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Glider aerobatics: Bertossio takes gold for Italy

IMG 6274"You're part of the aircraft, you feel it in your skin." Italian Luca Bertossio, 25, is talking about why he swapped motorised aerobatics for gliders after his win in the aerobatic gliding competition.

"With a motor you always have an excuse, but you don't need it. Two wings are all you need to fly in four dimensions. You have to get it right first time. Even your landing. You can't go around for a second try," he explained.

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Swooping win for USA

Screen Shot_2015-12-05_at_12.22.14One of the most spectacular events in the FAI World Air Games finished on Friday December 4. Classical canopy Piloting, or Swooping, is a fast-paced, beautiful discipline that combines nerves of steel with the finesse and grace of a gymnast. 

The day saw a 1,2 win for the USA when Curt Bartholemew battled it out with teammate Nick Batsch for the lead. Bartholomew seized the day and seized the win, while Nick Batsch took silver and the UAE’s Cornelia Mihai took bronze.

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Gege is here to win

You'd be forgiven for thinking 15-year-old Janejira Chuynoey is here to support a family member in the paramotoring competition.

image1At just 53kg, the petite Thai girl looks like she can barely lift the 30kg Polini Thor paramotor next to her. But when its time to gear up for the start, the smiley school girl's eyes narrow into competitive focus as she pulls on her helmet.

Chuynoey, or Gege to her friends, may be the youngest competitor at the FAI World Air Games in Dubai, but don't be fooled by her playful smile, sparkly mobile phone or cutely coiffed ponytail. She's here to win.

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A view from the FAI Environmental Commission


22840829084 13feb2610f_kWriting about environment in a huge, desert city born out of oil and gas history can be a challenging task - if you only look backwards.

There is no doubt that the level of comfort and the fantastic infrastructures here come at a price. The high level of fossil energy needed to start the process and run the day-to-day operations cannot be viewed lightly.

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Nicole Schmidt sorts the men from the boys

imgo copyNicole Schmidt from Germany, has been flying paragliders for 11 years. For the last six she's been performing aerobatic tricks, or "acro". It's a discipline very few women attempt, and this year Schmidt, 35, won the female World Championship.

We found out what it takes to be the only female acro pilot jumping out of the helicopter here at the FAI World Air Games.

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Castles of the sky: airship racing in Dubai

23509499765 8475ec57a4_zLike a cross between a giant bouncy castle and a dinosaur, airships are one of the least well-known craft taking to the skies here at the FAI World Air Games in Dubai. 

There are only four of these specialised aircraft competing, and you have to be up early to catch them. Lithuania, Russia, Poland and Sweden are all taking part. 

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An unforgettable start to the FAI World Air Games

23133288149 527c88f702_zThe FAI World Air Games officially kicked off with a bang last night, as the 3,000-strong audience at the Opening Ceremony were wowed with an extravaganza of dancing, zip-line performances and fireworks.

Dropping in on the open-air stage, performers dressed as skydivers and paramotor pilots flew over the crowd suspended on wires, taking the astounded audience on a theatrical flight over glorious Dubai.

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New format for microlight and gyrocopter racing

23491864285 a05a81c3d8_zA radically new approach to flexwing microlight and gyrocopter competitions - that gets spectators closer to the action - has been launched at the FAI World Air Games in Dubai. And the first heats got under way near the Desert Dropzone today (December 3).

UK champion Mark Fowler, flying a P&M Pegasus QuikR, lead after the first flexwing microlight heat, in which pilots were given special dispensation to turn their craft at 90-degree bank angles around a course made up from a series of inflatable pylons positioned in the dunes. "We've never flown bank angles this high so close to the ground before," he said.

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Anyone for wing walking?

23491367485 c64c85423a_zFancy standing on a biplane wing as it soars through the air? A few lucky visitors to the FAI World Air Games got to do just that.

The courageous individuals, who tried out wing walking for the first time while flying over the sand dunes around the Skydive Dubai Desert Dropzone, were in the capable hands of the Breitling wing walking team.

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Wing walking girls steal hearts in Dubai

imgoBreitling Wingwalkers Marie Killerby and Sarah Tanner left more than one heart aflutter yesterday when they headed skywards to perform their synchronised wing-walking routine. Their high-flying show, reminiscent of those put on by 1920s barnstormers, was charming and breathtaking at the same time.

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Heat one of the Aerobatics contest kicks off the Airshow

23440139276 518328b3e3_zThe screaming roar of 330-horsepower Lycoming engines filled the skies above the Palm shorefront in Dubai today (December 2), as the first round of the Aerobatic competition got underway.

Eight so-called “unlimited pilots”, the creme de la creme of the aerobatics scene, have been selected from around the world to compete at the FAI World Air Games. Their planes, which cost around €400,000 each, were shipped here specially for the event, and their aerial battle could be seen and heard echoing all along the coast.

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