Abbasi becomes first PM to fly in F-16 aircraft
LAHORE: It is interesting to note the immense interest with which world leaders have experienced the inside of the cockpit of a fighter jet.
Jordan’s King Abdullah has been reportedly personally involved in executing air strikes against Islamic State’s positions. Being a king, he has a reputation of being a free spirit. Videos, pictures released show Abdullah wearing a body-fit flying suit while some also picture him from within the cockpit of an F-16, wearing a microphone and working his gadgets. Two pictures from the stock depict his keenness in the endeavour.
Second on the list is George H.W. Bush, president from 1988 to 1992 and one of the youngest naval aviators of World War II, who has the most impressive record of America’s pilot-presidents.
A baby-faced George H.W. Bush (as shown in 1943-44, below) flew the Grumman TBM Avenger in the Pacific. Half a lifetime later, he would land in the Oval Office.
Next in the list of veteran politicians is Ian Smith, prime minister of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) from 1965 to 1979, who was based in Egypt in October 1943 when he crashed on takeoff in his Hawker Hurricane. He broke facial bones, a leg, and a shoulder, and bowed his spine. A picture from one of his more successful flights:
Moving on (we see below) we have the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, graduated from the country’s military academy at age 20 in 1949. He entered the air academy and took the standard curriculum of flying, along with scientific and technical studies. With a bachelor’s degree in aviation science, he flew fighters, then bombers.
Finally, on the list, we have Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Saturday, who visited the newly established Airpower Center of Excellence (ACE) at an operational air base of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF).
The prime minister also flew an exercise training mission in an F-16 fighter aircraft, belonging to the No 9 Squadron, becoming the first ever prime minister to participate in an air force sortie.
The newly established facility is a premier institution which has been equipped with state of the art facilities and infrastructure. Besides training PAF personnel, this institute would also train the combat crew of friendly air forces by conducting multinational, training exercises.
The premier was also briefed on the ongoing exercise Saffron Bandit and was informed that the first ever multinational exercise will be held in October and would have participation from personnel from 19 air forces.
Air Chief Sohail Aman, who had earlier received the prime minister, briefed him over PAF’s contribution to nation building and in the field of education.
Abbasi also took a keen interest in the Aviation City project, established in Kamra to bring an innovative approach in the field of aviation. The project would focus mainly on research and development initiatives.