Friday, December 10, 2010

Airshow Practice in Manila

MANILA, Philippines—If you see military planes flying overhead, don't be alarmed, be proud.
The Philippine Air Force on Thursday laughed off fears of an aerial invasion after it was deluged by inquiries about sightings of fighter and trainer planes in Metro Manila skies.
PAF spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Miguel Ernesto Okol said it was just a dress rehearsal of sorts for Air Force planes for their "flyby," or ceremonial flight, as part of a military parade during the Armed Forces of the Philippines anniversary later this month.
"When we see those planes, we should be proud rather than scared," Okol said told the Inquirer in telephone interview. "I wish when the public sees these aircraft, they will just say 'I'm proud. That's our Air Force'."
It is, Okol said, an accomplishment already that the woefully under-equipped and under-funded Air Force possesses these aircraft to begin with.
Between 24 and 30 planes and choppers of various types will be joining the flyby, from S-211s to OV-10s Broncos to Huey rescue helicopters and a pair of brand-new SF-260s recently acquired by the PAF.
Rehearsals for the parade started this week and will continue just before the Air Force Day on December 21, the anniversary of the AFP, Okol said.
"There's nothing unusual about this. Maybe people just aren't used to seeing these aircraft flying about," he said.
He said the PAF had gotten several calls from worried people and members of the press since the flyby practices began.
Okol said the PAF had coordinated with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and had secured air space clearance from the ground controllers for the rehearsal flights.
"All pilots have been informed of minimum altitude requirements," as well as standard protocols of keeping apart by least 500 feet, and staying aboveground at least 1,000 feet from the highest point, Okol said.
He said the flyby was "not a military exercise," but a display of PAF aircraft as well as the skills of Air Force pilots, who would be flying in sync during the parade.
"It's going to be a showcase of what the Philippine Air Force is all about," Okol said.

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