Dubai: Al Fursan — The Knights, the UAE's new aerobatic team, put on a colourful first performance during the airshow.

Seven knights representing the seven emirates, dressed in black, delivered a flawless 22-minute display, the longest during the airshow.

"All seven black and gold-coloured planes executed manoeuvres so smoothly, and yet at a speed that left most spectators gasping and yet in awe," said a spectator.

They drew the UAE flag in the sky as the countdown for the celebrations of the 40th UAE National Day continues.

Spokesperson for the team, Rana Ali Al Daheri, told Gulf News that it was the team's first official appearance.

"These pilots are all fighters, led by Lieutenant Colonel Nasser Ahmad Al Obaidli, and whenever national duty calls, the aerobatic team will be ready to fly with expertise, sacrifice and commitment."

Lives on line

"Watching their fabulous show with Italian-manufactured Aeromacchi jets at the Dubai Airshow is for one to deduce what these well-trained men can do.

"The pilots, wearing combat boots and black astronaut overalls, are determined to show that they mean business when they put their lives on the line for the benefit of a cheering public."

She said that the national aerobatics team was established under the auspices of General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

"It all started in early 2008 through the Al Ain Airshow. The fact that a national team representing the UAE did not exist was the primary motive behind the UAE government's decision to develop this team," she said.

It took 16 months of intensive training to enable them to put on such an awesome performance.

Rana added the UAE pilots were selected from the best candidates.

She also described how the team underwent tough tests and training under the supervision of Brigadier staff pilot Khalid Omar Bahussain, Director of Training for the Air Force and Air Defence.

The name Al Fursan reflects the values of nobleness and supremacy in the mission of this squadron. The team's colours signify the country's black ‘gold' (oil) while the gold colour represents the desert sand.

Al Fursan, Rana added, will put on performances during National Day cele-brations in several emirates. Moreover, the team will also soon be participating in one of the forthcoming airshows in the region.