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The Meteorology Department at the Civil Aviation Affairs expected a rather cold weather today with some clouds at times. The forecast was for maximum temperature of 20°C and minimums around 15°C.

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Where? Sakhir Airbase, Bahrain
When? 19-21/01/2012

While being quite cold for the sunny Middle East, from the European point-of-view this was actually not too bad for an average week-end in the middle of January – and thus an easy decision to pack the stuff and head out for the first airshow of the year, the Bahrain International Airshow 2012.
In the end it was quite different and the weather had to offer a little bit of everything: from the hot dessert sun to drizzling rain and even a sandstorm. I did not get boring during this relatively small three day event!

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The same goes to say for the participating aircraft. Whereas the majority of aircraft - and the money - were to be found within the civil aircraft market, and here especially business aviation, the military jets were of course also worth having a look. Quality, not quantity, was the word of the day in this sector.

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The big surprise for sure was the participation of the Russian Knights. Announced to be 'withdrawn from service' after last year's MAKS airshow, the team seems to the re-born and in strength. It arrived at Bahrain with for of their Suchoi Su-27 jets in the team's colours and an Il-76 as support aircraft. Though the start of their 25 minutes long display was a bit slow, the formation flying of the 4 big jets was perfectly executed. Once the split was done and the two solos continued the performance, it got a lot faster.

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Much more action was in the air and many crossings as well as effective use of the afterburner are memorable. After one crossing for example both jets pulled up vertically, did the famous Cobra manoeuvre synchronously, descended and the next crossing followed directly afterwards!

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The only drawback however was the fact, that the team did do their spectacular massive release of flares only during the rehearsal on the day before the actual show started. The reasons for lack of doing so also during the event remain unknown...

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