Wednesday, December 16, 2015

WORLD AIR GAMES 2015, DUBAI (UAE)

A few days ago, the WORLD AIR GAMES 2015 came to an end in Dubai. This 12 day event, I like to refer to as " mini Olympic Games for Aviation". "Athletes come from all corners of the globe, competing in a whole range of disciplines. 



The International Air Sports event is organised by the Federation Aéronautique Internationale  (FAI), an organisation which was started in 1905 in order to regulate the sport of flying. 

World Air Games 2015 Dubai

I must admit that even as a avid Aviation Geek, I wasn't very familiar with the event before it was coming to my home city of Dubai... 

Even though, the event is meant to be held every 4 years (like the Olympic Games), only a handful of editions have taken place; 1997 Turkey, Spain 2001 and Italy in 2009. Lets hope the 2015 World Air Games (WAG) will bring a change to that! 

The WAG consists of a large variety of competitions, from Aerobatics (powered and glider), Aeromodeling, Ballooning, Gliding, Helicopter, Microlight (trike and gyro), Skydiving to Paragliding. 

World Air Games 2015 Dubai

The core of the event was held at the Skydive Dubai Palm dropzone; an amazing  aircraft carrier like airstrip next to the manmade island Palm Jumeirah and just in front of high rise buildings of Dubai Marina. A more spectacular setting one can hardly dream of! 

World Air Games 2015 Dubai

However because of the wide range of competitions, some of them took also place at the Skydive Dubai desert campus, about 30-45min inland from the city center. Because of the different locations, it turns out hard to be able to follow all of the disciplines; one has to pretty much pick and choose at the start of the day.

World Air Games 2015 Dubai

The first few days were mainly concentrated around Aerobatics; both glider aerobatics, which I didn't have that much previous exposure with;


World Air Games 2015 Dubai

and the standard "powered" aerobatics, using high performance aircraft like the Extra 330SC and SBach's, 

World Air Games 2015 Dubai

Some top-class aerobatic pilots were competing in Dubai, such as FAI World Aerobatic Champion, Aude Lemordant, and Freestyle World Champion Robert Holland.

Skydiving had a wide range of disciplines, such as precision landing;

World Air Games 2015 Dubai

Distance swooping;

World Air Games 2015 Dubai

World Air Games 2015 Dubai

And of course free-fall disciplines such as 4-way Open, with the Belgian team "Haybusa" winning the competition! Congrats to my countrymen...



Microlights were competing along a pylon circuit in both the "Trike" class (Motorised Delta Planes);
World Air Games 2015 Dubai

World Air Games 2015 Dubai

And the Gyroplane class;
World Air Games 2015 Dubai

A very unfortunate accident happened during the competition on December 9th, just after 2pm, where one of the Dutch pilots (Arend van Randen) lost control (reason unknown for now), of his "borrowed" Gyroplane over the water.  My thoughts are with Arend and his family, and we are all hoping on a full medical recovery! The image below is of the crashed gyro, earlier that day, during an engine off landing with a different pilot as part of the competition. 

Post-editing: Unfortunately Arend lost his battle with life and passed away on Friday December 18, 2015.

World Air Games 2015 Dubai

It was probably the Ballooning competition that got most of the attention as more than 50 hot-air balloons took to the skies at different locations around Dubai, for several sunset and sunrise flights.  

World Air Games 2015 Dubai

World Air Games 2015 Dubai

Beside all the competitions, there were also a few "mini-airshows" just before sunset, with demo's of the UAE National jet team, Al Fursan;

World Air Games 2015 Dubai

The Breitling Wingwalkers;
World Air Games 2015 Dubai
World Air Games 2015 Dubai



Zoltan Veres with his Aerobatic team;

World Air Games 2015 Dubai



I'm very pleased to see more of the Aviation Sports to be promoted in the UAE; hopefully this is only the beginning of more to come!

All of my WORLD AIR GAMES 2015 images, can be found here

World Air Games 2015 Dubai

My photographic set-up for all of the images, consisted of a Fujifilm X-T1 body with the 50-140 lens + 1.4X Teleconverter and the X-T10 with the 18-135 lens. Something that worked very well and that I will also be using for the upcoming Al Ain Airshow in the UAE this week!

BJORN




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