Residents must understand air force's constraints

I have lived in the area around the Paya Lebar Airbase for more than 50 years. My current apartment in Sengkang is in the direct flight path of the aircraft.

Hence, my family and I have experienced our fair share of noise and understand the impact it has on families who are new to the area, especially in Sengkang and Punggol.

Residents often demand that the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) find alternative flight routes to minimise the noise over the residential area (Planes flying too low in Punggol, by Madam Chua Bee Yen; Aug 19).

However, if residents take a closer look at the area the RSAF is operating in, they will understand the constraints that departing and approaching aircraft face.

Aircraft are restricted by Malaysian airspace to the north and Changi Airport to the east.

Unfortunately, space is a luxury here in Singapore. We all need to live with these inconveniences.

I have found that, on average, the noise does not last more than 10 minutes at a stretch. This is a small sacrifice for the peace enjoyed by the country.

I have also observed the RSAF making a great effort in recent years to reduce its day and night flying activities during major school examinations.

However, pilots still need to keep up with their skills and improve on operational safety.

The RSAF has planned to expand its operations by basing its aircraft overseas (Mindef confirms RSAF to have flying training in New Zealand starting end August; ST Online, Aug 3).

I am proud of it for looking for ways to deal with its challenges and its constraints in such a forward-looking and professional manner.

Jonathan Tan Hock Guan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 22, 2017, with the headline 'Residents must understand air force's constraints'. Print Edition | Subscribe