Rothmans' Aerobatic Team circa 1979
1970: Rothmans (Cigarettes) linked with Mike Kelly's Aerobatics Team to form Rothmans' Aerobatic Team, performing at UK Air Shows until British Government's new Tax Laws made these flying displays unviable. Instead Rothmans sent the Team to promote overseas markets, including the Middle East. 1977: Rothmans Aerobatics Team came to Dubai to perform at Jebel Ali, Jumeirah, Mina Seyahi and Sharjah. Jo Finzi was a Dubai Photojournalist and, in 1979, invited to fly with Rothmans Aerobatic Team, taking photos as the Team flew over Dubai
Jo Finzi Remembers....
It was a press photo shoot, and just a few photojournalists went up in an Islander with the doors off (and on Monkey straps)...ie only the brave ones ! I did try to get up in one of the aerobatic 'planes, but the insurance company bottled out at the last minute. The team were over in Dubai to promote the Rothmans sponsorship of the Raft Race, so their main job was the aerobatic display over Mina Seyahi. My recollection is the Rothmans GM was Bob Peach, but Team Leader was Brian Lecomber....totally mad, but very skilled....a natural really. I remember the Pitts Specials had to taxi down Dubai's runway in a zig zag fashion as the pilots couldn't see the runway through their windscreens because of the steep angle of their plane to the ground. It was a brilliant experience !