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PAF s' Aerobatics Profile
Awesome Spectacle

The line up comprised 128 aircraft; 16 T-37s, 6 C-130s, 16 B-57s, 16 T-33s, 64 Sabres and 10 F-104s. Selected fly past speeds ranged from the T-37's 190 to the F-104's 480 knots, and the safe way to sequence the waves would have been to lead with the fastest. This would, however, have caused a disappointing anticlimax with the slowest at the end. So the order was reversed, posing a distinct overtake problem if the interval between waves was to be kept reasonably short. This interval was fixed at a nominal 20 seconds and heights ranging from 500 to 1,500 ft AGL were allotted for safety. In the event, meticulous planning and precise timing paid off handsomely and the result was that 128 aircraft converged over the parade ground virtually at the same time creating an almost fearsome effect upon the awestruck spectators. After the fly-past the C-in-C, Air Marshal Asghar Khan had this to say:

"I am writing to say how pleased I was with the high standard that the PAF exhibited that morning. There are few fly pasts anywhere in the world where such a large number of aircraft are required to go past in such a short time bracket and the fact that the PAF was able to do this with such ease and confidence, with only one rehearsal and that too not at full strength, is indicative of a high standard of professionalism. I know that a great deal of planning must have gone into preparing for what was a very impressive and successful operation and I congratulate all those who took part in it on their performance."

One of the inspiring precedents set by Air Marshal Asghar Khan with regard to the PAF's annual fly pasts was for the Chief to lead the fly past himself in one or another of his air force's contemporary combat aircraft. Ever since the early 1960's a succession of chiefs has followed this excellent example by leading the Pakistan Day fly past in F-86s, B-57s, F-6s, F-104s, Mirages and most recently F-16s.

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