Aviation buffs are in for a real treat this year.
The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) will be putting up spectacular aerial displays and bringing their assets to the heartlands, in commemoration of its golden jubilee.
Celebrations will kick off with the Singapore Airshow (SA) 2018, where visitors can catch the RSAF's fighter jets executing adrenaline-inducing aerial manoeuvres. Performed by one F-15SG and two F-16Cs, this is the first time that that the fighter jets are doing a three-ship show.
Visitors will have the chance to catch a first glimpse of the F-15SG's new RSAF50 skin at the airshow. They can also try their hands at piloting different aircraft through various simulators and take photos with the numerous RSAF assets on display (twice as many compared to that of previous airshows!).
In addition, Singaporeans and Permanent Residents can ballot for a chance to fly on the Super Puma helicopter through the RSAF50 (50 years of RSAF) website.
The SA 2018 will be held from 10 to 11 Feb at the Changi Exhibition Centre and tickets are priced at $22.
At a media conference held at the Air Force Museum on 17 Jan, Chairman of the RSAF50 Steering Committee Brigadier-General (BG) Kelvin Khong said: "This year, we look forward to celebrating an important milestone with everyone though the series of events we have planned We would like to invite all Singaporeans to join us in the celebrations."
For those who can't make it to the airshow, the RSAF will be bringing some of their exhibits to five heartland locations - Toa Payoh (10 & 11 Mar), Sembawang (31 Mar & 1 Apr), Punggol (14 & 15 Apr), Bedok (12 & 13 May) and Jurong East (26 & 27 May). Event-goers can expect special highlights and demonstrations unique to each venue, including live helicopter operations at the Sembawang site.
Come the National Day weekend, Singaporeans will be treated to a flypast of more than 20 aerial assets as well as aerial displays by the F-15SG, F-16C/Ds and AH-64Ds. Held from 11 to 12 Aug at the Marina Barrage, the event also marks the debut of the RSAF's Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in a flypast.
The RSAF50 celebrations will culminate with a parade on 1 Sep, which includes a mobile column, a Salute-to-the-Nation flypast and the debut appearance of the multi-role tanker transport aircraft. The public can catch a "live" telecast of the parade on the RSAF's social media platforms.
Besides announcing the plans for RSAF50, BG Khong paid tribute to the people who helped to build up the Air Force: "The transformation of RSAF over the last 50 years to the capable force today is possible only with the support of Singaporeans and the dedication of generations of both airmen and women past and present."
Like father, like son
Among those who serve the RSAF are Military Expert (ME) 4 Andrew Tan and his father ME5 Richard.
For ME4 Tan, joining the air force was a dream come true. He cultivated a strong interest in aviation from a young age as his father often brought him to airshows and RSAF open houses.
"My father is my role model and I look up to him in every aspect. I wanted to know more about his job and find out what he does on a daily basis," explained the 31-year-old system manager for the S-70B helicopter in the Air Force Engineering Logistics Department.
Recalled ME5 Tan: "I came from the helicopter community and during our family days, Andrew would take photos while seated in the helicopter cockpit."
The 59-year-old staff officer from the Air Force Inspectorate has been in the air force for 40 years and held almost every appointment in the helicopter community. He started as a flight line crew on the UH1H utility helicopter before helming other appointments like the Peace Vanguard detachment command chief and Sembawang Air Base command chief.
It's a tough name for the son to live up to, especially since ME5 Tan is a well-known figure within the Air Force. ME4 Tan revealed that he was often called "Richard Tan's son" when he first joined the RSAF.
"I felt like I had to uphold certain standards on how to portray myself or how to lead my men as my colleagues often cross-referenced me to my father. But soon they realised that we have different leadership styles - I'm impulsive whereas he is slow and steady," he said with a laugh.
With a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter of his own, ME4 Tan does not rule out the possibility of her becoming a part of the Air Force family in the future, but added: "I want to let her choose the path she wants to embark on and be responsible for her own actions. That was something I learnt from my father - he doesn't dictate my life and let me choose my own path."