Model aircraft collector now flies for real

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30 Nov 2020 | PEOPLE

Model aircraft collector now flies for real

// Story by Thrina Tham

// Photos Courtesy of SYFC & OCT Danial

English 华文

They say nothing great was ever accomplished without sacrifice.

Aeropsace Engineering diploma studies, flying practice during the weekend, thrice-weekly floorball training - Officer Cadet (OCT) Danial Amsyar Bin Azhar was having difficulty juggling all these a year ago.

After much thought, he decided to focus on his academics and flying. His sacrifice paid off.

On 28 Nov, the 20-year-old was among 34 graduands from the Singapore Youth Flying Club (SYFC) who have earned their Private Pilot's License (PPL) Wings. He also bagged the top spot for the Singapore Technology Aerospace Engineering Excellence Award for "Best in Flying" as well as the SYFC prize for Best in Flying.

OCT Danial receiving the "Best in Flying" award from President of the SYFC Management Committee, Brigadier-General Kelvin Fan, who is also Chief of Staff, Air Staff.

Preparing to take flight

To earn their wings, graduands have to complete at least 52 sorties on the DA40 Diamond Star aircraft.

Addressing the graduands in a pre-recorded speech at the SYFC PPL Wings and Aviation Awards Presentation Ceremony, Senior Minister of State for Defence Zaqy Mohamad noted that the school has trained more than 7,000 students and given out 1,195 PPLs since its establishment in 1971.

"Today, a third of RSAF pilots, including the current Chief of Air Force Major-General Kelvin Khong, are SYFC alumni. I hope their achievements will encourage more youths to take advantage of the excellent opportunities provided by SYFC, and in doing so, be inspired to take the next step of building a career flying with the RSAF and defending our skies," said Mr Zaqy.

OCT Danial himself has signed on with the RSAF on 23 Sep.

The pilot trainee is now serving at the Air Force Training Command, assisting with projects such as a webinar on an upcoming safety forum. He will head for the Air Grading Centre in Perth, Australia, this December.

OCT Danial (centre) commemorating his Basic Military Training graduation on 19 Sep with his parents. The pilot trainee is now an officer cadet and will attend the Air Grading Course in December.

Pushing past limits

For OCT Danial, it was an aircraft model from his parents for his 13th birthday that sparked his interest in aviation.

Today, he has six models that range from commercial aircraft like the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747 to military fighter jets like the F-15 and F-16.

The F16-D fighter jet is part of OCT Danial's collection of aircraft models.

He joined the SFYC while pursuing his diploma in Temasek Polytechnic, taking on the 10-month course to obtain his Wings.

"One of my greatest achievements throughout this journey was gaining the capability to cope under pressure... It really does take a lot to manage one's thoughts up in the air," said OCT Danial.

During a flight, his mind is running through countless things - from the location of his aircraft relative to the runway to his engine parameters to other aircraft in the area - he elaborated.

Oddly enough, his favourite part of flying, is not "the beauty of experiencing sunsets and sunrises from a whole new perspective".

Instead, it's when "the instructor tries to impose stressful situations on me at random intervals," he explained.

"This is when my overall mental capacity is tested...and the sense of accomplishment (I get) from that is something far greater than sight-seeing."

OCT Danial posing with the DA40 Diamond Star aircraft during his SFYC training days.

The aspiring RSAF pilot will continue to better himself as he takes on the Air Grading Course, where he will train on the Pacific Aerospace Corporation CT-4 Airtrainer.

"I am looking forward to the experience as it will allow me to push my boundaries even further, improving not only my flying capabilities but also my overall character as an Officer Cadet."