All eyes at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix over the weekend were, momentarily, diverted from the track prior to the race start when Etihad Airways Airbus A380 A6-APC, accompanied by seven Aermacchi MB-339 jets from the United Arab Emirates’ air display team Al Fursan, conducted a spectacular low pass over the main straight at the Yas Marina Circuit.
The aircraft thrilled spectators just before the the last race of the 2016 Formula 1 season got underway, flying at 900 feet and 210 knots over the start-finish line, Etihad said in a statement, with chief pilot Captain Ali Al Jabri at the controls.
“It’s an honour for our flight crew to be selected to take part in the fly past alongside the UAE’s display team and be a part of the spectacular event that is the F1 race,” Captain Al Jabri said.
“The weekend is a showpiece event for Abu Dhabi and provides a huge opportunity to demonstrate our aircraft to an audience of billions.
“We’ve conducted similar fly pasts in previous years, and based on the many positive comments we hear from people, we know they take it away as an abiding memory of the event.”
Captain Al Jabri thanked everyone involved in helping plan for the fly past, which has been a regular feature of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
“Safety is obviously of major importance to us when flying the aircraft so we’ve been working alongside the display team and practicing the fly past over the last few weeks,” he said.
“Many of us in the Etihad Airways crew have been involved in previous fly pasts but we couldn’t achieve it without the support of the Al Fursan display team, the military, air traffic control and the airport, so we can give people a spectacle that they will remember for years to come.”
Etihad posted a highlights video of the fly past on its YouTube channel:
Lewis Hamilton won what was a tense final race of the season. However, it was not enough to overtake Nico Roseberg, whose second placed finish at Abu Dhabi was enough for him to claim his first Formula 1 world title.