Last week I was in Singapore to attend Singapore Airshow 2014. Ever since I had my first taste of an air show in Farnborough, England back in summer of 2012, I have been looking forward to attend another one. Touted as one of the biggest and best air shows in Asia, Singapore Airshow 2014 seemed to be the perfect choice. Excited, I went down south to the island republic by an overnight train from Kuala Lumpur, looking forward to mainly watch the aerobatic flying display shows. They have 2 shows a day during the public days.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, I arrived late at the Singapore Expo Hall 7 where the ticket and security checks were done for visitors taking the shuttle bus to Changi Exhibition Centre, the air show site. The queue was almost non-existent at the time and the arrangement for the shuttle bus worked seamlessly. So kudos for that. Unfortunately, I was still late and didn’t get to the air show site until around noon which means that the first aerobatic flying display show, the morning show, was already over.
I met with Fariz of Out of the Box, Up and About briefly before checking out the static display under the scorching hot sun while Fariz, with his head covered in red and white keffiyeh, went inside to the exhibition hall for the trade booths. Having been to Farnborough Air Show in 2012, I couldn’t help but start comparing it with Singapore Airshow 2014. There were not as many aircrafts for the static display at the Singapore show and the few that they had were mostly of military types and private/ business jets. There was no commercial passenger jet at all. The star attractions, Qatar Airways’ Dreamliner B787 and the brand new Airbus A350 were there but only on trade days, not during public days, so the general public missed out on them.
The main highlight of the static display on the day was US Air Force’s C17. I didn’t see any flying display team at the static display area. Despite this, there were plenty of interactive activities for visitors especially those that involved Singapore Air Force's aircrafts.
After a quick and simple brunch (we wanted to buy a pizza but there was a 40-minute wait for it, that is after queuing for the counter and upon placing an order!) we moved to the area facing a river where they would do the aerobatic flying display. Unlike at the Farnborough, they don’t have an airstrip at Changi Exhibition Centre itself so we didn't get to see all the taking offs and landings.
First up was the C17. With commentary from the US Air Force team themselves, the C17 showed some impressive moves, surprisingly without all the noise one would expect of an aircraft its size. I was quite thankful for that because I had forgotten to bring my ear plugs despite my own advice for the Farnborough Air Show, heh! :)
And then, it was the turn of South Korea’s Black Eagles team.
After some 30 minutes, the MC for the event announced that that was the end of the aerobatic flying display for the afternoon. I was like, what? Is that it?? Just 2 teams?? And I came all the way from Kuala Lumpur for just that? It turned out that the morning show was longer, at about 1 hour, and involved four teams, which were totally different from the two involved in the afternoon show. I’m not sure of the reason for the shorter show in the afternoon. They could have combined and included all the teams in each show and no one would have complained about it. They had the same aerobatic display shows in the morning and afternoon at Farnborough. Okay, I actually knew about the shorter and smaller show in the afternoon (they have this information available on their website) but hey, didn’t I say that I couldn’t help but compare the two air shows? ;)
Fariz left soon after while I moved into the exhibition halls to check out some of the booths. There were quite a few booths in the halls, a lot more than what was offered to the general public at Farnborough in 2012. A few of the booths offered freebies like tags, pins and bags but most asked you to show proof that you have liked their Facebook page, which is nice if you have roaming data package, that is. They did have a Wi Fi area but it covered just a small area towards the back of the Exhibition Halls, far away from most booths that offered freebies.
Overall, it was a good day out at Singapore Airshow although how I wished the aerobatic flying display shows were longer and involved a lot more teams.
For more information:
- I bought the ticket (SGD22 + SGD3 SISTIC booking fee) at one of SISTIC’s agents in Kuala Lumpur, Holiday Tours & Travel Sdn. Bhd. Tickets however could be bought online and picked up at any of SISTIC’s agents whether in your locality (if they have one) or in Singapore itself. There was no ticket on sale at either Singapore Expo Hall 7 or Changi Exhibition Centre.
- Singapore Airshow Official Website
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