On Thursday morning 16 January, the first day of the BIAS, we were up early to be prepared for any lengthy formality check at the entrance of the airport. It took some time to enter the airport, but most were at the static around eight o’clock. Just behind the checkpoint we were greeted by a Typhoon of the Royal Saudi Air Force, and next to it a brand new electronic ERJ of the Indian Air Force. For the rest quite a few machines of the local air force, a large US military compound and several business jets. The flight line was dominated by a number of demo teams, Al Fursan, Saudi Hawk and the Russian Knights. Other demo aircraft were RAF Typhoons and UAE F-16s and Mirage 2000s. Outside this area, accessible only to dealers and the press, there was a part for the general public on the south side of the field. There three helicopters were on display.
The air show was opened by paratroopers who jumped from a Blackhawk, followed by a few light aircraft, and just after one o’clock followed by, for many, the highlight of the show, a Gulf Air Airbus A330 followed by four F- 5s and four F-16s from the RBAF. After that every day in alternating sequence, the demo teams, the UAE fighters and after three o’clock a fly-by of a USAF B-1B and F-22A. Around 5 pm, when dusk had already set in, the light aircraft were equipped with lights and fireworks for an evening show.
Because of the position of the sun photography was challenging at midday and got worse after that. The tour guide went on a recce the first day to find a good place on the far side of the airfield. This was found after some time. In the meantime, the guests had their taxi shots and we could prepare for the return to the hotel. Near the hotel many nice restaurants could be found and it was also possible to enjoy a nice cool beer.