01 Maret 2011

Twisting Through the Skies at the Avalon Airshow

01 Maret 2011

MAJ Too soaring through the skies in the F-16 for his aerial display at the Avalon Airshow. (photo : Mindef)

The S-Climb, the Quadruple Roll and the High-Gravity Turn. These are just some of the thrilling aerial manoeuvres that F-16 pilot Major (MAJ) Desmond Too will perform at the 2011 Australian International Airshow and Aerospace & Defence Exhibition.

Also known as the Avalon Airshow, the exhibition is being held at Avalon Airport in Victoria, Australia, from 1 to 6 Mar.

Alongside an international array of participants from other military forces, the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) is participating for the first time with a daily solo aerial display in the airshow, as well as static displays of two Super Puma helicopters and one F-16C Fighting Falcon.

MAJ Too, who also serves as detachment commander of the 40-odd RSAF contingent at the airshow, is no stranger to putting up an exciting show for big crowds. With over 1,000 hours of flying training under his belt, he has also flown in aerial displays at exhibitions such as the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition in 2009, and the Singapore Airshow in 2010.

RSAF's F-16C (photo : clearskies image)

Describing the most challenging aspect of his performance, MAJ Too noted that his last manoeuvre, the Vertical Spiral, was also the most difficult.


When performing the Vertical Spiral, MAJ Too typically starts with a speed of 500 knots, but as his plane climbs, the pull of gravity affects the aircraft - which is spinning as it ascends vertically - causing the speed to eventually decrease to about 200 knots.


The smooth and seemingly effortless movement of the aircraft soaring through the skies belies the hard work and effort behind his performance.

Said MAJ Too: "After flying the aircraft for so many hours in training, it feels like the aircraft is an extension of myself. This helps me to perfect the manoeuvres faster, and every manoeuvre that I do is sharper because of our regular operational training back in Singapore."


The RSAF's Super Puma helicopter (photo : Jetphotos)

MAJ Too had previously completed his basic wing course in 1999 at the RSAF Flying Training Institute in the Royal Australian Air Force Base Pearce. He returned to the same air base in 2005 to serve as an F-16 flying instructor for about one and a half years.

"I value the opportunity to perform at Avalon because I was here in my younger days, about 14 years ago. It’s a great pleasure to represent the RSAF and Singapore, and come back here to perform for the Australian public," he added.

This year's airshow is the tenth in its series and also the centrepiece of celebrations for the 90th Anniversary of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

The RSAF's participation in the Avalon Airshow reflects the close and long-standing ties between the two air forces. The RAAF had participated with its aerobatics team and F-111 aircraft for static and flying displays at the Singapore Airshow in 2008 and 2010, while the RSAF is a regular participant in
Exercise Pitch Black, a multilateral air exercise hosted by the RAAF.

(Mindef)

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