MAphotoSG – A First Year Retrospective

On 1 Dec 2015, the Military Aviation Photography Singapore (MAphotoSG) group was formed by Raymond and David, based on the common interest of military aviation and photography. Within a short space of time, new members were recruited, and by Jan 2016, the group’s activities were in motion. With a current strength of 11 members, here’s a look back at some of the key activities of the last 12 months, as MAphotoSG celebrates its first anniversary on 1 Dec 2016.

051

Singapore Airshow 2016 – RSAF Preview (article link)
The first major activity that MAphotoSG took part in was the Singapore Airshow 2016 Preview hosted by the Republic of Singapore air Force (RSAF). The preview began with a visit to Changi Air Base (CAB) East, where the group had a rare behind-the-scenes look at the pilots from 149 Squadron going through their suit-up and pre-flight procedures. This was followed by the launch of the RSAF’s F-15SG and AH-64D Aerial Display Team.

002149 Sqn pilots suit up for their flight
003An F-15SG pilot conducts a flight pre-check
004The RSAF Aerial Display Team prepares to launch
005The RSAF Aerial Display Team goes through their paces during a rehearsal

At the exhibition site, the group was given a preview of the RSAF’s display as the team conducted their rehearsals. Rounding up the visit, the group observed how the RSAF team prepared and setup their static aircraft display. The interaction enabled the group to understand how the RSAF functions as a team to seamlessly prepare their contribution to the Singapore Airshow 2016 exhibition.

006Republic of Korea Air Force Black Eagles Taeguk display
008Royal Malaysian Air Force Su-30MKM Flanker
009Airbus A350-900 XWB (Extra Wide Body)
010French Air Force Dassault Rafale C

RSAF Open House (ROH) 2016 Preview (article link 1  article link 2)
In May 2016, the long awaited RSAF Open House made its comeback after a 5-year absence, and MAphotoSG was invited to a bloggers preview at Paya Lebar Air Base (PLAB) a few days before the event. A briefing was given about the theme and main attractions of the event, and this was followed by the aerial display demonstration.

011Colonel Randy Ong, CO PLAB
013Breakout session prior to the Aerial Display demonstration
012An F-16C is scrambled to intercept an intruder
014F-15SGs performed a vertical climb after take-off

After the display, the group was taken to the static display area to view the various RSAF platforms that were made available for the public to interact with. The final event in the preview was a Fokker 50 joyride for the group which allowed all to see Singapore from the skies. The preview was rounded off with a lunch session, and a big insight into the preparations for ROH 2016.

051A 4-ship flight returning back to base
017AH-64D Longbow Apache
018Fokker 50 joyride
CH-47D Chinook

Royal Air Force Red Arrows (article link)
In October, the British High Commission Singapore engaged MAphotoSG to cover the Royal Air Force Red Arrows flypast and activities in Singapore, as part of their Asia-Pacific & Middle East Tour 2016. The group covered the Red Arrows ground engagements at the Rolls-Royce Seletar Campus and Nanyang Technological University, and the Marina Bay flypast.

020Red Arrows at Rolls-Royce Seletar Campus
021Red Arrows at Rolls-Royce Seletar Campus
022Red Arrows at Rolls-Royce Seletar Campus
023Red Arrows at Nanyang Technological University
024Red Arrows at Nanyang Technological University
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Red Arrows Marina Bay Flypast

After the flypast, coverage continued at PLAB, including photographing the Red Arrows Hawks with specially marked Aston Martins in the colours of the Union Jack and Red Arrows. As a bonus, an invite was extended to the group Editor by the British High Commission Kuala Lumpur to shoot the team’s display performance over Epsom College in Malaysia (ECiM).

026Red Arrows landing at PLAB
027Presentation by the Red Arrows at PLAB
028Red Arrow Hawks and specially coloured Aston Martins
030Red Arrows performing over Epsom College in Malaysia

RSAF Exercise Torrent VII (article link)
The last major event of the year covered by the group was the RSAF’s Exercise Torrent VII, also known as the Alternate Runway Exercise. The group was invited by the RSAF to cover the conversion process of the public road into a runway, and the launching and recovery of the F-15SGs and F-16s from it. This was a rare opportunity for the group as Exercise Torrent is conducted once every 5 to 7 years.

031Removal of lamp posts from Lim Chu Kang Road
032An F-15SG on its take-off run
033An F-15SG takes off from Lim Chu Kang Road
034An F-16C takes off from Lim Chu Kang Road
035An F-15SG deploys it air brakes upon landing at Lim Chu Kang Road

Airshows (article link 1  article link 2)
Other than covering the above events, members of the group also visited airshows where possible during their personal trips. Wei Jie visited the American Air Show at Imperial War Museum Duxford in England, and David covered the Royal Netherlands Air Force Luchtmachtdagen (Open Days) Airshow at Leeuwarden. One of the key highlight was the first European air show debut of the Lockheed Martin F-35 at Luchtmachtdagen.

036Shorts Skyvan SC-7 and OV-10 Bronco from the Bronco Demo Team
037Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress “Sally B”
038Bf109 Buchon and AH-64D Longbow Apache
039RNLAF F-35 Lightning II
040AgustaWestland Wildcat HMA.2s of the Royal Navy Black Cats Display Team
041Italian Air Force Frecce Tricolori aerobatic team

Aircraft Spotting (article link 1  article link 2  article link 3  article link 4  article link 5)
A core activity of MAphotoSG is the spotting and photographing of military aircraft over the skies of Singapore. In addition to the RSAF’s various air assets, foreign aircraft were also spotted on their visits to Singapore. Some key aircraft spotted included the USAF Boeing E-4B “Doomsday”, Japanese Air Self-Defense Force Boeing 747-400s Air Force One and Two, USMC F-18Ds of VMFA-242, and USAF F-16Cs of 80th FS. The group also captured the first appearance of the newly reformed 142 Squadron flying the F-15SGs with an updated Gryphon tailart.

An interesting aircraft spotted was the Douglas C-47 Skytrain “Buzz Buggy” which was on it way to its final destination at Flying Tigers Guilin Heritage Park & Museum in Guilin, China.

042USAF Boeing E-4B
043JASDF Boeing 747-400 Air Force One
044USMC F-18D, VMFA-242
045USAF F-16C , 80th FS
046USN P-8 Poseidon
047RAF Eurofighter Typhoon, No II (AC) Sqn
048RSAF F-15SG, 142 Sqn
053Douglas C-47 Skytrain “Buzz Buggy”

Looking Forward
It has been an exciting first year for MAphotoSG, and it looks forward to growing its coverage of military aviation related events in 2017. It has tie-ups currently with aircraft spotting groups in the US, Europe and Australia to exchange and feature more overseas articles. Stay tuned with us as we aim for our second anniversary on 1 Dec 2017!

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