New aerial manoeuvres, formations & RSAF55 Island Flypast for NDP 2023

Actions /web/wcm/connect/pioneer/31b5eda6-322a-46fa-80f6-588e3c8e5b95/05jul23_news1_photo1.jpg?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE.Z18_1QK41482LG0G10Q8NM8IUA1051-31b5eda6-322a-46fa-80f6-588e3c8e5b95-oAGsN-m /web/portal/pioneer/article/cover-article-detail/community/2023-Q3/05jul23_news1
05 Jul 2023 | COMMUNITY

New aerial manoeuvres, formations & RSAF55 Island Flypast for NDP 2023

The RSAF is putting on a big show at this year's NDP – performing never-before-seen manoeuvres and debuting its new H225M helicopter. Besides catching the State Flag being flown into the heartlands, those at home can also enjoy a special RSAF55 formation flypast.

//Report by Thrina Tham / Photos by PIONEER Photographers

H225M pilot MAJ (NS) Yeong (right) with Air Crew Specialist 3WO Kenny Ng.

He is a product manager in the Artificial Intelligence machine learning industry. But on 9 Aug, Major (MAJ) (NS) Yeong Zhen Jie will also be among the first pilots to fly the new H225M helicopter at the National Day Parade (NDP) – as well as the first NSman to do so.

The Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF's) latest Medium Lift Helicopter will be making its NDP debut this year as part of a new Helicopter Formation Flypast.

Audiences will see the CH-47F Heavy Lift Helicopter and two H225M Medium Lift Helicopters flying in formation across the Padang as part of an enhanced aerial display.

The CH-47F (centre) and two H225M helicopters flying in a Vic formation, where the H225Ms are diagonally behind the lead aircraft.

To qualify for the part, MAJ (NS) Yeong started training on the new H225M aircraft early this year.

Over a span of four months, he went in and out of different training centres – learning the aircraft specifications from Airbus; heading to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for simulator training; and flying sorties with 125 Squadron to build up his proficiency.

"Naturally, there were personal sacrifices, as I had to juggle between work commitment and family time while undergoing the training. (It) was no easy feat," said the 39-year-old, who flew the Super Puma helicopter for 16 years before leaving the air force in 2018.

"Many times, I had to put in extra hours after training to make sure work still progresses; while my wife took care of family matters.

"So, I'm really grateful to my wife and colleagues for their unwavering support, and also to my squadron mates," added MAJ (NS) Yeong. He is a father to three children, aged 12, five and three.

Despite his heavy commitments, MAJ (NS) Yeong volunteered to take on the role. "It's only right to give back. Despite moving on to a professional career in the AI Machine Learning space, I found a lot of meaning in doing this."

The State Flag Flypast across the Padang during an NDP National Education show on 2 Jul.
Five-F-16D+ aircraft, followed by three F-15SGs, performing the enhanced Salute to the Nation.

A bigger show for Singapore

The RSAF will be putting a bigger show at NDP this year, which also marks its 55th anniversary or RSAF55.

It will have an enhanced aerial display segment at the Padang, which will feature four flying profiles to thrill audiences. This includes the return of familiar crowd favourites like the State Flag Flypast and bomb burst.

The enhanced Salute to the Nation, for example, will show five-F-16D+ aircraft performing a bomb-burst manoeuvre, followed by three F-15SGs flying through.

Those at home can catch the State Flag soaring across the heartlands as it makes its way across the eastern and western parts of Singapore in the Fly Our Flag segment.

Audiences at home can look up to the skies to catch the Fly Our Flag and RSAF55 Island Flypast that will be making their way across the heartlands.

The former will have two routes – the western route goes past areas like Bukit Panjang, Woodlands, Choa Chu Kang, Jurong and West; while the eastern route will head to Yishun, Toa Payoh, Sengkang, Punggol, Pasir Ris, Tampines and Marine Parade.

The RSAF55 Island Flypast will fly above five areas: Jurong West, Woodlands, Toa Payoh, Tampines and Bedok.

A total of 21 aircraft will be involved in the celebrations, the highest number since RSAF50 in 2018.

"We decided to put up a bigger show, to have more people participating in celebrating our milestone RSAF55. The intent is also to showcase some of our newest capability and show Singaporeans how much we've transformed over the years," said Colonel (COL) Jonavan Ang, 45, Chairman of the Air Participation Committee.

COL Ang (fourth from right) with some of the personnel behind this year's NDP air participation segments.

New moves and formations

A highlight of this year's enhanced aerial display will be the Dual High G Turn – where two F-15SG fighter aircraft will execute a synchronised sharp turn, making an almost 360-loop around the Padang while flying side by side.

The turn has aircrew withstanding a gravitational force of up to nine times the force of gravity, and is typically done by just one aircraft.

Two F-15SG fighter jets making a coordinated High-G turn.

"Our intention was to plan a manoeuvre unique to the Padang, because the spectator stands has four sides to it. So, we try to get as many people to see the aircraft as possible," said COL Ang, on the move.

It will be followed by the new "Cross Turn + Vertical Climb" manoeuvre, which will feature two F-16D+ fighter aircraft crossing each other's flight path, while an F-15SG flies from the opposite direction towards the intersection before pulling up to the skies.

The MRTT flying with four F-16D+ jets – two at each wing – towards the Padang.

Another NDP first will be the Fixed Wing Formation – in which an A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) flies with four F-16D+ fighter jets, two at each wing.

"With a large aircraft and in Singapore's tight airspace, it's difficult to maintain (flying) within this airspace and at high speeds (together) with the fighter aircraft," shared MRTT pilot Lieutenant (LTA) Hanson Lim.

"Our turn radius will be much bigger. And in a bigger aircraft, we're not as manoeuvrable as the fighter aircraft. So, every turn has to be well calculated to ensure that we're able to fly within our airspace and meet our target," added the 25-year-old.

(From left) F-15SG Weapon Systems Officer Captain Dillon Foo, F-16D+ pilot MAJ Melcolm Huang and LTA Lim will be in the skies for the enhanced aerial display at the Padang.

The MRTT will also be involved in the RSAF55 Island Flypast across the heartlands. It will lead the formation flypast, followed by six F-16D+ in a delta formation and three F-15SGs in a Vic formation.

LTA Lim added that he was excited to take part in his first NDP – and so was his family, who have been trying to spot his aircraft jetting over the heartlands during the weekend's shows.

He said: "This opportunity has helped me learn a lot and I'm very glad that Singaporeans will be able to see us in the air."

Suggested Reading
Behind the RSAF's static display at S'pore Airshow 2024 Feature
Behind the RSAF's static display at S'pore Airshow 2024

Get a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse of the challenging overnight towing operation as the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) prepares for its static display at the Singapore Airshow 2024!

RSAF delivers humanitarian aid for Gaza Feature
RSAF delivers humanitarian aid for Gaza

Singapore has deployed an RSAF aircraft to deliver humanitarian aid in support of relief efforts in Gaza.

Upgraded F-16s, tanker jets debut at US exercise Feature
Upgraded F-16s, tanker jets debut at US exercise

This year's Exercise Forging Sabre sees the use of upgraded F-16 fighter jets and tanker aircraft for greater precision and more effective operations.

Fighter jet scramble; helicopter troop insertion at RSAF55 Open House Feature
Fighter jet scramble; helicopter troop insertion at RSAF55 Open House

Hear the roar of fighter jets and feel the heat of their engines at the RSAF55 Open House aerial capability display!

RSAF55 Open House set to wow visitors with capability display & new interactive webapp
Cover story
RSAF55 Open House set to wow visitors with capability display & new interactive webapp

An action-packed aerial capability display, static displays of 18 assets, and a new interactive webapp – here’s what RSAF55 Open House has in store for visitors.

Celebrating Singapore's 58th birthday at the Padang
Cover story
Celebrating Singapore's 58th birthday at the Padang

NDP 2023 featured firsts like the Total Defence Parade and enhanced aerial display, as well as the inaugural appearance of the Digital and Intelligence Service.

42 SAR soldiers save lives of migrant worker, elderly man
42 SAR soldiers save lives of migrant worker, elderly man

These two groups of NSFs, who were on NDP duties when the incidents took place, swiftly stepped up to render assistance.

Behind the 21-Gun Salute
Cover story
Behind the 21-Gun Salute

A day in the life of the combat engineers and gunners reveals the long hours and hard work that goes behind the NDP 2023 Presidential Gun Salute.

NDP participants finish the lyrics to National Day songs
Cover story
NDP participants finish the lyrics to National Day songs

PIONEER goes behind the scenes to find out how well participants know the lyrics to some of Singapore's most-loved NDP theme songs.

Who is Singa? The man behind the mascot Feature
Who is Singa? The man behind the mascot

Behind the Singa lion mascot at the National Day Parade (NDP): Combat engineer 3SG Arnaav is a survivor of the 2015 Sabah earthquake.