Friday 9 May 2014

Singapore Airshow 2014 - Day 2

Now on to the second day. Yes, it has been a month since the last post, and now let us continue.

Since the most part of the previous days were spent outdoors, We started exploring the covered area of the airshow before the start of the first aerial display at 10:30 am. Before we start, status check:

Date        : 16 February 2014
Time        : 9.45 am
Weather  : Unknown; Indoors - air-conditioned environment
Status      : Energetic

Airbus booth

Airbus had quite a number of large scale models placed at the booth. These include the common airliners like the A380, A330 and the A350. Some military models also include the MRTT and the A400. They even had a mock-up of the A350 cockpit, which was sadly off limits to the public. You could get close though.

Comac ARJ21 Model

China is also coming up with aircraft models of their own. This one, COMAC (Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China) will possibly be competing against Airbus and Boeing for a piece of the market.

Airbus military models

The A400 had rotating rotors rotors on the model, and they were counter rotating ones. The inner two engines (left and right) spin away from the fuselage while the outer two engines spin towards the fuselage. Interesting setting as this would counter the motions of the engines, similar to the tail rotor of helicopters, countering the rotating force of the main rotors.

Engine of the Sukhoi Superjet

One great thing about the models inside the display area is that most of them are animated. Some have lights while others have motion, like lights in the aircraft and moving engine fan blades.

One good thing about these displays is that you get to see the inner functions of certain things like the engines and also get to know more about aircraft in general.

Beriev Be200 Model

Apart from large scale models, they also have smaller models on display, such as the BE200 water bomber and also the Sukhoi Superjet 100.

Agusta Westland AW149

And life size models too. The AW149 looks so stealthy in this paint scheme. They had a lot of miniature models around the aircraft, though nothing as glaring as this life size aircraft-without-rotors.

Missiles and a Jet

CFM LEAP engine

Seen the working principles of an airliner's engine? Checked
Incredibly complex, yet amazing

I never knew how realised how complex it may look under the smooth and sleeky engine cowlings. It gives a perspective of how much space the actual combustion stage takes with reference to the fan blades.

A350 Cockpit Mockup

Finally, just before heading out for the first aerial display, I laid eyes on the cockpit of the latest passenger jet currently in the world; the A350. Looks quite similar to other Airbus models. A great move by Airbus as the pilots can benefit from flight deck commonality between the fleet, ranging from the A320 to the A380.


So that's the indoor arena for now. Had to go out back to the HOT sun for the Airshow, something I wouldn't mind doing again and again though.

Sea of people in front of me

So there we were, getting ready to witness Singapore's Black Knights. The low clouds were great against the sunlight, but not great for the aerial display. Most of the shots were rather dark, so here are the ones that were better.

Black Knights in their new Paint Scheme

The Black Knights Roared in at the opening. Spotting 6 newly painted F-16s. This is to commemorate the Singapore Air Force's 45th Anniversary. They also gave out souvenirs to everyone who attended the airshow. All we had to do was to show our ticket to get a goodie bag filled with some interesting items. Will share that later.

Opening display

So what do you do after you pull a vertical move and gain thousands of feet in altitude? Come back down, and while you're at it, show the audience some designs. Missed this with the ROKAF the previous day. Glad to have got it this time round.

Another vertical climb

The Black Knights made numerous passes, some directly over us which allowed me to capture a shot as above. Like ROKAF, the group was split, so that while one was demonstrating, the other group gets into position and ready to execute the next performance.

A group of 4 jets did a criss cross maneuver, Both left crossing through both rights, before making large circles, at full afterburner (at least that was what is sounded like), in opposing directions, flying head on their fellow wingman three times. Had a couple of really blurred out and dark shots which will not show much here.

New colours on the Black Knights

Now how did I get a shot of the design that was supposed to be facing the skies? Well I was definitly NOT in a chase aircraft. They were doing a simultaneous roll from the right hand side of the centre stage to the left. I hope I am not confusing the name with one of the ROKAF from the previous day but I definitely remembered "The Way of the Dragon", where all 6 jets acted as a single entity. Almost like a large-sized jet making a long barrel roll. (Do let me know if there are corrections)

3 x 2 arrangement

Flying in a rectangular shape shows their precision and accuracy. Lots of wingtip vortices on the jets as they made tight turns and rapid ascends.

Levelling off after a vertical dive

There was a point where two jets flew head on, and also a time where we had a display similar to the Helix flying of the ROKAF on Day 1.


Quite a number of the displays were partially obscured by low level clouds. But without fail, the pilots still went ahead with their performance.

Back to Back / Top to Top

Flying back to back wasn't the only thing the fleet was doing. Several tens of feet behind, two other jets were flying in a helical manner.

A big Heart <3

Hidden love shaped smoke trails, made by 4 jets, two on each side. They must have trained for numerous weeks to perfect all the moves we see.

Final break

And here we have the final break. If you are wondering why only 5 jets are visible, it is because the last (not so visible) jet is hidden among the accumulated smoke trails, preparing to WOW the spectators.

Grand Finale with Flares

To make it even more spectacular, the lead launched flares after flares while rolling in the vertical flight. Truly, a spectacular display. Never seen flares being launched in real life before, and for that I thank the organisers. Great group display for the day, and the aerial display had just begun.



Date        : 16 February 2014
Time        : 10.53 am
Weather  : Cloudy and occasionally sunny
Status      : Too concentrated on airshow to notice

V-22 Osprey

The Black Knights stole the attention. The following displays are single aircraft aerobatics. First off it's the V-22 Osprey. It may sound like an ordinary large bladed helicopter, but it flies much much faster. Just look at the massive radius of the rotor blades. This is why they are tilted at almost 45 degrees when on ground. Any lower, and the blades will just snap off the engine.

V-22 hovering with rear ramp open

The V-22 did a 360 rotation while hovering just tens of feet above the water, spraying little droplets all over the crowd, not enough to get you wet, but enough to let you know. Slight vortexes may be seen generated by the rotor blades.

A lot of moves were made, such as tight turns and so on.

Rotors tilting movement

The V-22 demonstrated how it can easily switch from the hovering mode to the flight mode, by tilting its rotors slowly from a vertical orientation to a horizontal orientation. This has to be done slowly as the basic principles of flight takes place. 

The rotors provide lift while it is hovering. By slowly tilting the engines, the lift provider is slowly being transferred to the wings. As the engines become more and more horizontal, it pulls the aircraft forward, increasing the forward speed of the aircraft. As the speed increases, wind passing over the wings generate lift which keeps the aircraft in the air. Finally, when the engines are fully horizontal, the wings take over and the Osprey flies like a normal aircraft.

The osprey speeds off after that, clearing the space for the next aircraft, nick-named "Rhino".

F-18 Super Hornet

Not meaning to sound cliche, but the Hornet came in with a BANG!! Zooming pass centre stage. Looks like they would require all the fuel they can carry to perform all the moves. A single external tank was carried. This I guess should be the best fuel to maneuvarability ratio to give the aircraft more fuel, while not weighing it down too much nor to affect its aerodynamics during the performance.

Hard turn with full afterburner

The Roar coming from the engines is SO intense, it makes you wonder how it will feel should you stand right next to it. The Rhino made multiple turns and circles, often aiming it's engines at the crowd. I guess that's the main idea, to let them feel the POWER. 

Of course, knife edge passes, high G turns/ascends and barrel roles were included in this energetic display. This also included a low speed fly-by, similar to that of the black knights and the C-17.

Condensation on wings of the F-18

One more zoom and the F-18 was out of the area. The single aircraft performances are great, though maybe placing it after the grand group aerial display kinda raise the expectations.

F-16 Fighting Falcon "Viper"

Next in line was the Viper, a single-engined smaller aircraft. this was a single seater, as compared to most of the other display aircraft which had tandem seats. They are sleek aircraft, and can be installed with conformal fuel tanks on the upper fuselage to increase flight operational range. These look like permanent add ons to the aircraft, as compared to those bulky external underwing tanks.

If memory serves me correctly, I watched a documentary on the F-16. It has fly-by-wire controls. The control is more of a side stick, like Airbus' rather than the yokes of older aircrafts like the F-14. This aircraft apparently isn't aerodynamically fit. To put it to simpler terms, if you were to launch it into the air without any onboard computers, it will just spin out of control and crash. The computer makes tiny alterations to the flaps to prevent this from happening. Advanced stuff huh. This same type of computer compensation actually saved an F-22 Raptor from crashing, after it lost a part of its wing (or was it the vertical stabiliser).

The orange glow

Most of the moves are similar to the Rhino (sharp turns, high G ascends, knife edge, barrel rolls). Just included the photos of those which I missed with the Rhino.

Didn't expect to have to stop here for now. This is the end of the aerial display for the Singapore Airshow 2014. Will just cover a bit more of the indoor section before I officially close the Singapore Airshow Posts.