Monday 17 March 2014

Singapore Airshow 2014 - Day 1 - Airshow Grounds and Static Aircraft Displays (2)

Date        : 15 February 2014
Time        : 1.40 pm
Weather  : Still VERY HOT
Status      : Sweaty but still energized (rest was good)

Taken from under the wing

Tail section of the aircraft

At this range, though not evident in this photography due to the lens used, the tail section is huge. Standing right below it make you feel so small. It really dwarfs us when we were near / under the tail section. This is a G550, imagine if it was the 747 or the A380. WOW.

Under the care of the large wingspan of the Gulfstream we had our lunch, topped up on fluids and were ready to proceed. The next attraction was the C-17 aerobatic display which would not start until 3.00 pm. So what would you do while waiting for an airshow due in 1 hour +? See more planes !!

It was still hot, with occasional cloud covers. Though the heat was not realised probably due to the constant wind blowing at us, since we were very near to the sea. Yes it was hot, but the wind prevented us from thinking "FIND SHADE NOW".

Apart from aircraft, the Singapore Airshow also had a fair share of ground-based defence systems. Among them include the Mechanised IGLA, a surface to air missile launcher.  Looks like it has sensors under one launcher rail and a machine gun on the other.


Not forgetting the SPYDER-SR as well. And I thought a driving a pick-up truck will give me good forward views of the road. This vehicle is HUGE, not to mention it's height. It carries four missiles, and are usually in larger groups of about 4 or 5, working alongside a mobile radar vehicle. This radar vehicle (can't quite remember the name) sends and receives information from other SAM groups to coordinate attack efforts.


The SPYDER is has 4 missile slots, and can be loaded with either Python and / or Derby missiles. Here, this vehicle is seen with both, Pythons on the side and Derbys in the centre (the longer ones that are sticking out).

Dragged missile out? Not applicable as too heavy (and wayyy too high).

The next segment that we went to was the business jet segment. Here we could see numerous jets, ranging from the small EMB Phenom 100 to the Lineage 1000E being packed into a small blocked off section. So all jets here were just on a see-no-touch basis. My guess is that they were open during the trade days.

Business Jet Section

Notice the similarities between the jet below and the G550 AEW above? Well they are essentially the same aircraft. 
Gulfstream G650


The driving force of the aircraft

The one above however is the executive jet version, loaded with nice comfy leather seats, wood finishing, big screen TVs, and possibly even a pantry. It also lacks the bulbous nose and tail, and also the additional sensing equipment on the sides, replacing the windows.

P-8 Poseidon 
(Basically Next Gen 737 with raked wingtips)

Well just a teaser photo above. The 737, while nicknamed Boeing's baby was still very large, and it will be impossible to fit into my camera view (the widest my lens can go is 18mm on a crop camera body so... you get the idea. If not, see C-130 prop photo below). So a quick shot of the maritime aircraft and we're off to see more executive jets.

Embraer Lineage 1000E Executive Jet

Look at the Lineage. Known also as the Embraer E190 regional jet, this jet really allows one to travel in pure luxury and in style. Just imagine, an aircraft slightly smaller to that of the 737 being converted to a flying home. It is even equipped with its own stairs. No aerobridge? No worries. We are ready. Just imagine the cost needed to maintain this aircraft and to keep it in the air. But then again, if one could purchase it, what's the maintenance cost to them ey?

Emraer Phenom 100

From one of the largest executive jets to one of the smallest (well at the Singapore Airshow at least), here's the cute and compact Phenom 100. It seats just 4 passengers and has a range of about 2000km, and flies at about 700km/h. Not bad for a personal limousine. It was only here until the evening, after which it was towed out of the display area. 

All aircraft had those white tube-ish things leading to the interior. Since the aircraft is static, the air inside does not circulate as well, hence the need for these blowers to provide a constant supply of fresh air into the cabin. Don't want prospective buyers to faint inside due to lack of oxygen. :)

Embraer Legacy 650

A jet that seems all too familiar. Just to let you know, Jackie Chan owns an aircraft of this type. Look at those barricades keeping me (and the public) away from this gorgeous aircraft. Reinforcing the term so near yet so far. In a hot climate, even planes and helicopters are not spared from the sun. Not the silver sun shade at the cockpit window.

That's all for the business jet section.

Date        : 15 February 2014
Time        : 2.20 pm
Weather  : Hot but occasionally cloudy
Status      : Excited !!

The final section before the aerobatic display

Here it is. The BIG section. It is a significantly larger area from the previous ones and had aircraft that are significantly larger as well. But before that, let's build up to it. The first thing that caught our eye was this brightly painted chopper.

A Eurocopter AS350 from Airbus (F-WICE)

It was so bright and yellow. It brought life and colours to the area as it was surrounded by mostly grey-ish painted military aircraft. Saw a grey one behind? Well that would be from our very own Royal Malaysian Air Force (TUDM).

AS332 Super Puma

The Super Puma is an advanced utility helicopter introduced to the Malaysian Air Force as they slowly replace the Nuri (Sea King). Like other aircraft, they allowed the public to go into the cabin. They enter via the port side door and exit via the starboard side. It may look like it hugs the ground but believe me, you need to jump off the cabin.

KAI T-50 Golden Eagle

Up next we have the T-50 trainer. This is developed by the Korean Aerospace Industries as a supersonic trainer and an attack aircraft. Look at its versatility, being able to carry an array of weaponry. We will soon see more of this aircraft, particularly those of the Royal Korean Air Force (ROKAF). This aircraft resembles the F-16 Fighting Falcon as developed by KAI and Lockheed Martin. It is small, slick and agile.

Here comes the BIG one

Taken from a distance, Lockheed KC-130J Aerial Refueler

Now this is something you don't see everyday in the skies of Malaysia. An airborne refuelling platform. Back then, I used t think that those Huge tanks were bombs that could be dropped off. Something as big and as round as this, HAD to be a bomb, whether it was on a C-130 or on and F-15. Well I was partially correct. F-15s do drop off their external tanks if needed, but those were no bombs. They carried fuel. Will show more in a short while. Just a short diversion here, a helicopter with a unique tail rotor.

Fenestron-type tail rotor of the EC-135

This one was from Maju Holdings. They had posh leather seats and luxury looking interiors. Short haul travelling in style. Back to the rotor, this design is much quieter compared to the conventional one, and much safer in the sense that one cannot have their limbs cut of if they stood to near (unless of course they stuck their hand through the "Danger" area)

After snapping enough photos of this chopper, we had over to the KC-130J. Here's the view from the back.

Rear cargo door

Just look at the size of the cargo area. You could fit a few Jeeps in there. Here is where the line starts to get into the aircraft cargo bay as well as the cockpit.

A better view of the interior

Just imagine the amount of cargo you can fit in here. And even the number of seats you can cram for paratrooper deployment. Legroom will definitely be limited and bulkhead seats are scarce. There wasn't much time to queue for the aircraft visit, so it was just a stop - snap - go thing. One final shot just before we left the aircraft.

Propellers, engines, wing, fuel tank all in one shot. Happy enough.

I saw the blades turning effortlessly as the wind blew past it. So I thought, how hard could it be. I reached out, had all five fingers on one of the 6 carbon blades, and with all my might  *~~*GRUNT, it does not move. Took me a couple of tries but eventually I am happy to say this.
Turned the propeller blades of the C130? Checked (10°)

Wow... It has been close to two weeks since I've updated this section. Had quite some stuffs to handle. Anyway, let's move on.

As promised, here's the MV-22 Osprey.

 MV-22B Osprey

The Osprey is a tilt-rotor aircraft, which utilises the rotors of helicopters for VTOL/STOL and for heavy load lifting, and the wings of a fixed winged aircraft, to give it a boost of speed over its utility helicopter counterparts like the Chinook. It goes up straight, and it flies fast. What else could you ask for. This is one unique aircraft.

Just look at the MASSIVE rotor blades. At that rotor length, the engines maximum tilt angle on ground is that of the picture. Any lower, and it becomes a really expensive single-use Lawn Mower. It was almost impossible to get a clean unobstructed shot of the aircraft. However, there will be more of this coming up during the aerial display section.

I guess the name "Osprey" is derived from the Osprey bird, which hovers above its prey, calculating its approach before diving in for the kill. 

The next aircraft type is one that has been in service for a long time. Known commercially as the 707, the KC-135 is an aerial refueling aircraft. It uses the same airframe as the 707 but has upgraded engines, flight controls and an additional refueling boom at the rear. This re-fueler differs from the prop-KC-130 in terms of its refueling methods. The KC-130 uses a basket-type probe-and-drogue which is basically a flexible hose that extends outwards. This method is used mainly by helicopters as the line is long enough to clear the rotor blades of the helicopters. The KC-135 however uses a boom, used mainly for jet aircraft like the B-1 bombers and C-17 Globemasters.

 KC-135 Front Entrance

If I'm not mistaken, that little door is where the crew enter the aircraft normally. Since it is an airshow with public visitors, the main cargo entrance was used instead. Bigger and lower risk of bumping your head.

 BIG engines

Seen the insides of an aerial refueling aircraft? Checked
 Side view of the KC-135

Well the area here is more or less the end of the static display as there is nothing else behind the camera, apart from a HUGE space which once was a parking slot to A350, B787 and SilkAir's New B737-800, all three of which have left before the public days. It was also the spot for the C-17 Globemaster which has not left the airshow, but has gone to the skies for the aerial display. See the dot in the middle of the picture below.

F-15 at the RSAF display area

It s now time for the Aerial Display, the main event that we've all been waiting for. Time to move to a nice location. The Aerobatic Displays will be covered in the next (separate) post.

Friday 7 March 2014

Singapore Airshow 2014 - Day 1 - Airshow Grounds and Static Aircraft Displays (1)

Singapore Airshow 2014 - Asia's Biggest for Aviation's Finest. It was big alright, and the performances were fine indeed. The airshow was held over a 6-day period starting from the 11th February to the 16th of February. The first 4 days are reserved only for trade visitors, which required one to register and pay SGD 50. Coming from Malaysia, it would have cost about RM130 PER DAY !!

So public days it was, at SGD 22 per day, which was more than half the price. My hopes were high for Airbus' latest aircraft, the A350 and the Boeing 787 to be there. They were there alright, but only for the first two trade days. Those who went later than that would have missed those two.

Tiny "paper planes"

Aircraft arrangement at the Static Display

This post will be long. So sit back, relax and scroll on. Get a cup of coffee if you like.

Date       : 15 February 2014
Time       : 12.00 pm
Weather  : VERY HOT
Status     : Energetic and ready to take on the airshow

The flight touched down just about 12pm. Since there were no shuttles to and from the airport, the taxi was the fastest way there.
Singapore Exhibition Centre Arrival area (Note the queue for the taxi)

Entry point to the airshow complete with metal detectors

I am just amazed by the setup of the entrance. There are about 10 lines for heavy traffic conditions and almost as many scanners. They really aim to get people through as fast as they can. And the best thing, it is Air Conditioned !!

Big gathering area for the aerial performance

While we were already there, there was still some walking to do before we could see anything. Thank goodness for the creation of caps. The location had a dedicated control tower for the aerial performance as well as for official photographers, and not forgetting the announcer as well.

Great Ad for Breitling by the control tower

So close yet so far. Taken at 135mm with planes so small = still very far

Estimated Coverage for this leg. Some aircraft have been moved around

First to greet us was Lockheed Martin's F35 mockup Fighter. Looked real from a far. Up close well just don't look at the undercarriage section.

F-35 Mock up with armaments and engine mock up as well
Seen the F35? Checked

Proceeding on we are this much closer to the exhibition arena. There were lots of people moving around, snapping photos and selfies and of course, lining up for the rare opportunity to sit in the cockpit of a fighter jet, a military helicopter and even a transport aircraft.

Finally at the static display area

Due to flight arrival and departure time, we didn't have much time to line up for each of the aircraft. We only had half of the first and half of the second day. External views will do.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

They were wise to cordon off the UAV. Or you'll be seeing people riding / hanging down from the wings of the UAV. They crammed quite a number of helicopters and business jets towards this side of the display area. It was blocked off from the public.

Bell 429 being all white and shiny

Bell 407GX

Notice the difference between non-accessible (above) and accessible (below).

CH-47 Chinook

Look at how low the rotor hangs when it is not moving. The small little red square did not save it from the touch of everyone in the vicinity (myself included). I would NOT want to be near it when it starts up its engines. It was a milestone for me to actually put my hands on the rotors of one of the great utility helicopter.
Held / Moved Enormous CH-47 Rotor Blades? Checked

AH-64 Apache

Being such a versatile and famous aircraft, the Apache too was surrounded by people. The organizers did a great job by stationing at least 2 crew / staff / personnel by each of the aircraft. They were they and were very polite, and ready to answer questions thrown to them by the public. Very well versed as well. They answered and even explained in details of the operation of the aircraft / weapon system. When I was there, he was explaining about the Hellfire missiles and Hydra rockets.

Moved Hydra Rocket out of the launcher? Checked

By the way, see the front cylinder at the nose of the helicopter? That is a super high tech camera controlled by the crew of the Apache. The lens and sensors are currently pointed inwards (towards the cockpit) to protect it from damage while the aircraft is parked, or when its not in use.

Next area visited

Nearby there was this anti-submarine aircraft. The S-70B Seahawk. With an extra camera installed to the nose and a torpedo attached to the starboard side, it looks like it is ready to go.

Another wise move to cover up the cockpit panel with clear see through glass. Heaven knows what will happen (or what buttons will go missing) should they have left it open.

F-15 - Open for the public to experience seating in the cockpit
Felt the tip of an F-15? Checked
People queue up (very long line, but in a shade thankfully) on the left, then use the stairs on the left to go up to have a look and even sit in the cockpit, take photos, then leave on the right. The tip isn't as sharp as I thought of it to be. Comparatively it is sharp, but it is just a screw at the tip.

Armaments on the wings and CFTs

This aircraft was fitted with various air-to-ground bombs, demonstrating its flexibility as an air superiority fighter and an ground strike aircraft. The F-15s seen here are all fitted with CFT (Comformal Fuel Tanks) which increases the air time of the aircraft, as well as the hard points for the F-15.

I have seen that the F-15s have 4 hard points for missiles on the belly of the aircraft. After asking one of the personnel, they mentioned that the CFTs allows for more hard points, which means more air time and more weapons for use.
3 additional weapon slots on the CFT

This next one is the F-16. A significantly smaller but highly manoeuvrable aircraft. This is one of the first few fighters to employ side stick fly-by-wire. Instead of the yoke in the middle, the aircraft is controlled by a small joystick on the right hand side of the cockpit, similar to almost all of Airbus' commercial jets.

F-16 Fighting Falcon

Close up on the Heads-Up-Display (HUD) of the F-16

Like the F-15, there was a line for the cockpit visit. We could see people sticking their heads into the engine intake. But hey, it's a once in a while opportunity, so why not. Been there, done that, took a photo. Well I had my own share of snapping photos of the jets at places I would never have been able to during normal times.
A single air to ground bomb attached to the centre pod of the F-15

FLIR - Forward Looking Infra Red

Hercules in flight (C-130)

This C-130 was seen flying past the exhibition area at a rather low altitude. Of course it just took off, but my guess would be that this aircraft was transporting several lucky winners of the RSAF's lucky draw for the chance to ride in the C-130 and the Chinook. Those passengers must have been thrilled to be given this rare opportunity.
F-5 Nose on shot

Another aircraft spotted with a pointy nose is the F-5. If I am not mistaken, this aircraft is used as a trainer aircraft. And for those of you who are curious, the tip of the pointy pointy thing can be covered by your index finger, and the length from the nose is about 2-3 hand's (not arm) length. (Just in case for those who are curious, I was ;) )

Next may I present to you one of the advanced aircraft, the G550 AEW.

A heavily modified version of the Gulfstream G550 business Jet

It has a detection range of more than 200 nautical miles, capable of seeing incoming aircraft, it is a multi-role aircraft. In the air it is like the eye in the sky, on the ground..................................
A good shade for us public visitors :-)

Really glad that it was there. Provided a good pit stop for us before continuing our journey.

Gulfstream G550AEW

Explored the entire underside of the aircraft? Checked

*I have split this section into 2 as this post was getting rather lengthy.