One major highlight of my trip to the Jordan was the opportunity to experience general aviation in the Middle East. During the planning stages of our trip, I contacted Ayla Aviation Academy, a world-renowned flight school located in both Aqaba, Jordan and Coventry, England. After speaking with them over email, I was offered a free introductory flight around and over Aqaba! How could I turn that down?!

Not too many pilots can say they’ve logged flight time in the Middle East, especially in the complex type of airspace we flew through. Aqaba is located in Southern Jordan on the Gulf of Aqaba, in a place where Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia converge within just a few miles. In all honesty I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I didn’t know how much flying I’d be doing, if there’d be any language barrier, or even where we would be going.

Below is a video summary of our flight:

Before our flight, we were given a quick tour of the facility (which was quite impressive and well kept). The lady who led us around was the student life coordinator for the school.

Once we arrived, I met an instructor and was told the plan was to take a short 20 minute flight around the pattern at King Hussein International Airport in Aqaba. I was introduced to the plane we were going to be flying, DiamondStar DA40 JY-CCC, a more or less familiar type of aircraft (I had flown a DA40 once before, in Southern California).

I was told that I’d be flying and the instructor would help with the radio and other instructions. In airspace like this, being so close to Israel, you’d better not make any mistakes! I would never have even attempted this flight alone.

Here is a video of our takeoff from Aqaba AQA:

We flew up to 3,000 feet, flew South, and then caught the ILS for Runway 1 at AQA. BUT here is the coolest part… we saw 4 countries from the air at one time, all VERY close to our airspace: Jordan, Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.

Flying low and slow over Jordan was pretty cool, seeing how incredibly arid the country is. There is almost non-existent plant life in the Southern Deserts of Jordan!

One thing that many people are surprised to learn about Jordan is that the country has some incredible beaches, with even more incredible coral reefs. You can see some in the gallery below:

As we flew the ILS towards Runway 1 at King Hussein Airport, I looked out to my left and looked at Israel fly by nearly right underneath us. There is less than a quarter mile in-between the approach and Israel, so you have to be very careful as Israel will not hesitate to shoot down an unidentified aircraft.

Close To Israel On Final Approach

Close To Israel On Final Approach

View of Aqaba (Jordan) and Eilat (Israel) from the air:

As we turned final, the instructor asked for me to make a radio call confirming our clearance to land on Runway 1. I did so, but the tower did not understand my American-English accent. The instructor I was flying with quickly realized this and gave the same radio call, in his accented English, which the tower understood just fine. I thought that was pretty funny, they are following ICAO English, but broken English for sure!

Here is a video of our landing at AQA:

I’m so glad that I got to experience a little General Aviation in the Middle East. Ayla Aviation Academy was extremely professional, put together, and well run. You could just tell that they had an extremely professional operation going on, comparable with any United States flight school.

What a cool experience! As always, feel free to contact me if you have any comments or questions!

Thanks for reading and watching,
-Swayne Martin
Twitter: @MartinsAviaton

About The Author

If you want to become a pilot, I want to make your journey just a little easier. I'm a First Officer for Envoy Air, one of the largest regional airlines in the world, and have partnered with industry leaders like the U.S. Air Force to teach about various aviation careers. For a full bio, click the "About" tab above. Use the "Contact" tab to shoot me a message.

2 Responses

    • Swayne Martin

      Thanks for the comment! And yep, the area is both a little confusing geographically, politically, and ethnically. It makes everything confusing and always changing.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.