2016 Abu Dhabi Air Expo 2016

The 4th edition of the biennial Air Expo was held as usual in March at Al Bateen airport, and was unfortunately badly affected by some quite severe storm weather this year. Planning on a visit on the final day of the show on Thursday 10th, this was very fortunate following the cancellation of the first two days, and a late decision to go ahead on the third day after a big clean up effort to make the site suitable for the event. During the storm on the 8th, Ultralight A6-XJM was blown into Royal Jet BBJ1 A6-DFR. The Ultralight was then moved in to a hangar, while the BBJ was taken out of the static for minor repairs, before being brought back in for display on the 10th.

Due to the weather, several aircraft had either been put off from attending, or had departed early, so despite the final day going ahead, it was with a smaller static display than planned. Also, the small flying display was also lacking the usual Al Fursan team or any other UAE military involvement, though at least the pair of Etihad Flight College Extra 330LT's A6-XTR and A6-XTS were nice to see, looking smart in the airline colours. One bonus was the Red Bull Air Race being held in Abu Dhabi over the weekend ahead, with the race aircraft operating from here for the event at the corniche, providing a fairly regular flow coming and going on practice sessions. In addition, the usual resident helicopter movements were again a welcome addition, with UAE Navy Puma's, Abu Dhabi Police AW139's and Bell 412EP's, along with the oil industry related choppers of Aerogulf and FAS (Falcon Aviation Services). In addition to these, 'new' this year were the Dash 8-400Q's of FAS, operating from the small terminal here, with A6-FLA and A6-FLQ both brought in to service in 2015.

A fairly mundane, small static display then, with just a few highlights. In addition to the BBJ, other 'large biz' was Al Jaber's A318CJ A6-AJC, while Gulfstream brought their usual 450 and 650 demonstrators, and as at the recent Bahrain show, Qatar Exec brought their new 650 A7-CGA. Dassault brought fairly new Falcon 7X demonstrator F-HIPK, while Embraer brought Legacy 500 demonstrator N895EE. Highlight though, was probably another Embraer, with nice DWC based Phenom 100 UR-ALA of Blue Angel Jets belonging to Odessa based South Airlines. Of the smaller stuff, new PC-12 HB-FQW (1604) had GI Aviation titles, along with registration A6-GIA under the left wing, while also of interest was Thumamah based Stemme S10 motor-glider HZ-SBS. This belongs to Prince Sultan bin Salman, who has previously brought Cessna 208 HZ-SBS3 to the show. Finally, a few other airport movements were Gulf 4SP N478GS and Bell 429 GlobalRanger demonstrator C-FNFO (both departed), along with based Rotana Jet A319CJ A6-RRJ, Falcon Aviation Services Gulf 450 A6-FLH and EMB-135BJ A6-FLL as well as SR22 N239FS (resident since September).

Many thanks to Benjamin Jance IV and Najat Farhat at Four Communications for their kind assistance with arranging the media access to the show.

All article images can be found in the respective Photo Jornal gallery.