Singapore Air Show

The Jupiters Fly Here Above Regional Politics

 - February 12, 2014, 12:25 AM
Meet the Jupiters aerobatic flight team. Rear, left to right: Maj. Ari Susiono; Maj. Feri Yunaldi; Maj. Sri Raharjo; Maj. Maecellinus Dirgantara; kneeling: Capt. Ripdho Utomo; Capt. Apri Arfianto.

They’re still here! The Indonesian Air Force Jupiter aerobatic team’s appearance has survived the current diplomatic spat between Singapore and Indonesia, caused by Jakarta’s naming of a new warship for two marines who bombed an Orchard Road building here in 1965. The pair were tracked down, put on trial and executed by Singapore, which is upset by the naming. Indonesia said that the Ministry of Defence here withdrew invitations to more than 100 of its military officers, to attend the airshow.

The Jupiters fly six KT-1B Woong Bee turboprop trainers made by KAI in Korea. The team is led by Major Feri Yunaldi, who says he is “very happy to be at the biggest airshow in Asean.” He and his fellow pilots are all instructors at the air force flying school in Jogjakarta, which has been using the KT-1B as a basic trainer since 2000. ‘Jupiter’ is their callsign, and also an abbreviation for Juru Pendidik Terbang, which means “air educators.”

The KT-1 competes with the Pilatus PC-9 and the Beechcraft T-6C on the international market, and all three look similar at first glance. KAI has sold 85 KT-1s to the Korean air force, and 40 to the Turkish air force, as well as the 17 to Indonesia. Another 20 armed KA-1s are in operational in Korea for close air support.

The Jupiters’ show opens with a formation roll and a loop, before the two solos break off. A series of graceful maneuvers follow, including the inevitable heart traced in smoke. The two solos rejoin the main formation for a ‘five cards loop’ and a ‘rollback’ pass along the flight line, before the show ends with a downwards bomb burst.