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PAF s' Aerobatics Profile
The Biggest Yet
Two years later, the PAF staged what was them declared to be its 'biggest yet' fire power demonstration, and which continues to hold that record to this day. Wing Commander Sadruddin's account of that display graphically captures the spectacular effect created by such assemblages of fire and steel.

"It was 9 March 1967 and over 200,000 people had turned up at Jamrud range to watch the PAF's biggest yet fire power demonstration and air display. In spite of the heavy traffic the Shah of Iran and the President of Pakistan arrived right on time to inspect a smartly turned-out guard of honour. Against the dark-hued background of the Khyber Pass and Hindu Kush mountains was an array of multi-coloured targets which were painted to aid both the pilots and spectators; they consisted of tanks, trucks, aircraft, a radar installation, a fuel depot, a camp and wood/tin foil panels.

"H hour had arrived and an expectant hush fell over the crowd as the commentator announced the first item. The show was to open with a supersonic run by 2 F-104s. To the right, low over the hills near Warsak, could be seen two wisps of smoke which rapidly enlarged into two dots and then suddenly the smoke disappeared; for now the F-104s had engaged afterburners to go supersonic. An uncannily silent approach and then a massive double sonic boom as the two aircraft rocketed past the stands at about 200 feet and pulled up. The F-104s were well into their climb before the ear-splitting roar of the afterburners hit the audience; a moment later the aircraft disappeared into the clouds. It was an impressive opening.

"Overwhelming fire power was the theme of the events which followed. Four Sabres carrying 28 rockets each and led by Wing Commander Sajjad Haider pulled up in front of the stands and entered a steady dive maintaining box formation. Half way down, 112 rockets were released simultaneously; they completely smothered the target with deafening multiple explosions. Fire enveloped the mock encampment and a thick column of black smoke rose to a height of 1,000 feet.

"A shrill whine from behind, and 4 T-37s appeared to display formation aerobatics. The team was led by Wing Commander Rashid Rehman and performed loops and rolls close and low in front of the audience. The T-37 was eminently suited for this event because of its good maneuverability and relatively slow speed allowing the aerobatics to be presented in a small piece of sky right in front of the spectators. The highlight of the sequence was a clover leaf maneuver which looked very impressive indeed.

"The black smoke from the flaming encampment had barely cleared when 4 F-104s came in for a straight-in strafing attack against 2 trucks. The Vulcan cannon of the lead aircraft roared (literally the sound this 4,000 rounds per minute gun makes) and flames spurted from the first truck which was set alight; the second truck was also hit by the next aircraft in the firing sequence. The second planned attack was carried out only for the spectacle because both the allotted targets were already ablaze.

"Very soon, 2 F-104s flown by Squadron Leader Middlecoat and Hakimullah screamed in from behind to perform synchronized aerobatics. As one aircraft performed in front and went out of view vertically, the other would appear low from the opposite direction. One aircraft was thus in view almost all the time, which would have been extremely difficult with a single aircraft because of the F-104s large radius of maneuver at high speeds. Slow rolls, inverted runs, vertical rolls along with flashing speeds and the thunder-clap of supersonic runs were the highlights of this item.
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