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Archive for the ‘open house’ Category

Upon hearing there were limited tickets for the 2014 Singapore Airshow, I hurried to get some tickets so we could bring the boys for it.  They always like this kind of thing, and I wanted very much to see the aerial displays.

We had a grand plan of reaching the Expo at 730am to catch the early bus, but add in some dilly and dally, and we only got there around 9am.  The first aerial display was to take place at 1030am, so we were still on target, though I worried a little about how long the wait would be to get to the airshow venue from Expo. When Asher and I went for the Navy Open House last year we had to wait an eternity!

In the end, the whole process was very smooth.  They even had a lane set aside for people who are pregnant or disabled so that we don’t have to stand and wait for so long.  I could bring one kid with me to the priority lane so I brought Ellery since he was getting antsy, but Jon had to bring Asher the regular route.  Even then, the crowd wasn’t that bad, and they were through to the front in no time.  I think it really helps that this was a ticketed event, so the crowd was much less than for the free open houses.

We got to the venue by 950, which is really good considering the walk to the Expo Hall, the wait, the security checks, and the bus ride.  We even managed to snag a spot on the stands for the first aerial display.

Snacking while waiting for the first aerial display

Snacking while waiting for the first aerial display

First up was Singapore’s Black Knights.  We ooo-ed and ahh-ed when they entered different formations.  They did disappear from sight completely quite often when they were changing formations though, and there was no commentary so we didn’t know when to expect them back, nor did we always know what they were doing.  There was someone who seemed quite informed behind us giving a running commentary to his son, so we had a little bit of info.  Still, as it was our first aerial show ever, we were duly impressed.

Enraptured

Enraptured

Black Knights

Black Knights

Drawing a heart in the sky

Drawing a heart in the sky

Whoosh!

Whoosh!

Then came the MV-22 Osprey!  I was so excited!  The boys and I have always been fascinated by this aircraft and it was great to be able to see it in real life, and see it in action.  It was interesting to us that when in plane-mode it made the hum of a plane, and when in helicopter mode it made the chopping sound of helicopters.  We were amazed at how it could hover in a stationary position, and could even move backwards!  Ellery was especially taken by the Osprey and kept asking to go see it after the show.

MV-22 Osprey in helicopter mode

MV-22 Osprey in helicopter mode

The plane that Jon and I were most impressed and fascinated with was the F-18 Hornet though.  It was our first time seeing one and we found the movements it made very very unusual.  It almost seemed as if it was drifting in the sky, like how rally cars drift around corners.  When making overhead curves it also seemed to pull back a bit at the apex before heading downwards.  I think it would be quite an unpredictable and tricky opponent in a dog fight.

F-18 Hornet

F-18 Hornet

Another F-16 flew out and did an individual display to round up the morning aerial session.  When it was over we straightaway hurried to the Osprey so that we could go on it.  I was so happy to see that the queue was short, so we quite quickly had our chance to board the plane.  Ellery was super excited!  He even walked up to one of the pilots and said he wanted to be an Osprey pilot when he grew up.

The Osprey up close

The Osprey up close

Ellery with his Osprey

Ellery with his Osprey

Waiting to board the Osprey

Waiting to board the Osprey

Our turn!

Our turn!

Checking if the Osprey seats are comfortable

Checking if the Osprey seats are comfortable

The boys very much wanted to board the F-15s too but the queues were ridiculously long with waits of up to 2 hours.  In the midday heat we decided to head indoors to the exhibition area instead to cool off and have a bite.  The booths displaying aircraft models and showing videos of how their new weaponry worked in the field entertained the boys while we rested.  

Such a hot day that people took shelter in the shade of the wings of the C-17.  I was amused at how the crowd conformed exactly to the shadow of the wing :)

Such a hot day that people took shelter in the shade of the wings of the C-17. I was amused at how the crowd conformed exactly to the shadow of the wing :)

We were really looking forward to the next aerial display with the famed South Korean Black Eagles.  And they certainly did not disappoint!  We were impressed with our Singapore team, and though I love my country very much, I have to say we really got up-staged by the South Koreans!  They were incredible!  Where the Singapore team needed to disappear into some far away space to reorganise themselves into a new formation, the South Koreans could change formation in a short distance, mid-flight in front of the audience!  Sometimes they even changed into two different formations while on the same loop!  It was jaw-droppingly good.  There was also the visual appeal of the coloured red and blue contrails.  I was wondering whether each plane had two colours or only one.  If it was the latter, they must have really planned their formations well to ensure that the planes with the right colour smoke were in the right place to create the alternating stripes.  

Black Eagles arriving in style

Black Eagles arriving in style

They really qie-ed us (showed how much better they were) in every respect.  Besides the speed of their formation changes, there were other things.  We did a heart shape, they did a heart with an arrow.  We burst into a fan formation, did the shell and double helix, they did it with colours!  They even drew the Taeguk, a yin-yang pattern found in the middle of the South Korean flag.  The sky was also never empty when they were doing their display.  If the broke into two teams to do different formations, the second team would take over the instant the first was done.  To top it all off, they performed to a riveting soundtrack, there was commentary, and at times you could even hear the team leader over the sound system cuing the rest to change formation “NOW!” Wow wow wow.

Heart with arrow

Heart with arrow

Yin-yang

Taeguk – the yin-yang shape found on the South Korean flag

Tango

Tango

Diamond

Diamond

Another nice formation but I don't know the name

Another nice formation but I don’t know the name

The individual display for the USA F-16 just before the Black Eagles was also very awesome.  The pilot manoeuvred the plane to do some fantastic stunts like shooting straight up into the sky at an almost vertical incline.  He did a 9G turn that the boys still talk about until today.  There were spins, turns, fast fly-bys, slow passes with quick acceleration.  Very impressive.

I’m so glad we got a chance to catch the aerial displays.  They were really a highlight of the show for us.

After the second display we hurried to the F-15s for a chance to board the plane.  By then Ellery had fallen asleep from sheer exhaustion so I brought only Asher while Jon waited in the cool airconditioned area with Ellery.  The queue was miles shorter.  We only had to wait 30 minutes for our turn to board the F-15.  Asher was thrilled to get a chance to push the various buttons and press the button that would have fired off missiles at the enemy.  We then went to check out the Superpuma and the Chinook.

My skinny boy entertaining himself by crawling in and out of the gaps in the barrier

My skinny boy entertaining himself by crawling in and out of the gaps in the barrier

Preggers me attempting to do the same

Preggers me attempting to do the same

Completely absorbed by the experience

Completely absorbed by the experience

Shooting on the Superpuma

Shooting on the Superpuma

When Ellery woke he too wanted to get on the F-15.  By then the exhibition was ending already and many queues were closed.  Thankfully there were some nice pilots that let him sit in the plane for a short while – and he was all smiles :)

Super happy!

Super happy!

Testing out the Mistral surface-to-air missile

Testing out the Mistral surface-to-air missile

Ellery's turn

Ellery’s turn

The cherry on our cake was seeing the protoype F-35 Lightning.  My dad had shown us a video of this plane in testing before, and it was exciting to see it, even if it was just a model.

Model of the F-35 Lightening

Model of the F-35 Lightning

Cool jagged edge like the F-22

Cool jagged edges like the F-22

What an incredibly fun day!

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