Tuesday 15 April 2014

Singapore Airshow 2014 - Day 1 - Aerial Display (Part 2)

Continuation from the previous post. I shall have more photos than words this time as the photos themselves show what's going on.

While the two eagles are busy making flybys towards each other, the other six were preparing for something spectacular. 5 on 1. The blue smoke trails clearly indicate the aircraft that will be performing. The sole Eagle flies onwards at HIGH speed.....

Getting ready for the next move

Ready?  NOW!!

.......and pierces through the smoke trail of the oncoming lead aircraft.

Another low fixed-formation flyby

They are very skillful pilots, being able to fly in close proximity with each other, maintaining close in formation, and retaining the intended shape of the formation. It's interesting to be able to see the planes flying through pockets of sunlight. You get to see bright patches of the smoke trails at certain parts of the smoke trails and dark spots on other stretches.

Flying in pairs

There was never a dull moment, from the elegant displays to the roaring sound of the engines when they flew by, to the nail biting head-on fly bys. Some were just slow and steady while others were fast and smoky. The displays mostly consist of either a group of 5-6 for the larger displays, or a single / double aircraft doing solo-ish performance.

The next one was a Helix (or something like that). A spectacular sight indeed, seeing a pair of aircraft rotating round the centre aircraft.

Blue smoke

Red smoke

Note that the two leading aircraft are inverted. So the pilots must be looking at each other and thinking "Hey... How you doin..". The two spiralling aircraft, while flying at a slightly lower speed due to the need to rotate was still able to keep up, flying at almost full thrust. Twisting and turning, round and round and round.

Mini Diamond formation

Another colourful fly by. The sun was bright, bringing up the yellow belly of the aircraft, accompanied by red and blue smoke. I was wondering why they were flying without any rolls or hard turns. It was a slow flight from the right to the left of the centre stage. Then I found out. All of us were BLOWN AWAY when a single T-50 jet flew at FULL SPEED pass the centre stage. Totally unprepared for it, therefore no shots available.

Though these four aircraft had a bigger role to play in later sessions as shown below. They were getting ready for another nail-biting maneuver.

Looks like a Ram. Note the position of the Red and Blue -smoked aircraft

They made a ram horn out of nothing but smoke trails. Kudos to the planner.

Criss Cross - Reds to the right, blues to the left

4-way split

The approach and the criss-cross followed by the split creates an interesting effect at the base of the split. Had to avoid quite a number of heads popping up to share the excitement and the happiness of seeing this move. Not an easy task as there were many people in front of me who are much much taller.

High G climb/turn

One of the Eagles did another fast move. With full afterburner, it effortlessly climbed, twisted and turned to demonstrate its high maneuverability. See the orange glow of the engine exhaust and the wind movement pass the wings. You can even see slight flexing of the wings near the wing tip.

Victory formation

And to close such a grand performance, they performed the victory split, which looks like a peacock when it is flaunting its beautiful feathers. What an AMAZING performance. I enjoyed it and would have attended the second available show of the ROKAF.

Witness an AWESOME and SPECTACULAR aerial display? Checked, and wanting more of it

That's all for the aerial display and the visit of the first day. Whoo. Took a number of posts to get the first day done, but it has been a wonderful feeling re-living the moment. Thank you for reading this and hopefully enjoying it as much as I did. Day 2 of the airshow is in the next post.

Sunday 6 April 2014

Singapore Airshow 2014 - Day 1 - Aerial Display (Part 1)

Date        : 15 February 2014
Time        : 3.05 pm
Weather  : HOT, but its Aerobatics time.
Status      : Excited !!

WOOOHOOO !!!!!!!!!!!! The time is now. Everyone began moving to the "Center Stage", which is basically the BIG open HOT area in front of the Breitling Control tower by the sea. The announcer mentioned that the airshow was to start 5 minutes earlier due to slot availability. I guess when you are in the vicinity of such an active airspace like that of Changi, 5 minutes makes a lot of difference.

The first aircraft to greet the crowd was the C-17A Globemaster III, "Spirit of Kamehameha". HH 55153. This is a transport aircraft capable of carrying high loads and is able to perform short-field takeoffs and landings. This makes it suitable to be used in arenas where large airfields are not accessible.

 C-17 Entrance Fly-by

The C-17 came in low from the right, flying by half the center stage before making a sharp right bank away from the audience. It was possibly banking at 60 degrees for each turn. It made some turns and flew quite far out before aligning for the next move, the low-speed, low-level fly-by with gears down and flaps extended.

 C-17 Low-speed, low-level fly-by

Look at the massive wingspan with the flaps extended. No wonder it's a good short field performer. Landing at that speed, which is slower than a lot of aircraft (looked even slower than a normal landing airliner), will allow for it to require less runway length, coupled with its powerful reverse thrusters.

 Belly shot of the C-17

The shot above was taken while the aircraft was making its sharp turn, though it may seem like it was taken directly from below. This again demonstrates the maneuverability of the aircraft, even though it is a cargo aircraft.

Banking and lining up for the final display

 High angle climbout

Witness a BIG aircraft perform tight maneuvers? Checked

The last move was a steep climbout directly in front of the audience. This demonstrates the aircraft's engine power, able to push it upwards and forwards at almost 45 degrees (or so it seems from ground level). It then made a turn back to the airbase, making the airspace available for the next performer.

The next display was the T-50s from the RoKAF, or better known as the Royal Korean Air Force. They were the Black Eagles'. They sure did make a grand entrance, with a loud boom and coloured smoke trails. There were 8 aircraft flying the formation.

 Entering with style - Black Eagles

Filling the air with red, blue and white smoke definitely brightened up the area. They had someone from RoKAF which explained in detail about the squadron. Since it takes time for the aircraft to line up, the announcer filled these quiet times with information, along with the names of the formation that they were demonstrating. I shall do my very best to recall the names of these formation as I was truly enjoying the moment.

 Tango Formation

The first formation was the Tango formation ( T ). They were flying further out from the center stage as compare to the C-17 previously. The Tango formation then changed to a Spear formation as they approached center stage.

Spear Formation

They flew in such tight formations flawlessly, making it appear as a single moving body. The smoke trails were only activated when a display was imminent. This greatly assisted he public so that they knew when to start looking and when to get their cameras ready. While the aircraft may be flying under some cloud cover, we the audience were definitely under the hot sun.

 Diamond Formation (Front)

The next one was the Diamond formation, seen from the front and from the bottom. The brighter sections seen above are where there is no cloud cover. This allows for sunlight to shine through and light up the smoke trail of the T-50s.

 Diamond Formation (Bottom)

The formation is such that when viewed from most directions, be it the top, the bottom, front or back, you will see a diamond shape. The front section of the aerial display was mainly a group performance, whereby all the 8 aircraft are arranged to display a particular shape or style. Like the next formation, which was the Eagle(?) formation

 The Black Eagles presenting a formation which mimics the T-50 aircraft

Since the aircraft were relatively small, and difficult to spot with the absence of the smoke trails, the commentator constantly pointed out the direction of which the aircraft will enter, like "Entering Center Stage from you left".

 One final flyby before breaking into smaller groups

The team did a synchronised barrel roll right before performing a high angle climb. This was one of the last actions as an 8-aircraft team as they split into smaller groups for the next section of the aerial show.

 Climbing for the opening curtain

Through the viewfinder, I witnessed the eight jets climbing almost vertically to a point before looping and pointing back to the ground. One good thing about the performance was that it was accompanied with pop music and a cue to inform of an incoming move, something like "Ready..... NOW", or something to that effect.

Opening Curtain

This maneuver allowed for the 8 aircraft to split to their respective sub-groups of 4 and 2.One half would perform while the other gets into position for the coming display. Many flyby's at high speed and low speed were performed, with and without smoke. Since most of the time I was more focused on the show than on the camera, the shots seen here are one of those fewer ones at which my eyes were looking through the viewfinder.

Head on fly past

One of the first few moves after the split. A head on pass. This was done with precise accuracy. You could hear the oooohhss and the aaaahhhhs from the crowd.

To keep this post short, the next segment will be covered in the next post.