RMAF pilots break world record for longest Hawk flight

Major Fairul ‘Gillette’ Mohd Rustham and Major Zulkifli ‘Steady’ Mohamad receive a token of recognition from BAE Systems senior military adviser Sir Andrew Pulford in Langkawi March 27, 2019. — Bernama pic
Major Fairul ‘Gillette’ Mohd Rustham and Major Zulkifli ‘Steady’ Mohamad receive a token of recognition from BAE Systems senior military adviser Sir Andrew Pulford in Langkawi March 27, 2019. — Bernama pic

LANGKAWI, March 28 — Two Royal Malaysia Air Force (RMAF) Hawk 208 pilots broke the world record for making the longest duration of flight when they flew for four hours and 12 minutes in August 2016.

Major Fairul ‘Gillette’ Mohd Rustham, 33, and Major Zulkifli ‘Steady’ Mohamad, 38, from No. 15 Squadron at the Butterworth Air Base, Penang, shattered the record made by former British Royal Air Force squadron leader John Hurrell, who flew for three hours and 56 minutes in 1988.

The success of the two RMAF pilots has been recognised by the British multinational defence and aerospace company, BAE Systems, which is participating at the 2019 Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA’19) Exhibition at the Mahsuri International Exhibition Centre (MIEC) here.

When met by Bernama, Fairul said they were then conducting an operation at the South China Sea.

“We flew from RMAF Base in Kuantan, Pahang, to carry out observation in the South China Sea and did not expect to be in the aircraft for that long,” he added.

He said normally Hawk pilots would fly for about an hour as they were not trained to fly for a long period.

“Normally, we fly for an hour or slightly more, that’s the maximum duration to fly the aircraft. That day, we were conducting an operation and we had to exceed the duration,” he added.

Meanwhile, Zulkifli said the Hawk aircraft is normally used to train new pilots.

The recognition from BAE is the second for Fairul and Zulkifli. The first was from RMAF last March 2.

The Hawk aircraft was acquired by the RMAF through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Malaysian government and the United Kingdom on December 10, 1990, for the delivery of 10 Hawk 108 and 18 Hawk 208.

The advanced trainer/light fighter jets were brought in stages from April 15, 1994.

LIMA'19, being held at MIEC and Resorts World Langkawi, saw the participation of 406 defence-related companies and commercial entities from 32 countries.

Themed ‘Defence and Commercial Connecting Intelligence’, it is jointly organised by EN Projects (M) Sdn Bhd, the Defence Ministry and Transport Ministry. — Bernama

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