ST reader who used to make Super Puma helicopter parts takes a ride on one for first time

Mr Daniel Ying and his son Isaac took a 15-minute flight on a Super Puma from Changi Naval Base to Sentosa and back again. Mr Ying once worked at a manufacturing plant that made parts for Super Puma helicopters.
Mr Daniel Ying and his son Isaac took a 15-minute flight on a Super Puma from Changi Naval Base to Sentosa and back again. Mr Ying once worked at a manufacturing plant that made parts for Super Puma helicopters. PHOTO: MINDEF
Mr Daniel Ying and his son Isaac boarding a Super Puma for a ride, on Feb 11, 2018.
Mr Daniel Ying and his son Isaac boarding a Super Puma for a ride, on Feb 11, 2018. PHOTO: MINDEF

SINGAPORE - 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 on 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 but he had never flown on a Super Puma.

On Sunday (Feb 11), 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 on Sunday.

The year-long line-up of activities to mark the air force's milestone was launched by President Halimah Yacob last Wednesday.

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."