Captain Mohammed Ahmed Al Tamimi, reveals the behind-the-scenes preparation that goes into the title sponsor’s incredible race day flypast

Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE 11 December, 2020: One of the most popular elements of the FORMULA 1 ETIHAD AIRWAYS ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX is the spectacular low-level flypast over the start line at Yas Marina Circuit just before the season-ending finale race begins.

Despite the challenges posed to F1® this year, the 2020 edition will be no different as the title sponsor Etihad Airways will again be displaying its Boeing 787 Dreamliner to the thousands of staff working within the biosphere at the track and the millions of people watching around the world a few minutes before lights out on the grid.

Captain Mohammed Ahmed Al Tamimi, 38, will be the pilot in command of the Etihad Airways fly-by. He reveals that competition to be selected as the flight deck leader is very tough. “There are several requirements and criteria that are a must for you to take part in this amazing event,” he said. “For example, training, seniority, minimum flying hours, and experience. I’m very proud to have had this opportunity.”

Having flown for the UAE’s national flag carrier for 15 years, Captain Al Tamimi says that once he was selected to represent Etihad Airways, they started work on preparing for the event three months in advance, and practised the stunt for almost two months.

“Preparation starts early and takes a lot of effort and teamwork. The planning involves many different stakeholders, including the GCAA, air traffic control, the training department, the flight operations division and other concerned teams.

“Training consists of three rehearsals in the simulators in Etihad’s Training Academy, and one rehearsal flight. I have also previously taken part in the Formula 1 flypast experience,” he explained.

All that hard work will pay off when Captain Al Tamimi and his crew zoom over the Circuit’s start line this Sunday at 220 knots indicated airspeed, and 600 feet above the ground, with the total elapsed flight time taking almost 1 hour and 15 minutes.

For any young people wishing to follow in his flying footsteps, he offers some simple advice: the most important aspect of a career in aviation is to really love the job. “I enjoy every moment flying – I feel like I have achieved my dream.

“I love flying for the national carrier Etihad, as it allows me to explore different places around the world and experience different lifestyles, languages, cultures, religions and history while also representing my country and positively reflecting the UAE’s image globally.”