CPT Azlan flies high as a Super Puma pilot

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26jun20_news2
26 Jun 2020 | PEOPLE

CPT Azlan flies high as a Super Puma pilot

// Story Benita Teo

// Photos courtesy of MINDEF

English 华文
Becoming a military pilot was a childhood dream come true for CPT Azlan.

Many may say they were inspired to become pilots after watching the movie, Top Gun. But few can say they actually became a military pilot and carved out a successful career in flying.

Captain (CPT) Muhammad Azlan Bin Abdul Latiff is one of those few. After pursuing a degree in aviation from RMIT University in Australia, he joined the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) and became a helicopter pilot, flying the Super Puma.

A higher calling

"Like any kid who watched Top Gun, I thought being a pilot is not just noble, but exciting and meaningful as well. It's always been my dream to fly. I enjoy a challenge, and I don't want a desk-bound job. So this career as an air force pilot has given me the chance to do something meaningful and exciting," he said.

Since receiving his wings 10 years ago, the 35-year-old has participated in several Search and Rescue operations. His most memorable was his very first mission, where he rescued a crew member from a merchant ship who had fallen overboard. The ship had been sailing in the South China Sea.

He recounted: "When you are a junior and you are involved in a real operation saving someone's life for the first time, the pressure you feel is really different. The casualty was drifting in and out of consciousness, but we managed to save him and send him to a hospital. He made a full recovery and wrote a letter to thank us afterwards."

As a Maintenance Liaison Officer, he ensures that all the aircraft in 126 SQN are serviceable, so that they are safe for flight.

Teaching from the heart

Currently an instructor and Maintenance Liaison Officer in 126 Squadron, CPT Azlan trains young pilots in the advanced flying phase who are working towards receiving their wings. Mentoring is a role that is close to his heart.

"All the instructors I met in the RSAF have been an inspiration to me, because they all really care for the weaker trainees and want to bring them up. That's something I want to emulate."

Recalling the advice of a senior instructor, CPT Azlan said: "To be a good instructor, it's not about how well you teach or speak, but being able to guide the person using your heart."

He added: "The heart is the most important tool when instructing or mentoring. I want to make sure I teach from the heart."

A dream career in flying

CPT Azlan will be promoted to the rank of Major on 1 Jul. He is happy to have found his dream career in the RSAF.

"(The promotion) further motivates me to give back to the organisation by continuing to be diligent in my work and to train the pilots well as an instructor," he said.

CPT Azlan's sons are inspired by their dad, and always look out for him whenever they see an aircraft fly past.

The father of two boys, aged three and four, said proudly that his sons are inspired to follow in his footsteps, and often look out for their dad with excitement whenever they see an aircraft fly past.

He wishes to encourage aspiring pilots: "Being an air force pilot is a higher calling. It is challenging at times, and you will face obstacles and feel like giving up."

"Just know that your instructors and colleagues are always there to support and guide you, and we will help you to succeed. We work as a team and we leave no man behind."

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