France: A Pakistani pilot got pulses racing on social media today after photos from the Paris Air Show reminded some of Top Gun star Tom Cruise. 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.
Pakistan Air Force Squadron Leader Yaser Mudasser poses in front Pakistan's JF 17 Thunder cockpit on the tarmac of the International Paris Airshow at Le Bourget on June 15, 2015. Pic/AFP
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. "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.