types, alongside one helicopter and a small passenger plane. Professional pilots were available next to their parked planes to answer the visitors’ queries.
After clicking some good number of pics we left the place and went to Al Khor town. We had not had any lunch and headed towards KFC for a quick bite and alas, it was sooo bland, sooo bland that we regretted going there!