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.

No comments:

Post a Comment