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Spectacular air stunts at Singapore Airshow 2024

by Adrian David

SINGAPORE, 21 FEB – For the first time, 12 death-defying aerial stunts by the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), kept spectators in awe at the Singapore Airshow 2024 in Changi.

The stunts – including four solo each and four ‘integrated’ interweaving ones – were performed by an RSAF F-15SG fighter jet and an AH-64D Apache helicopter.

The RSAF’s aerial display team also debuted two new integrated stunts dubbed the ‘double helix’ and ‘slingshot’ for the airshow on Feb 20-25.

The slingshot opened the air display with the Apache charging into the centre, as the F-15 made a 360-degree high-‘G’ turn around the helicopter.

But it was the ‘double helix’ – named for the way the Apache made a steep spiral descent, while the F-15 climbed – which RSAF pilots described as the most difficult undertaken.

The RSAF’s presentation were among eight aerial displays from six air forces and two commercial companies, including China’s C919 airliner.

For the first time, too, the RSAF’s newer CH-47F Chinook helicopter, delivered in 2022 to replace the older ones in service since 1994, were also displayed.

F-15SG aerial display team leader Major Paul-Matthew Lim, 36, told the media that there was a massive difference in the performance platforms of the F-15SG fighter jet and the AH-64D Apache helicopter.

“The F-15 moves faster and makes tighter turns but has a bigger radius, while the Apache is more graceful and manoeuvrable making integration of the two platforms’ capabilities a challenge,” said Lim.

AH-64D aerial display team leader Major Ingkiriwang Reeve, 37, highlighted how the Apache could descend about 1,600ft over the course of the double helix manoeuvre.

“Apart from managing the height and speed of my helicopter, I have to deal with the wind’s varying intensity and direction at each altitude level.

“At the same time, I must be visual with the F-15 at all times, making a turn around us and climbing.

“Therefore, all these variables make it very difficult as compared to the other three manoeuvres.

“Executing the move required precise coordination between the two aircraft, as well as between himself and my co-pilot,” Reeve said.

RSAF flying display committee chairman Lieutenant-Colonel Max Ng said that the air display crew were from operational squadrons rather than a full-time aerial display team, who began preparations last November.

“Hopefully, we are able to demonstrate our professionalism, precision and passion in the aerial display,” said Ng.

Also on public display were the RSAF’s full array of aircraft and ground-based air defence systems.

The biennial Singapore Airshow returned fully after an absence of four years following the global Covid-19 pandemic.

It was, nevertheless, held on a restricted scale and closed to the public in 2022.

This year’s trade show was at the Changi Exhibition Centre while aerial displays were streamed ‘live’ on media platforms. – airtimes.my

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