Squadron Leader Yaser Mudasser became an unwitting Twitter star after shots circulated of him showing off Pakistan’s new JF-17 Thunder fighter jet to a diplomat.
But Mudasser was somewhat less cocky than Maverick, the cult hero played by Cruise in the 1980s hit film, when asked about the surprise attention.
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“It’s funny. One never imagines that you’ll get this kind of attention when you’re training day-in day-out,” the pilot told AFP, laughing bashfully.
Mudasser has clocked up over 600 flights in the JF-17, Pakistan’s first-ever home-made jet, which was designed and built with Chinese help.
“It’s superb. It’s a treat to fly this aircraft. It’s so beautiful and user-friendly,” he gushed.
But it was his colleague, Wing Commander Usman Ali, also channeling his inner Maverick in a pair of aviator shades, who wowed the crowds on the first day of the world’s premier air show.
“It was an honour to fly the JF-17 over the skies of Paris. It was a moment of pride for all of us to exhibit this aircraft to the whole world,” said Ali.