Reach for the skies with the island's annual celebration of aviation
Time Out Bahrain staff
Bahrain International Airshow is back at Sakhir Airbase from January 16-18 and, though it’s primarily a place for the international aviation community to meet and do business, this year the public side is bigger and better than ever with a full flying display every day and loads of attractions for the whole family.
Here’s what you can expect:
Aerodium Get the experience of skydiving without leaving the ground, well almost. The Aerodium Technologies vertical wind-tunnel allows you to enjoy open-air flying minus the plane. Beginners fly up to four or five metres above the safety net supervised by instructors. Professionals can make it up to 18 metres in open air.
Arts & crafts Kids can get their creative juices flowing with workshops featuring collage, paint by numbers and more under the expert guidance of the guys from Studio Ceramics.
3D street artist One of the world’s best 3D street artists, will be showcasing his talents with stunning lifelike creations so real you’ll have trouble believing your eyes. 3D street art is drawn onto the pavement giving an incredibly real feeling so prepare for family snaps falling into a canyon or maybe even flying a World War II fighter plane!
Heritage Village Take the opportunity to experience some of Bahrain’s rich culture and history with displays of arts and crafts from around the island and the region from ladies in traditional dress sewing and weaving to musical performances and stuff for kids to try.
Mad Science The Mad Science team make a welcome return to the Bahrain International Airshow with a fascinating array of science-related workshops and presentations that will keep the kids (and parents) entertained while learning something new at the same time.
Retail Village Don’t forget your checkbook as there’ll be a retail village will hosting a variety of outlets from official show souvenirs and books to perfumes and other goodies.
Space Zone There’s an amazing interactive exhibit from the UK’s National Space Centre in Leicester, England, including a planetarium featuring a 360-degreee full dome cinema experience showcasing inter-stellar movies that will educate and inform.
Showground There’ll also be kids’ rides, henna tattoos, facepainting, giant inflatable slides, bouncy castles, stilt walkers, zorbing and more plus a food section with hot and cold stalls and an indoor restaurant.
Seating There’s a tiered grandstand offering a great view of the flying displays as well as shaded areas and outdoor seating.
Parking All parking is at the Bahrain International Circuit with complimentary shuttle buses operating to Sakhir. There is no public parking on site.
Tickets Daily tickets are priced BD7 for adults and BD3 for under 16s. They’re available from Batelco outlets across the island. Visit www.bahraininternationalairshow.com for locations and opening times.
Those magnificent men (and women) in their flying machines Each day of the show features a five-hour airborne visual spectacular. Whether you’re an aircraft enthusiast or just a casual visitor, you cannot fail to be impressed by the skill and daring of the pilots and the sheer number of aircraft taking to the skies from aerobatic display teams to military aircraft historic and modern and there’s grandstand seating, so everyone gets a bird’s eye view. Participants confirmed to date: • The Royal Jordanian Falcons • Al Fursan Aerobatic Team • The SWIP Team • The Breitling WingWalkers • Red Devils Parachute Team • UAE Mirage 2000 • UAE- F16 • Saudi Hawks • Russian Knights • French Rafale • DHL 757 • DHL Extra 200 & 300 • Spitfire • Gulf Air A330 • Gulf Air A320-200 ER • Gulfstream G550 • Gulfstream G650 • Mark Jefferies
The Bahrain Spitfire
One of the highlights of the show for aircraft and history buffs will be the chance to see a World War II Spitfire in action flying the colour scheme and registration of the original aircraft donated by Bahrain to the British Royal Air Force in 1940.
The plane was flown by Air Vice-Marshal (Flying Officer during the Battle of Britain) Francis David Stephen Scott-Malden.
His entry at ‘The Airmen’s Stories’ section of the Battle of Britain London Monument website reads: ‘Bearing the initials "S-M" below the cockpit and the legend "Bahrain", Scott-Malden's Spitfire W3632 - built at the Supermarine factory at Woolston, Hampshire - was a gift from the people of Bahrain, who had raised £15,000 to buy it.’
In his Bahrain plane, Scott-Malden led one of the Free Norwegian fighter squadrons leading three sorties in one day during the disastrous Deippe raid of August 1942.
Scott-Malden was later awarded the Distinguished Service Order and decorated by the King of Norway.
There'll be music and play for kids each morning of the show.
Then each day after the flying display, local favourite DJ Outlaw will be warming up the stage with his team so expect some seriously cool hip-hop with a very Arabic influence.
Once he's got the crowd going, there'll be Latino rhythms from Salsa Cubano playing the sounds of Cuba and South America from salsa to mamba and merengue and accompanied by some very funky dancing.