RMAF Open Day – 50th Anniversary

4 06 2008

On the occasion of it’s 50th Anniversary the Royal Malaysian Air Force opened it’s doors to the public and held both a static and an air show last Sunday, the 1st of June 2008. My posting a few days ago showed the pilots practicing for what I thought to be the upcoming Kings Birthday which falls on the 7th of June. The Open Day started at 8 a.m. with two 1 hour air shows in the program, one starting at 9 a.m and another at 2 p.m. I made my way to the Subang Air Force base in Shah Alam in the early afternoon hoping to catch the 2 p.m air show. I made it to their hangar apron just in time. As you can see quite a number of people turned up. This made taking pictures of the aircraft on static display very difficult.

If you haven’t heard the noise from a jet engine at full throttle, you might think your body was turning into jelly. Such is the power of their engines that even the noise emanating from them could do you serious damage. The skies were starting to darken with clouds as the show started, which made it great for pictures. I especially loved the Sukhoi SU30’s which Malaysia recently purchased from Russia amid plenty of controversy but we shan’t get into that now.

If you looked carefully in the first picture, you will see white “clouds” building up on the canard wings of the aircraft. Those were due to the canards positioned for high lift causing the water in the airflow above it to condense and show up as “clouds”. The second picture was taken a few seconds afterwards. Yup, that’s it going straight up! These aircraft reach “attack height” in the time you take to ask, “I say my good man, are those enemy aircraft I see on the horizon just there?”

Sukhoi whowing off its canard wing

Here is one of those canard wing shown up close. Together with a specially designed exhaust duct, the canards allow the aircraft to be highly manouverable.

Now compare that to the second military aircraft to join the RMAF, the Single Pioneer built by Scottish Aviation Ltd, Prestwick , Scotland.

It joined the RMAF in December of 1958. These were bought 2nd hand which makes them more than 50 years old. But yet this aircraft has STOL capabilties, an acronym coined by NATO only in 1964. It only needs a take off run of 75 yards and a landing run of 66 yards, meaning it can take off and land on your average football field. An hour later I would find myself taking shelter under its relatively enormous wings when it started to rain very heavily. A couple of RMAF personnel from the RMAF museum unlocked its doors and took refuge inside and allowed me to take the following picture of its cockpit.

Single pioneer cockpit

Single Pioneer Cockpit and Instruments

Can you recognise any of the instruments? The instruments found on modern aircraft are much more advanced but present essentially the same information. On the forward panel is the Attitude Indicator. No, it does not indicate how the aircraft felt that day. hahaha! To it’s left is Altimeter and below that is the Air Speed Indicator. Just have a look at how “fast” it flew. To the right of the Attitude Indicator is the Vertical Speed Indicator and below it is the Turn and Slip Indicator. Fuel gauges are found on the panel on the left and engine related indicators are on the panel on the right.

In my 19 years in the aviation industry this is the first time I am visiting the base. If you ever have the chance to visit an Air Force base I would strongly encourage you take advantage of the opportunity as they do not usually open their doors to the general public. And make sure you take your camera along if it is allowed.

Hercules C130

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