Aerial ballet dazzles crowds as air show opens to public

The thrilling aerial display by the Republic of Singapore Air Force (above) featured an F-15SG and two F-16C fighter jets being put through 15 manoeuvres, six of which were new. Visitors to the air show were also impressed by the stunts performed by
The thrilling aerial display by the Republic of Singapore Air Force (above) featured an F-15SG and two F-16C fighter jets being put through 15 manoeuvres, six of which were new. Visitors to the air show were also impressed by the stunts performed by pilots from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the United States. Another crowd-pleaser was the chance to sit in the cockpits of fighter jets, with many braving long queues to do so.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
The thrilling aerial display by the Republic of Singapore Air Force (above) featured an F-15SG and two F-16C fighter jets being put through 15 manoeuvres, six of which were new. Visitors to the air show were also impressed by the stunts performed by
The thrilling aerial display by the Republic of Singapore Air Force featured an F-15SG and two F-16C fighter jets being put through 15 manoeuvres, six of which were new. Visitors to the air show were also impressed by the stunts performed by pilots from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the United States. Another crowd-pleaser was the chance to sit in the cockpits of fighter jets (above), with many braving long queues to do so.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

New planes and tech, RSAF heritage gallery also among highlights at S'pore Airshow

The crowds braved the heat and were duly rewarded with a fine display of aerobatics at the Singapore Airshow, which opened to the public yesterday.

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

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 last Tuesday.

Pilots from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the United States 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 had been looking forward to catching the Black Eagles, was still impressed by the aerial performances 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 display 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 were there to gawk at more than 40 aircraft from around the world on static display.

VARIETY OF ATTRACTIONS

The aerial displays are definitely one of the highlights for me. But the static displays allow the public to touch and see aircraft from different countries.

MR ABEL TAN, who has been to every edition of the biennial airshow.

Among the aircraft debuting at the show is the US Marine Corps' latest-generation F-35B, which requires only a 120m-long runway 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 it 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 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 air show.

Mechanic Bimo Pratomo, 43, came to Singapore 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 cockpits 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. They queued for nearly an hour to sit in the cockpit of the RSAF's F-16D+.

"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. "It is also a good time for us to bond together as a family."

The air show ends today. Tickets cost $22 for adults and $9 for children aged three to 12. Admission is free for children below three years.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 11, 2018, with the headline 'Aerial ballet dazzles crowds as air show opens to public'. Print Edition | Subscribe