Aerial thrills by RSAF this weekend

Its largest air display this year includes two helicopters doing manoeuvres together for first time

This weekend, the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) will be showcasing more than 20 aircraft in its biggest aerial display this year. It will also feature two of its helicopters doing aerial manoeuvres together for the first time.

A pair of RSAF AH-64D Apache attack helicopters will perform 10 synchronised manoeuvres at the Marina Barrage on Saturday and Sunday. The RSAF50@Marina Barrage event, organised to commemorate the air force's golden jubilee this year, will feature a total of 29 aircraft - 25 from the RSAF and four from the Singapore Youth Flying Club.

There will also be an unmanned aircraft for the first time - the Heron 1 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle - in a pre-show segment.

The public can watch two 30-minute shows each day at 10am and 2.30pm. The aerial display will also be streamed live on the RSAF's Facebook page.

The RSAF did a full rehearsal at a media preview yesterday, witnessed by Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen. The full sequence for the show is: A sequential flypast, a helicopter and fighter jet aerial display and a finale bomb burst manoeuvre.

Lieutenant-Colonel Nick Wong, chairman of the flying display committee, said: "This time, we are trying to do something different - new profiles and display segments - and this shows the professionalism and capabilities of the air force as well as the ability to work together as a team."

Nineteen RSAF combat aircraft and four Singapore Youth Flying Club DA40 trainer aircraft will perform the flypast in five formations.

The formations will fly at different altitudes between 500ft (152m) and 2,000ft, about 60 seconds apart.

Captain Ingkiriwang Reeve, one of the performing AH-64D pilots, said having two helicopters perform together is exponentially more difficult than a single one as there are many extra factors to consider. He will have to follow the lead given by the other helicopter for the aerial manoeuvres and adjust according to wind conditions, he said.

"We also have to fly imperfectly to make it look perfect because the people on the ground are looking at it from a different angle," he added.

Two F-16C fighter jets and one F-15SG will also perform 18 aerial manoeuvres, including five new ones that were not performed at the Singapore Airshow in February.

Besides catching the aerial displays, families can also enjoy a picnic at the barrage organised by Families For Life on Saturday. There will be activities such as sand art and paper-plane making. Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee will be at the picnic, which is from 8am to 4pm.

The Chief of Air Force, Major-General Mervyn Tan, who was at the preview, said the RSAF50@Marina Barrage is one of the events designed to thank Singaporeans for their support of the air force over the years.

He said: "We hope that Singaporeans will enjoy the show and continue to give their fullest support to our airmen and women who are committed to defend our home, above all."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2018, with the headline 'Aerial thrills by RSAF this weekend'. Print Edition | Subscribe