By Raynald C Rivera
Fancy something intrepid this coming year? The sixth edition of Al Khor Fly-In promises a chance for the daring to experience microlight flight -- the highlight of the two-day event which aviation enthusiasts in Qatar have been looking forward to.
“We witnessed long queues during the last edition of the show with many still wishing to try the air tours, but we could not accommodate everyone, so we are finding ways to make sure more aviation enthusiasts would be given the opportunity to try out the tours,” Abdullah Al Hajj, Organizing Manager of Al Khor Fly-In, told The Peninsula.
The success of the previous edition was no surprise as flying enthusiasts were treated to a thrilling ten-minute ride on a private plane for a minimal fee. Unlike in large aircraft, flying in small planes provides an exciting experience to passengers, who can get a bird’s-eye view of the landscape below.
“Flying in a microlight provides a different feeling compared to riding a normal plane. You can feel the wind on your face and you can see clearly the beautiful scenery below,” said Al Hajj.
To accommodate more people, Al Hajj said they were expecting five to nine planes for the tours, including German-made autogiros, French-made microlight aircraft, a fixed-wing aeroplane from Italy and an American-made Cessna.
“All the planes that would be utilised for the tours are based in Qatar,” he said.
Forty planes from various countries are coming for the two-day event.
“We expect more people and aeroplanes participating this year. Around 40 planes from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have already confirmed participation for the event,” Al Hajj said.
Last year, more than 30 small and light aircraft participated in the event, which attracted around 7,000 visitors during its two-day run.
The participating planes will be arriving on January 17 for the show, which will take place on January 18 and 19 at the Al Khor Airfield.
“Other than the 40 aeroplanes, there would also be radio-controlled model aeroplanes which would participate,” said Al Hajj, adding they were expecting new planes to take part in the event.
Lunched in 2008, the Al Khor Fly-In is a show organized by owners of light aircraft in Qatar to introduce aviation as a sport and hobby to the youth and the general public. It also serves as a get-together for pilots in Qatar and the other GCC countries.
Apart from providing thrill and entertainment, the event is quite educational, as the visitors get a close look at a diverse range of aircraft, from jets and propeller-driven aircraft to microcopters and autogiros.
The visitors will also get to speak to professional pilots who would be available to answer queries about their planes.
Being held under the patronage of Qatar Civil Aviation Authority, the event will see participation by the Ministry of Interior, the Internal Security Force (Lekhwiya), Qatar Aeronautical College and local flying teams.
The event’s gold sponsors include Qatar Airways, Qafco, RasGas, The Seashore Group, Barwa, and Al Misnad Transport, while the silver sponsors are Al Jaber Trading and Contracting and Venture Gulf Rent-a-Car.
In view of the success the event enjoyed last year, the organisers said they expected more visitors this time.
“Last year was a big success. Based on the feedback we received, all visitors enjoyed the event, especially the trips, which had a high demand, so we really expect more people would be coming,” said Al Hajj.
The sixth Al Khor Fly-In would be open to the public from 9am to 4.30pm on January 18 and 19 at the Al Khor Airfield, which is located 31km north of Doha to the east of the Al Khor coastal road.The Peninsula