Flexing muscles in the sky, and below at Dubai Airshow
If you are going to the high-voltage Dubai Airshow, the most sensible way to reach the venue would be to take the metro till Ibn Batuta, from where you could board one of the free feeder buses and be at the venue 40 minutes later. On the way, you will pass through the site of the new airport — Dubai World Central-Al Maktoum International Airport.
This, however, is not a commute you want to undertake if your interest in aviation is half-baked. For one, the traffic, especially on the way back, will delay any plans you might have for the rest of the day.
The striking part about the Dubai Airshow is how well laid out it all is, though some visitors Khaleej Times spoke to complained about the limited number of eating joints and coffee outlets.
Thomas Tanury, the chairman of Tanury Industries in Rhode Island, is visiting Dubai for the fifth time. He is at the part of the show where sketches and watercolour paintings of planes are on display on separate easels. On being asked about the most impressive part about the airshow, he says, “The diversity of people is unbelievable. I haven’t met one person for whom language is a barrier.”
He, however, points out to a problem at the venue: the part where you have to wait in line to get food because the options are limited.
The large hall where Tanury stands is carpeted in blue. The whole area smells subtly of wood varnish and surface polish. The majority of people who whizz past are males, mostly in business suits, and they seems to be equipped with stroller carry bags, as if they arrived here directly from the airport. Many are from the military, their uniforms indicate.
Inside the hall, small models of planes tend to draw a crowd. Men — always mostly men — stop and pose for pictures beside a KA-32A11BC firefighting aircraft at Oboronprom, a Russian airspace company. Some pose next to the Dassault stand that has on display models of Falcon–2000 LX, while others stop by the Lockeed Martin stand for similar photo-op sessions.
The hands-down biggest crowd-puller, though, is the aerobatic display — the primary reason that most actually venture this far into Jebel Ali free zone for. The vibe changes the moment you step outside the exhibition area to where the planes in synchrony are circling overhead, releasing jet-clouds of orange, pink and blue in their trail. There’s music in the background from advertisements shown on giant LCD screens. There is a breeze in the air and flying technique of acrobatic pilots to marvel at. If for anything you should make the trek to the venue, it should be to witness the adrenaline-pumping stunts of these daredevils.