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Singapore "much like Seoul": Korean pilot performing at Singapore Airshow

The Black Eagles aerobatic team of South Korean Air Force (ROKAF) perform with their T-50 aircraft during the Singapore Airshow in Singapore on Feb 11, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
The Black Eagles aerobatic team of South Korean Air Force (ROKAF) perform with their T-50 aircraft during the Singapore Airshow in Singapore on Feb 11, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

Despite not being used to the weather here, Captain Lee Sang-Wook of the Korean Air Force's Black Eagles aerobatics squad still finds Singapore a "beautiful city".

The 32-year-old Seoul native, who spoke to The Straits Times last Thursday, said he found the heat "a little difficult to deal with" after arriving from wintry Korea, where temperatures are currently at sub-zero.

That aside, he added, through a translator: "Singapore is a very beautiful city and country, much like Seoul. I feel at home here."

The eight pilots from the team are closely monitoring the temperature and humidity here, to ensure that weather conditions do not affect their performance when they take to the skies this week in a 20-minute aerial stunt, he said.

This will be the Black Eagles' second international showing, since they made their debut in London in 2012.

"We have not had much experience… but it took us a lot of effort to travel here from Korea, so we want to give our best and excite the crowd," said Captain Lee, who is the left wingman in the squad and has spent a decade in the air force.

To prepare physically, Captain Lee and his teammates have also been regularly hitting the gym and the pool to keep their fitness levels up.

Back home, he also plays golf occasionally to wind down, he added.

Asked if he has any fans, the soft-spoken but strapping 1.83m-tall Korean, who has been earmarked for promotion to the rank of Major according to his team leader, replied with a smile: "The Black Eagles have many fans, but I'm not sure if I have any specifically."

And while he misses his wife and two daughters back home, Captain Lee said that his success formula to getting through stunts and manoeuvres is to stay positive and confident.

"It's a rare opportunity for me to perform, I'm thankful and hope to give my best."

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