From February 6th to the 11th, Changi Exhibition Centre was home to the Singapore Airshow 2018. This year, the air show featured a wide range of new aircraft, as well as some familiar planes though previously seen, but still welcomed at the exhibition this year. As with previous years, Trade days lasted on the first 4 days, from the 6th to the 9th, with the bulk of most commercial planes taking up the static display and exhibition space. Public days on the 10th and 11th Feb sadly saw a reduction in the plane numbers, with most of the commercial airliners gone, leaving behind a cool and awesome display of military fighters from the RSAF, USAF, RMAF, and RAAF. With so many exciting planes to see and superb aerial flying performances to behold, one might find it hard to choose a favourite among so many items at the Airshow. For myself, after some reflection and look back, I have listed my top 5 picks for the Singapore Airshow 2018.
TOP 5 PICKS
(1) AIRBUS A350-1000
This has got to be the most popular civilian display at the Airshow this year, and most certainly the largest. With Boeing having no commercial planes on display at the airshow, the static display area was dominated by this large sleek beauty of a plane, surrounded by small tiny private jets. The -1000 is the largest variant of the highly successful A350 series, with a 7m long extension and roughly 40 more seats as compared to the -900 XWB. The plane also features a slightly larger wing, and a 6 wheel bogie instead of 4 for the main landing gear, making her a modern replacement for her predecessor, the A340-600. The first airline to operate and launch the A350-1000 is Qatar, with more Airlines in support of this magnificent variant of an already well design plane.
(2) LOCKHEED MARTIN F-35
Previous Years had seen a mockup of the highly anticipated F-35 Lightning II on display, surrounded by visitors curious to get close and see what this next generation stealth fighter looks like in person. Well this year, the F-35 Lightning II makes its first debut at the Singapore Airshow, as 2 fighters from the United States Marine Corps participate in the static display portion of the air show. And they do not disappoint. Even though I couldn't get close to the fighters on display, they sure do look awesome, and I finally get to strike the F-35 off my list of planes I always wanted to see. Maybe in 2020, we can get to see them do some death-defying aerial displays, showing off their capabilities and what sets them apart from the competition.
(3) SAAB JAS 39 GRIPEN
A first timer to the Singapore airshow is the Royal Thai Air Force's Saab JAS 39 Gripen. The Gripen is a single engined light multi-role fighter, with a delta wing and canard configuration, giving her speed and agility. Different models of Gripens were deployed to the Airshow, with the two seater D-variant on static display while the single seater C-variant took part in the aerial performances. Both were a welcome sight to see, as few Singaporeans would ever have the chance to see the Gripen in action unless attending the Airshow in Thailand. The aerial display was particularly impressive, with the plane showing off some tight manoeuvres, precision control and versatility in the design of the aircraft.
(4) RSAF 50 LIVERY F-15SG EAGLE
Now this plane caught the cheers and eyes of many people, instilling in us Singaporeans a sense of patriotism and service as the plane was revealed by our President Halimah Yacob on the second day of the Air show. 2 F-15SGs were painted in this special commemorative livery, with one on display and the other flying in formation with 2 F-16s performing some awe inspiring stunts that wowed us all. The bright blue colours of the F-15 brightened up the sky, giving us a special treat commemorating the RSAF's 50 years of protecting our airspace and the people of Singapore.
(5) SUKHOI SU-30MKM FLANKER
Of all the aerial displays, this one is my personal favourite. Second time in Singapore, the Royal Malaysian Air Force SU-30MKM is an impressive machine. Sleek in aesthetic, lethal in aerial prowess, the Flanker is a super manoeuvrable fighter designed by Russia's very own Sukhoi Company, and is world famous for her combat capabilities and being able to pull off manoeuvres other planes can only dream of. For myself, I love the Flanker's design. Its organic sleek lines makes the plane look elegant and fast, and ever so stylish as compared to her counterparts. In the air, the plane is equally impressive, performing the famous cobra manoeuvre and falling leaf manoeuvre, feats which left the crowd stunned and in awe. My only wish was to get up close with one on display, but alas, the RMAF only dispatched a single SU-30MKM to the airshow, just as they did in 2016. One could only hope for a static display Flanker at the 2020 Airshow.
SNIPPETS OF THE AIRSHOW
Of course, besides the 5 items listed above, there are plenty of other interesting sights worth mentioning that was on display at the Singapore Airshow 2018, just that its so many, its not possible to list them all out. So have a browse through the gallery below and enjoy what was seen at the airshow this year. Now the countdown shall begin till the next one in 2020!