Friday, 5 May 2017

LIMA 2017 - Part 3

So here we are at 12pm, at a very hot and sunny MIEC (Mahsuri International Exhibition Centre). But that don't matter as the aerial display is going to begin. This year was a little different than last year. I only witness the display once, so everything that had to be taken had to be taken there and then.

This year's aerial display started with a fly-by of 2 airliners. The A330 and the A380. First up, the A330. 

Malaysia Airlines A330-323 (9M-MTD)

The sound system hasn't changed from 2 years ago. It was still soft especially if you are near the static aircraft display area. Heard the roar of rhe 330s engines before whipping up my camera. This was my first shot (missed the head on shot of it heading towards the airport). See the LIMA 2017 sticker?

Next we have the A380, sometimes also known as the dugong.

MH A380-841 (9M-MND)

Just a single pass and both airliners were off. They did however give way to these two slender beauties.

USAF B-1B Lancer

That's right, a pair of them flew by center stage. A first for me and probably others too. They were amazing. And this was just a low-speed fly-by.

High-speed fly-by

And with that, they returned to their base. This officially starts the aerial display. The first is of course, our very own Sukhoi Su-30MKM.

Su-30MKM Takeoff

I must say though that their performance was great, though they were really high up. A lot of shots, though heavily backlit. Here's a closeup of the cockpit.

Our heroes in the sky

After the Sukhoi, it was the Black Eagles' turn. They are the Royal Korean Air Force (RoKAF) with their T-50B aircraft. As they did in Singapore Airshow, they came in a 8-ship formation.

RoKAF entrance

I've always enjoyed their performance. Very interesting and colourful. Not all teams employ coloured smoke. And they do it with 8 aircraft.

Diamond Formation


After all the group performance and the rainfall display, they group split to smaller formations, flying with and towards each other.

And one final display for the end of the RoKAF show. Heading straight for center stage.

Ending formation break

The Rafale was next and gave us a show as to how maneuverable it was. I would say for a fighter its size, it does seem to have the maneuverability of an F-16. Very quick and precise.

Rafale in Climb


Like the Sukhoi, the Rafale was rather difficult to photograph as it was a solo performer and was usually heavily backlit. The notable shots are the ones in climb and when they touch down on the runway.

Next up was Indonesia's Jupiter Aerobatics team. They were here two years back though a mid-air collision during their practice run means that they had to pull out from the display.

You don't get the roars and the booms from this one, just the humble hum as they pass you. Very pleasant indeed. Wonder why they didn't use coloured smoke as they did in the opening ceremony.

The second last performer was the Royal Thai Airforce's Gripen. Like the Rafale, it was highly maneuverable. It zoomed in, from the left, back, front and center all at high speeds.

High-speed pass

The Gripen did display its low speed capabilities as well. This reminds me somewhat of the RSAF's Black Knights performance of the LOW and SLOW, accompanied by the theme song (cue Katy Perry's Roar).

Low-Speed Pass

Back on the ground

At this time, it was close to 2pm in the scorching sun. I was lucky enough to get a nice spot underneath the tail of the KC-135. Although it is a "Narrowbody" aircraft (derived from the B707), it did provide adequate shading. Here's what caught my attention.

KC-135 refuelling Basket

The last one on the agenda was the performance by the Russian Knights. They have now been upgraded to the Su-30 aircraft.

Lift Off


Unlike the other aerobatics team, the Russian Knights did not have the roaring head on approaches nor did they do high-speed fly-bys. Their main display was how they were able to keep in such a tight formation at such slow speeds. Look at how tight the formation is.

No afterburners

After the multiple passes, it was time to "peel". Two of the four separated and landed leaving 2 more for the other displays.

Like other teams, this particular move is almost like a must, regardless if you are a prop, or a Russian jet.

Chutes Deployed

And all but too soon, we were left with just 1 jet doing the performance. More or less similar to what our TUDM does as after all, they are the same type with almost similar capabilities. With some luck, I had the chance to get the pic below.

Su-30 vs 787

Final high speed pass

And that concludes the entire 2 hour display session. Very impressive I must say. I kinda missed the Al-Fursan and the Singaporean Black Knights though.

For those of you who were wondering, here was my camp site.

Looking to the back

Looking to the front

Looking up into the refuelling basket

It was almost 3pm and there wasn't much to do but to go to the indoor display. Just some random photos around before I head into the MIEC.

Chopper lineup

Tail of the Il-76

RSAF Fokker 50

The maritime opening ceremony would then start about an hour later. Did not manage to attend this session. Here are some helicopters heading to the location.

Looking back, here's the last look at my spot. It was a nice two hours there. Till we meet again in 2 years' time.

That concludes Part 3. Part 4 will focus on the maritime display.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

LIMA 2017 - Part 2

Part 2, where it includes the short static display tour right up to the aerial display session. Quite some things to see here so continue on. To make it easier for viewing, here is the overview of the static display. (Pardon the quality. This was a scan with some clean-up)


First on the list is the Caracal, the suppos-ed upgrade to our ageing Nuri (Sea King-ish) helicopters.

RMAF EC-725 (M55-10)

A turn to the right allows a view of all the jets parked in front of the MIEC.

RMAF F/A-18D (M45-06)

Skies were really clear and this allowed for good lighting for photographs. Also allowed for lots of Vitamin D acquisition. This next photo shows the inards of the jet engine.

Looking into the engine

On the other end, as in the side of the hangar that houses Flying School's Diamond aircraft, I caught this Russian Beauty which I missed the previous LIMA. Presenting (the back) of the Il-76. Too bad they weren't open for us to take a look inside. Would love to have a seat at the tail gunner's position.

Russian Air Force Il-76MD (RA-78833)

The helicopter portion, the Lynx and Dauphins were blocked off that time as the opening performance's helicopter just came in for landing. I would only have the opportunity to visit it on my last day at LIMA.

Nose shot

Looking at the (double) chin of the nose, I guess it would be a great experience to be in that seat while they are airborne. Being able to see forward as well as below the aircraft. I wouldn't mind paying extra to get that seat should this be an airliner of some sort.

Next to the Il-76 is the Royal Australian Air Force C-17 Globemaster. This was one of the very few aircraft that was open to the public (not the cockpit though). They had nice signages in place as to what was what. The crew were ever ready to answer any questions you throw at them. PLUS, there was air conditioning in the aircraft. A prized amenity in the hot and humid weather of Langkawi.

Looking out through the rear cargo entrance

Referring to the first PIC, the DCA calibrator Learjet was parked at where the Gulfstream was. There was no Gulfstream in sight during the first 3 days.

Interior of the ILS Calibrator

Learjet Cockpit

This is a rather small business jet. I had my backpack with me and therefore couldn't fit through the equipment.

This next thing is a first for me. A Reaper Drone, something I see a lot in movies and games but not up close.

MQ-1 Predator

The wingspan of the drone is amazing. So wide. And they are prop powered.

Up next is the Famous Apache Attack Helicopter equipped with the Longbow Radar. They flew to Butterworth AFB before heading to Langkawi. Missed them at Penang Airport.

RSAF AH-64 Apache

Then we have the French Rafale. Their presence in this region was not only for the airshow, but also for the potential contract signing with the RMAF. The RMAF is looking (at that time) to get the Rafales.

Dassault Rafale C (142)

Next to the Rafale was the Gripen. Had to get a full back shot of it.

Gripen from the back

Now being a frequent spotter at WMKP, ATR-72s are very common. BUT and ASW ATR, now that's something. Equipped with sensors.

Itallian Air Force ATR72-600MP (MM62298)

No internal shots as they were only going to open during Public Days.

Black Eagles

The Korean T-50B Black Eagles were here for LIMA 2017 (YAY!).
A400 Loading Ramp

Had to walk quite a distance to the other end to get the above shot. (Referring to the plan, it is located next to the Korean Black Eagles' parking spot). Now I know how they prevent scratches and damage to the ramp. There are 3 bumpers.

Port Engines

RMAF Bombardier Global Express (M48-02)

Zooming to the tarmac, looks like an important individual has arrived.

Here's a good shot of the Saab Gripen, from the front.

Royal Thai Air Force Gripen

Managed to board the Falcon 900LX. Had a good chat with the pilot and he explained quite a bit about the aircraft and the capabilities. And I just noticed that this jet only has reversers on the middle engine.

Falcon 900 Cockpit

And finally, before the start of the Aerial Demonstration, here's the P-3 Orion that did a Touch and Go at Penang International Airport the day before. This time in really good light.

RAAF P-3 Orion

Aerial Display will be in Part 3. Stay tuned.