Hitting the high spot at NDP

The sight of the Red Lions skydivers free-falling through the air never fails to draw oohs and aahs from the crowd at the National Day Parade (NDP).

The nine-member Singapore Armed Forces Parachute Team - also known as the Red Lions - is set to dazzle again this year, as it will be making a comeback at the NDP on Aug 9 after a two-year break.

Last year, the Red Lions could not parachute down to the National Stadium owing to safety reasons. And during the SG50 celebration at the Padang in 2015, the jump had to be called off because of poor weather.

Over the past five National Education and preview shows held last month ahead of the NDP on Wednesday, the Red Lions made free falling through the air look effortless: They leapt, they twirled, they landed, all as gracefully as swans.

They may have made it look easy, but a lot of training goes into making the display jumps look spectacular.

Skydivers, who have to have clocked at least 200 jumps, according to Major Arnold Low, commanding officer of the Special Operations Tactical Support Centre, have to learn how to navigate the various forces acting on the body after leaping from the helicopter.

The science of falling

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2017, with the headline 'Hitting the high spot at NDP'. Print Edition | Subscribe