The Saudi Arabian Experience

My wife and I spent five years in Saudi Arabia, I was working for British Aerospace Systems as a flying instructor on the Hawk Mk-65 jet trainer teaching Royal Saudi Air Force pilots to be fighter pilots. I have often been asked what we thought of our experience living and working there. To be honest my wife and I loved it, the Saudi people were very welcoming and although they dressed differently and observed a different faith they were nice people. They had the same problems as western families dealing with their mortgage, working and bringing up the children. Mind you they usually had a lot more children than the average western family, brave indeed.

Most aviation enthusiasts ask me what the flying was like in Saudi Arabia, well it was amazingly spectacular. We started out living in Dhahran [across from Bahrain] and were there for two years. The two Hawk squadrons were then re-positioned in Tabuk in the far west of the country where we remained until we left in 2002 having been age retired. The flying in Tabuk was truly the most incredible that I have ever experienced.

I have uploaded a video of low flying there to show what the landscape was really like. Words cannot explain what this video shows. Note that desert trees grow no higher than about 3-4 meters so try to guess the height that the aircraft gets to. In amongst the footage is what came to be known as the “Star Wars run”, see if you can pick it out. I’m not sure who took the footage as it was done after we left the country. It goes for around 13 minutes, I recommend that you watch it through to the end you will be amazed. The small pointed thing in the bottom of the shot is the pitot probe of the Hawk. ENJOY!

Posted on April 27, 2016 in Phil's Blog Posts

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About the Author

Phil Frawley is a human who was truly born to fly. As a young boy he spent countless hours building model airplanes and dreaming of the day when he would get to control an aircraft. Phil’s hard work, determination and perseverance finally paid off when, after five years as an aircraft technician, he was accepted into the Royal Australian Air Force 92 Pilots Course in July 1974. After a career spanning more than 49 years, mostly as a fighter pilot, he is now retired but still flys the L-39 Albatros taking people on adventure flights. He still holds a Guinness World Record for having been the oldest active fighter pilot of all time, a proud achievement.
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