UAE’s Al Fursan to return to Europe for first time in six years

The UAE’s national aerobatic team, Al Fursan, will return to Europe this year, with displays at the Royal International Air Tattoo.

Photo: Tom Wittevrongel

The team, which flies seven attractively-painted black and gold MB-339s, last flew in Europe in 2017. They have now been confirmed as a participant at the Royal International Air Tattoo 2023 on the 14th-16th July at RAF Fairford, and could yet add further European dates to their calendar.

Founded in 2010, Al Fursan made their European debut with a visit to the UK in 2012. They returned to Europe several times, visiting Switzerland in 2014, followed by Russia and Slovakia in 2017. They have also performed in China, Malaysia and Morocco. Thanks to training by both the Frecce Tricolori and Patrouille de France, their show has proved popular with audiences thanks to its mix of graceful formation aerobatics and extremely dynamic solo manoeuvres, with the latter category including the tailslide, lomcevak and “crazy flight”. They are perhaps most famous for their “UAE DNA Roll”, which sees two aircraft performing dirty barrel rolls around the rest of the formation, while the group trail red, white, black and green smoke.

This year will probably be one of the last opportunities for a European audience to see the team fly the MB-339, as they are due to upgrade to a new aircraft (most likely the Hongdu L-15 Falcon) in the mid-2020s.