RSAF's big show

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31 Aug 2018 | MILESTONES

RSAF's big show

To celebrate its golden jubilee, the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) put up its largest aerial display of the year. RSAF50@Marina Barrage drew about 45,000 people over the National Day weekend from 11 to 12 Aug. Here's a look at what went into putting the show together.

// STORY Thrina Tham

// PHOTOS PIONEER photographers

The F-15SG fighter jets flying a six-ship delta formation, as part of a sequential flypast that involved a total of 29 aircraft.
English 华文

"As flight line crew, we have to go above and beyond our tasks of checks. RSAF50 happens once in a lifetime, so we have to make extra sure that nothing goes wrong."

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"I ensure that the aircraft departing the air base to support the RSAF50 aerial display take off on time and safely. I have about 20 aircraft in the aerodrome traffic zone under my charge and I also manage the runway."

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"(For) the F-15SGs to fly in a delta formation, we had to plan and train exactly to the tee: where we turn and how fast we need to fly so that everyone is able to keep in a great formation throughout the entire run."

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"I work closely with the pilot to ensure that the entire formation reaches the show centre on time. We also work closely with the Air Force Engineers: we trust them to give us a good aircraft and after landing, we share our experiences. This is the synergy we share as a team."

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Two AH-64D Apache attack helicopters crossing paths before making a 90-degree turn, as part of the Cross Dagger manoeuvre. RSAF50@Marina Barrage marked the first time that two AH-64Ds performed together for an aerial display.

"Every time we fly, the particular aircraft we fly is different, the winds change every day, the sun may shine from a different angle. But to put up a synchronised show, our flying has to be the same… It takes practice, practice, practice."

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How do pilots train to fly in a new formation?

MAJ Ho shares how the AH-64D aerial display team trained progressively for their first ever two-ship show.

END 2017 Design of flight profiles, or aerial manoeuvres. Training starts in the AH-64D simulator to see if the two-ship flight profiles can be executed.

FEBRUARY-MAY Single-ship training is done for the manoeuvres.

MAY-JUNE Once the aircrew is familiar with their flight profiles and parameters, they move on to two-ship training.

MAY The British Army Air Corps, who has stood up a two-ship helicopter display, is consulted on how to make the show more impactful to audiences on the ground.

JUNE Further rehearsals continue over the waters near the Southern Islands, where there is more airspace to train.

JULY The crew moves to Barrage to train for the actual show.
 


 

The helicopter formation flying over the south of Singapore as it makes its way to the show centre at Marina Barrage for the flypast.

"I look at how the aircraft manoeuvre and run-in into show centre, and direct them to correct their flight path if required. I also have to ensure that there are no potential safety hazards, and assess whether environmental conditions will affect the safety of the display."

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"The dedication pass is dedicated to our people, past and present, RSAF personnel and everyday Singaporeans. Every time I come to this part, I still get goose bumps."

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