Plane-spotting at RSAF's open house

RSAF F-15 and F-16 fighter jets demonstrating their abilities during an aerial display at the open house yesterday. The air force's public outreach event made a return after a five-year hiatus.
Visitors yesterday taking in the more than 20 types of aircraft and weapon systems, including the F-15SG and F-16D+ fighters and the Chinook and Seahawk helicopters, on display at the Paya Lebar Air Base. ST PHOTOS: LIM YAOHUI
RSAF F-15 and F-16 fighter jets demonstrating their abilities during an aerial display at the open house yesterday. The air force's public outreach event made a return after a five-year hiatus.
RSAF F-15 and F-16 fighter jets demonstrating their abilities during an aerial display at the open house yesterday. The air force's public outreach event made a return after a five-year hiatus.
Visitors yesterday taking in the more than 20 types of aircraft and weapon systems, including the F-15SG and F-16D+ fighters and the Chinook and Seahawk helicopters, on display at the Paya Lebar Air Base.
The SAF Red Lions Parachute Team (above) and a display of the CH-47 Chinook helicopter's capability also thrilled the crowd. The open house for the public continues today.ST PHOTOS: LIM YAOHUI
The SAF Red Lions Parachute Team (left) and a display of the CH-47 Chinook helicopter's capability also thrilled the crowd. The open house for the public continues today.
The SAF Red Lions Parachute Team and a display of the CH-47 Chinook helicopter's capability also thrilled the crowd. The open house for the public continues today.

Visitors get up close to some serious hardware in Paya Lebar

Paya Lebar Air Base opened its doors to the public yesterday for the first time in five years and wowed crowds who flocked to the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Open House.

Visitors were treated to a 30-minute aerial display, in which various aircraft showed off their abilities to escort enemy planes to ground level or fire at targets.

Children scrambled in and out of the cockpits of fighter jets, while families posed inside helicopters for photos.

A lucky few even got to take a joyride in a CH-47 Chinook helicopter over the Singapore skyline.

About 120,000 visitors are expected during the free event's two public days over the weekend.

Air force chief Mervyn Tan said at the opening ceremony: "We hope that members of the public will take away fond memories of the visit and a better understanding of the RSAF, and be proud of us."

More than 20 types of advanced aircraft and weapon systems are on display, including the F-15SG and F-16D+ fighter aircraft and the Chinook and Seahawk helicopters. RSAF personnel are stationed next to each one to introduce them to visitors.

Visitors yesterday also got to watch fighter aircraft arming demonstrations by the RSAF weapon load crew, a parachute display by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Red Lions and the SAF Military Working Dog Unit in action.

Marketing manager Nur Asiah, 27, who took her two-year-old daughter, Nur 'Aisy, to see the aerial display, said: "She loves planes. Whenever we are driving near the airport, she will always point at them. This has definitely been an eye-opener for us."

Former air engineering officer Yong Fui Long, 53, used to take his son, Cheng Siang, to the open house at the base, where he had maintained Hunter fighter planes in his youth.

His son, now 26, followed in his footsteps as an air force engineer. Said the elder Mr Yong: "The open house for me is like coming home.

"It's special this time because last time I used to bring my son, but this time, he brought me."

The open house continues to run today from 9am to 6pm. Admission is free.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 22, 2016, with the headline 'Plane-spotting at RSAF's open house'. Print Edition | Subscribe