On a bright and sunny Tuesday, 34 members of the public gathered at Paya Lebar Airbase (PLAB), equipped with cameras, lenses and a strong dose of excitement. All were specially invited by the organising committee to the RSAF Open House 2016 Bloggers Preview of what the public can expect this weekend. Given that the last such event was in 2011, this has been long-awaited by all.
In the air-conditioned comfort of the VIP Lounge, Colonel Randy Ong, Commander PLAB, gave a short opening address to the attendees. After 2011, the RSAF has reached out to the public through events such as the 45th Anniversary celebration at Singapore Airshow 2014 and the RSAF45@Heartlands in the estates. Therefore it is with great excitement that the RSAF is bringing back the RSAF Open House again, with the theme “Defending Our Skies”.
ME6 Sree then gave a rundown of the program for the preview session, followed by a flight safety presentation for the Fokker 50 Familiarisation Ride by 2SG Ivan Ang from 121 Squadron. Following a short Q&A session and light refreshments, it was then out to the grandstands for the Aerial Display.
The 30 minute aerial display showcased the operations capabilities of the RSAF and features assets such as the F-15SG, F-16C, AH-64D and CH-47. It will also showcase the integration of the Ground Based Air Defence (GBAD) assets of SPYDER and Mechanised IGLA with the aircraft platforms in providing a full defence of our skies. This action-packed demonstration, at the Grandstand venue, will run at 10:30am and 2:30pm on 21 May (Saturday), and at 11:30am and 4:30pm on 22 May (Sunday). Check out the latest updates on the show timings at the RSAF Facebook page (www.facebook.com/TheRSAF).
F-16Cs are scrambled to intercept an unidentified aircraft in the Aerial Display preview sessionF-16C ready for takeoffA pair of F-15SGs perform a simultaneous scramble takeoff during the Aerial Display preview sessionF-15SG afterburner take offF-16C escorting the unidentified aircraftF-15SG pulling a high-g turnA pair of F-15SG performing the vertical climbMechanised Igla LaunchersCH-47D Chinook with underslung Light Strike VehicleCH-47D Chinook making a flypastAH-64D Longbow Apache covering the ground troopsMission accomplished – F-15SG Return to BaseA Diamond DA40 CS taxis back after the Aerial Display preview
After the high-energy aerial display, the group then proceeded to the F-15SG static display where an Arming Demonstration was carried out. The AIM-9X and Mk 82 arming showcased the precise and meticulous process of arming the Strike Eagle to enable it to carry out its mission successfully.
AFEs ready for the Weapons Arming DemonstrationsAFEs load an AIM-9X on an F-15SG as part of the Arming Demonstration previewAFEs load an AIM-9X on an F-15SG as part of the Arming Demonstration previewAFEs load a Mk.82 bomb on an F-15SG as part of the Arming Demonstration previewFully Armed F-15SG and the ground crew
The group then proceeded to the static display area for the photography opportunities and to have a up-close look at the RSAF aerial assets. The static lineup included the F-16D, G550-AEW, C-130 and the perennial favourite, a Black Knight F-16C. Also on display were assets such as the RBS-70, MATC, MPSTAR and ALTaCC. As the exhibition halls were still being built, there wasn’t a walkthrough available to the group. In total more than 20 RSAF aircraft & weapon systems will be on display.
Black Knight F-16C at the static displayCH-47D crew put the finishing touches in preparation for the RSAF Open House 2016A Mobile Air Traffic Control platform at the static displayRSAF platforms and GBAD systems at the static displayF-16D crew prepare the aircraft for final touch up for the RSAF Open House 2016 weekends142SQN F-15SG at static displayGulfstream G550 CAEW
After the static area session, the group boarded the bus for the large aircraft apron where the Fokker 50 aircraft awaited. The flight was flown with LTC Clement Wee, Commanding Officer 121 Squadron, at the controls. After taking off from PLAB, the flightpath flew over the estates of Punggol, Sengkang, Serangoon, and heading south towards Pasir Panjang and over the islands of St John’s, Kusu and Sentosa.
The rare privilege of taking a flight onboard a RSAF Fokker 50 aircraft and seeing Singapore from the sky, put the size of the island into perspective. It is impossible not to appreciate how small the country is and why it is inevitable that RSAF aircraft will overfly residential areas. What is regarded as loud noise is actually the sound of freedom.
Returning back to PLAB, the aircraft did a circular pattern over the airbase to allow the group to marvel at the entire Open House display area from the sky. The flight was soon over as the Fokker 50 touched down, although the total flight time was 43 minutes – the fastest 43 minutes ever!
After disembarking, the group again boarded the bus back to the VIP Lounge for lunch and a short rest period before the preview session came to an end. We would like to thank the RSAF organising committee for opening up the invitation to MAphotoSG. THANK YOU!
This year’s Open House promises a lot of sights and sounds for the public, and here a few key details for all to take note for this weekend:
– Look out for the first public appearance of the newly reformed 142 Squadron’s F-15SG with the white Gryphon tailart.
– There will be 3 RSAF assets after the entrance to welcome visitors for a photo opportunity: Black Knight F-16C, I-HAWK and F-15SG.
– Shoot away at the Super Pumas for posterity at the static display as they will be replaced soon in the near future.
MAphotoSG members (left to right): David Chua, Tan JingHeng, Hanson Seah, Gary Ng, Rayzlee and F-15SG Pilot Captain Nah Jin Ping – who is involved in aerial display. Thanks to David Sim from www.lifestinymiracles.com for taking this photo for us!
– For those who are lucky enough to be balloted for a joyride, please take note that there is strictly no internal or external photography in flight for security reasons.
– The following roads will be closed to private vehicles on 21-22 May: Airport Road after KPE exit towards PLAB, and Kim Chuan Road.
– Visitors can travel to the Open House by RSAF Open House shuttle buses (Eunos Bus Interchange and Kovan Hub), LTA approved taxis or SBS Bus Service 90. Private cars will not be allowed to enter.
– While enjoying the Open House don’t forget to drink plenty of fluids and apply sunscreen while under the sun!
Say Hi to us if you spot us during the weekends!
For more details, please visit www.mindef.gov.sg/rsaf
MAphotoSG (Military Aviation Photography Singapore), is proudly represented by a number of dedicated individuals who are passionate about military aviation. Through our photography, we have captured some of the “first” images of RSAF Exclusive 2016 Airshow Preview, RSAF’s 142 Sqn tail art on F-15SG, and Exercise Commando Sling 16-2. We also bring you selected news from Singapore and International which we feel that will be interesting and important to share. Our Co-founder, David and one of our member, Eric were featured by TODAY Paper (a Singapore newspaper published by MediaCorp) for 2016 Airshow featured article in Feb 2016! Click here to learn more about the team!