Dad who used to manage Super Puma parts wins a ride with son on chopper

Mr Daniel Ying and his son Isaac, eight, taking a ride in a Super Puma helicopter for the first time yesterday. Their entry was selected out of more than 200 submitted for the giveaway by The Straits Times for its readers.
Mr Daniel Ying and his son Isaac, eight, taking a ride in a Super Puma helicopter for the first time yesterday. Their entry was selected out of more than 200 submitted for the giveaway by The Straits Times for its readers. PHOTO: MINDEF

As a supervisor at an aircraft parts manufacturing plant, Mr Daniel Ying used to pull night shifts five days a week, once every fortnight, which meant having to spend time apart from his then one-year-old son Isaac.

He had to work from about 5pm to 2am to meet clients' demands for the parts, some of which included those for Super Puma helicopters, one of the aircraft used by the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF).

"I realised that I was missing out on a lot of his growing-up years," he said of his only child.

"That was one of the main reasons I gave up that job about two years ago," said Mr Ying, who is in his 40s and had worked at the plant for five years. His wife is a human resource manager.

Mr Ying, who now works as a primary school English teacher, was from an artillery unit during his national service and had never flown on a Super Puma.

Yesterday, he and Isaac, now eight, had a chance to find out how the things his former company manufactured came together to become a flying machine. They took a 15-minute experiential flight from Changi Naval Base to Sentosa, and back again.

The Super Puma was first commissioned by the RSAF in 1985. It can fly at a speed of more than 300kmh and has a length of 18.7m.

After the flight, Mr Ying said: "My son can now better rationalise my absence from his school events, where his classmates' fathers would be around, but not his."

The flight was organised by the RSAF as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations at the Singapore Airshow 2018, which ended yesterday.

The father-and-son pair was selected out of more than 200 entries for the giveaway by The Straits Times for its readers, who had to answer the question: "Why do you want to win this Super Puma experience?"

Mr Ying said of the flight: "I felt a sense of fulfilment and pride, from a Singaporean point of view, the reason being that the Super Puma has been in service for the past 32 years, and I saw some of the parts being used.

"It speaks volumes that made-in-Singapore parts have such longevity and good quality."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 12, 2018, with the headline 'Dad who used to manage Super Puma parts wins a ride with son on chopper'. Print Edition | Subscribe