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Monday, October 26, 2009

Ex- Eastern Bridge: IAF pilots fly unhindered over Oman sky

Thumrait (Oman) Oct 25 - ANI: The Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots who are participating in the joint air force exercise Eastern Bridge with Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) here completed their local familiarization sorties on Sunday ahead of the tactical part of the air exercise.

The 16 IAF pilots of Flaming Arrows and Cobras the two Jaguar Squadrons, based in Gorkhpur Air Force Base are far removed from Poor visibility, birds, obstructions and other restrictions usually making fkying pretty easy.

But for Jaguar pilots, low- flying remains raison dtre of their lethality.

According to IAF, the local flying area around RAFO Thumrait airbase is a flatbed desert with hardened surface with unlimited visibility. Birds, if sighted, would normally be a welcome sight here unlike elsewhere, but are rarely encountered by thepilots. 

Most of the pilots participating in the exercise describe the low flying experience as -exhilarating. Flying 500 feet above ground level seemed like flying almost mid-level felt somepilots, having done unhindered low -flying. 

The IAF pilots usually have their desert-flying experience around Jaisalmer and other airbases in Rajasthan. In many ways, the flying environment at Oman is not too different, but visibility is certainly markedly superior here felt the IAFpilots. 

However, at Oman the landscape changes rapidly from small mountains in the north, to flat terrain around Thumrait that changes over to coastal landscape in the south near Salalah, about 65 Kilometers south of Thumrait.

The sprawling flying infrastructure at the RAFO Thumrait also impressed the IAF contingent. 

According to a senior RAFO officer just three weeks ago the runway at Thumrait has been resurfaced, which reinforces RAFOs commitment to the first-ever joint airexercise with IAF. 

Both the IAF and the RAFO said the flight safety would remain as a paramount for them. - ANI

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