Visitors throng first day of public Air Show despite rain

Zhang Yuehan, three, and grandfather Zhang Xiaoyi, 74, getting a feel of the RSAF F-15SG fighter plane. Visitors to the air show got to view more than 40 aircraft from the business, military and commercial sectors.
Zhang Yuehan, three, and grandfather Zhang Xiaoyi, 74, getting a feel of the RSAF F-15SG fighter plane. Visitors to the air show got to view more than 40 aircraft from the business, military and commercial sectors.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Overcast skies and brief showers failed to dampen the crowd's spirits at the Singapore Air Show 2016 yesterday.

More than 40,000 visitors thronged the Changi Exhibition Centre on the first of two public show days to get close to the latest flying machines.

Crowds whipped out umbrellas and stood under a slight drizzle during the 40-minute aerial performance in the morning, which featured an integrated display by the Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF) F-15SG fighter and AH-64D helicopter.

While the skies remained cloudy for the second show in the afternoon, spectators cheered the deft manoeuvres of the Black Eagles Aerobatic Team from the Republic of Korea Air Force.

The air show also had a static display featuring more than 40 aircraft from 18 organisations across the business, military and commercial sectors.

Visitors also got the chance to get in the cockpits of various planes. Mr Vishal Wagholikar, 28, queued for over two hours to sit in the RSAF's F-15SG.

"It was worth it," said Mr Wagholikar, who is from India and is studying for a doctorate in mechanical engineering here. "I could ask questions about how the plane is flown, and what controls are used to aim at targets."

Queues to sit in other aircraft, like the F-16D+ and F-16C fighter jets, and the AH-64D and AS332 Super Puma helicopter, also took about one to two hours.

While most visitors were pleased with the show's offerings, some complained about the time it took to get to the show site using the shuttle bus service, which left from the Singapore Expo.

Housewife Archana Mantry, 37, who was at the show with her two sons, aged six and nine, said it took her close to two hours: "The security checks at the Expo were quite fast but there were very long queues to get up the buses."

Show organiser Experia Events said: "There were some delays... earlier in the day with a sudden influx of a large number of visitors after the weather changed for the better."

However, more buses were deployed and the situation improved.

Waiting times for taxis to leave the site averaged between 30 and 50 minutes. However, some visitors like Mr Rusly Askar, 43, an IT director, stood in line for about an hour and a half.

"It's bad but coming to the show was worth it, as my son enjoyed it," he said.

His nine-year-old son Lawrence Emmanuel said: "The Korean (aerobatics) team was exciting."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 21, 2016, with the headline 'Visitors throng first day of public Air Show despite rain'. Print Edition | Subscribe