Air Force ready for Children’s Day air shows

The Royal Thai Air Force will continue to organize air shows at several airbases across the country on the National Children’s Day this Saturday (Jan 13) and will put emphasis on safety measure to avoid a repeat of last year’s air accident when a Swedish-made Gripen aircraft crashed, killing its pilot in Hat Yai.

RTAF spokesman Air Vice Marshal Pongsak Semachai said Thursday (Jan 11) that pilots participating in the air shows had been training with F16 fighter planes for the air show to be demonstrated at the Air Wing 6 of Don Mueang airport on Saturday.

The F16 fighters will exhibit air combat and air attack, he said, adding that the AU-23 aircraft will demonstrate coloured smoke whereas EC-725 helicopters and Gripen jets will display flypast.

AVM Pongsak said all the pilots participating in the air shows are 100 percent fit for their task, but they had been told to use their judgement to stop the shows if they find the weather conditions not good enough.

He also pleaded with spectators not to bring balloons into the air exhibition grounds which could disrupt the air shows while drones are prohibited within 9-km radius of the airports or airbases where the shows are being conducted.

Regarding the Gripen aircraft’s crash at Hat Yai airbase during an air show on National Children’s Day last year, AVM Pongsak said the investigation concluded that the accident was caused by pilot spatial disorientation.

Squadron Leader Dilokrith Patthawee was killed in the air show tragedy on Jan 14 last year.