Taking Flight at the Bahrain International Air Show

From the largest passenger plane in the world to watching the V-22 Osprey take off, the Bahrain International Air Show was the place to be in 2018.
A great aerial display at the Bahrain Air Show
A great aerial display at the Bahrain Air Show

Only 24 people have ever been on the moon. Of these, just a dozen survive. If one of those people were to turn up for an air show, footfalls are pretty much guaranteed. Alfred Worden, who was the command module pilot of the Apollo 15 moon mission in 1971, graced the fifth edition of the biennial Bahrain International Air Show this year (held at Sakhir Air Base, November 14&ndash16). Add to that an opportunity to walk through an Emirates Airbus A380-800, the largest passenger plane in the world, or watch a V-22 Osprey take off with its nifty tilt-rotor mechanism (it takes off like a helicopter but, in flight, converts to a turbo-prop) and you have the makings of a stellar air presentation. Over 30,000 spectators attended the the show, which included jaw-dropping demonstration flights by the Russian Knights in their state-of-the-art Sukhoi Su-30SM fighters, known for their synchronous barrel rolls and &lsquodead loops&rsquo. The success of an air show, of course, hinges on much more than footfalls and spectacular aerial displays. By all accounts, with 35 per cent more companies participating over last time, some key announcements and important deals, things on the business side seemed to be on a roll. According to reports, a record $5 billion worth of deals, straddling both military and civil aviation, were signed at the show, with a large part of the order book originating from Saudi Arabia. Work on Bahrain airport&rsquos swanky new terminal is on track as are Gulf Air&rsquos expansion plans (which include India). Organised in association with Farnborough International, the Bahrain Air Show is well on its way to becoming the air show of choice in the Middle East.

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