Rehearsals for this year's National Day Parade (NDP) have started, and people in the Marina Bay area might have caught a glimpse of the state flag flypast near the Floating Platform yesterday morning.
A group of students had a better view.
Seven beneficiaries of The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund had the privilege of boarding one of the Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF) Super Puma helicopters, typically used for conveying soldiers and for search and rescue missions.
The journey, which took about an hour, started from the Sembawang Air Base, and took the students over several areas, including Bukit Timah Hill, Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands and Sentosa.
From their helicopter, which can carry 24, the students had a good view of the state flag being flown across the southern coast of Singapore by a Chinook helicopter, before the Super Puma looped back to the air base. The Super Puma was not part of the flypast.
Yishun Secondary School student M. Arulkarthik, 13, was one of the students on board.
He said: "It was quite cool. On aeroplanes, you won't get the chance to see Marina Bay and all that. Because it is so high up, you can see only clouds. But on the helicopter, you can see a lot more things."
Ferdah Nursyakirah Mohammed Firdaus, a 15-year-old from Woodlands Ring Secondary School, said the ride made her proud to be a Singaporean. "The ride was awesome. The view from the top is very pretty and rare. I'm proud that we have all these buildings, and that we have many places to explore."
Captain Aditya Sharma, a pilot from RSAF's 125 Squadron, was co-pilot on the Super Puma the students were riding. He said: "Kids are the future of our nation, and exposing them to such a rare opportunity brings me joy, because flying is always a special experience, whether you are an aviator or not.
"The route involved us flying to the Central Business District, to the Marina Bay Floating Platform area... It is a bird's-eye view that most people won't get to see. But thanks to this opportunity, the children were able to experience that."
Ms Tan Bee Heong, general manager of The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, said: "We are grateful to the NDP 2017 Committee's generosity in hosting our beneficiaries and providing them this unique opportunity of flying in a Super Puma helicopter - making it a very memorable and meaningful day for our students from low-income families."
Lucky seven treated to NDP highlight
Seven beneficiaries of The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund were given a treat on board a Super Puma helicopter yesterday. They were on board to watch the flypast of the state flag that was being flown by a Chinook helicopter for National Day Parade rehearsals.