Leaving Dubai for the Formula One Bahrain on Wednesday morning with Roger Taylor, the engineer for the event, we flew to our first fuel stop of the journey just on the western region of the UAE. From here we flew to Doha where, 30 minutes in to the flight we encountered a particularly fierce shamal (sandstorm) which left us with low visibility for almost half an hour. The visibility was so low that at one point I was flying VFR over the ocean but decided that wasn't sensible so I headed back to follow the shoreline at low level until the visibility cleared. After a refuelling stop in Doha, which took rather longer than expected because the fuel nozzle was the wrong size for the aircraft, we finally landed at Bahrain International airport just before sunset, a total flight time of 4 hours and 50 minutes.
Leaving the aircraft at the airport for the night we headed to the hotel to prepare for the next day.
Yesterday began with a briefing with the Bahrain Aviation Authorities, Bahrain Royal Air Force and air traffic control at the airport to finalise logistics for the event. As I was going into the meeting I bumped into Michael Schumacher who had just arrived on his private jet. A little too awe-struck to say anything to him I merely nodded hello and moved on.
After the meeting we repositioned to the Formula One race track where I met up with the cameraman Lieven Hermans, who I have worked with many times before, to fix the camera and do a test flight around the circuit. Sky News was also at the race track today and the cameraman came over to talk to us about the aircraft and the camera equipment we were using. I don't expect that to be televised though.
Today is practice day for the drivers which will also be filmed so I will be reporting back on this later.