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ROYAL THAI AIRFORCE CHILDREN'S DAY OPEN HOUSE 2023

By Bryan Wong & Cornelius Kwok


 

After a 2 year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic that had been sweeping the globe, the Royal Thai Air Force's Children's Day Open House was back in full force. Instead of the Airshow taking place at Don Muang Air Force base, the open house was moved over to Kamphaeng Saen Aviation School. Nonetheless, the event featured a variety of aircraft on both aerial and static displays. Despite the aviation school being located about 2 hours away from Bangkok via car, the open house still managed to drum up a huge crowd.

 


Static Display

The Royal Thai Air Force TAI T-50TH was one of the show's main attractions this year. We were able to get up close and personal with the aircraft as she taxied into the hangar following her aerial display. The Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) T-50 Golden Eagle was developed in collaboration with Lockheed Martin, an American aerospace, arms, and defense manufacturer. The T-50 first flew in 2005, and it has many variants, including the T-50, advanced jet trainer, TA-50, lead in fighter trainer, and FA-50, light combat aircraft. The T-50 is powered by a single powerful General Electric F404 afterburning turbofan engine capable of producing up to 78.7kN of thrust and capable of flying at speeds of up to Mach 1.5.


KAI T-50TH Golden Eagle

The Royal Thai Air Force's Saab JAS 39 Gripen would be another highlight of this year's static display. The Saab JAS 39 Gripen is a light single-engine fighter produced by the Swedish aerospace defense company Saab AB. The canard wing configuration would be one of the Gripen's main features, providing additional lift and stability when flying. The Gripen has a powerful General Electric GE F414G engine that can produce up to 97.9kN of thrust and can fly at speeds of up to Mach 1.8. The Gripen employs advanced electronic warfare with spherical coverage and the most recent AESA technology, as well as Artificial Intelligence technology to aid the pilot's decision-making process and provide critical assistance in the midst of a complex mission.


Saab JAS 39C Gripen

Along with the KAI T-50TH and Saab JAS 39 Gripen, the Royal Thai Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16A Fighting Falcon, Fairchild AU-23A Peacemaker, and Dornier Alpha Jet A are on static display.


Lockheed Martin F-16A Fighting Falcon

Fairchild AU-23A Peacemaker

Dornier Alpha Jet A
Northrop F-5Th Super Tiger

With the arrival of the Royal Thai Air Force's Commander-in-Chief, we were also given the opportunity to see the Royal Thai Air Force's Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk and Lockheed C-130H Hercules in action.


Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk
Lockheed C-130H Hercules

Finally, the Royal Thai Air Force training aircraft were also on display, which included several cutting-edge general aviation aircraft such as the Pilatus PC-9, Beechcraft T-6 Texan II, and PAC CT-4E Airtrainer.


Beechcraft T-6 Texan II
Pilatus PC-9
PAC CT-4E

 

The Aerial display


First up were the Diamond DA-42, the Pacific Aerospace CT-4E, and the Pilatus PC-9 solo displays, the 3 trainer aircraft of the Royal Thai Airforce.


Diamond DA-42

PAC CT-4E

Pilatus PC-9

Right after the trainer aircraft had finished their aerial display, we were buzzed by an F-16BM from the 403rd Fighter Squadron based out of Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base.


Lockheed Martin F-16BM Fighting Falcon

Once the F-16BM had exited show center, a formation of 3 Fairchild AU-23 Peacemakers with smoke in the colours of the Thai flag entered show center.


Fairchild AU-23A Peacemaker

Up next was the combined F-16 and T-50 display. As part of the opening maneuver, both the F-16BMs and the T-50 made several orbits in front of the crowd. After this maneuver, the trio performed 3 simulated bombing runs with the Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit helping to simulate the explosions.


KAI T-50TH Golden Eagle

Lockheed Martin F-16BM Fighting Falcon

Once the F-16BMs and the T-50 had wrapped up their tactical demonstration, the Eurocopter EC-725 from the 203rd Helicopter Squadron swooped in for its search and rescue demonstration.


Eurocopter EC-725

Last but not least we have a JAS-39C Gripen solo display from the 701st Fighter Squadron based out of Surat Thani Airbase.


SAAB JAS-39C Gripen

With the Gripen closing off the aerial display, we made our way back to Bangkok and ended off an exciting day at the Royal Thai Air Force's Children's Day Open House. While the sudden change in venue did add to the hassle, it was definitely worth the additional travel. Hopefully, next year's event would see the return of the RTAF A340-500 and other transport aircraft from the 602 Royal Flight Squadron based out of Don Muang. Thank you all for reading and we hope you enjoyed our little showcase of the Royal Thai Air Force's Children's Day Open House 2023!


Cheers!

 

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