Aerial aerobatics dazzle crowds at the Singapore Airshow as it opens to the public

The RSAF F-15SG and F-16C flying display team performing at the Singapore Airshow 2018, on Feb 10, 2018.
The RSAF F-15SG and F-16C flying display team performing at the Singapore Airshow 2018, on Feb 10, 2018.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
The RSAF F-15SG and F-16C flying display team performing at the Singapore Air Show 2018.
The RSAF F-15SG and F-16C flying display team performing at the Singapore Air Show 2018.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
The Royal Thai Air Force JAS-39 C/D Gripen performing at the Singapore Airshow 2018.
The Royal Thai Air Force JAS-39 C/D Gripen performing at the Singapore Airshow 2018.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
A young spectator watches the aerial display at the Singapore Airshow 2018.
A young spectator watches the aerial display at the Singapore Airshow 2018.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
The  F-16C flying display team performing at the Singapore Airshow 2018.
The F-16C flying display team performing at the Singapore Airshow 2018.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

SINGAPORE - The crowds braved the heat and were duly rewarded with aerial aerobatics at the Singapore Airshow, which opened to the public on Saturday (Feb 10).

Fighter jets from various countries zoomed through heart-stopping stunts, drawing cheers and gasps.

This was despite the withdrawal of the South Korean aerobatic team, The Black Eagles, after one of its aircraft crashed while taking off at Changi Airport on Tuesday.

Despite the withdrawal, pilots from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the United States still thrilled the crowds at the Changi Exhibition Centre.

Among the early birds was sales manager Mike Chan, who was there with his friends. The 30-year-old, who was looking forward to catching The Black Eagles, was still impressed by the fine aerial performance put up by the other teams, including the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF).

The RSAF performed an aerial display with an F-15SG and two F-16C fighter jets. The 15-minute segment featured 15 manoeuvres, six of which were new.

"We wanted to come early to get a good spot to view the aerial displays by the RSAF," Mr Chan said. "We enjoyed the performance. It was very thrilling to see the fighter jets making death-defying manoeuvres."

Besides catching the aerial performances, visitors came to gawk at more than 40 aircraft from around the world on static display. Among the aircraft debuting at the show is the latest-generation US Marine Corps' F-35B, which requires a runway of only 120m long to take off, and can land vertically. 

Visitors also checked out a heritage gallery detailing the history of the RSAF, which is celebrating its golden jubilee this year.

Mr Abel Tan, 30, who has been to every edition of the biennial airshow, said the show was a good chance to see various planes and the latest technology available.

"The aerial displays are definitely one of the highlights for me. But the static displays also allow the public to touch and see aircraft from different countries," said Mr Tan, who is a product expert for car giant Mercedes-Benz.

Some visitors flew in from overseas just for the airshow, which ends on Sunday.

Mechanic Bimo Pratomo, 43, flew in from Jakarta with his wife, 42, and three children aged between five and 12. "My kids like planes but they've only seen them on television, so I thought of bringing them here to show them the planes," he said.

At the event, visitors also got to sit in the cockpit of fighter jets.

Mr Daniel Pereira, 39, was at the show with his wife and two young children and they did not mind lining up for the chance to do so.

"It is a rare chance for us to experience being in a fighter jet, and the kids were really excited by that prospect," said Mr Pereira, who is self-employed.