“Why doesn’t the U.S. host a world-class airshow?” It’s a question nearly as old as flight itself. In point of fact, the first recognized air fair per se was held outside Paris in 1909, just six years after the Wright Brothers’ first flight and a full five years before the airplane was about to come into its own as a weapon of war in nearby European skies.
As startling as the absence of current airliners from the Boeing stable was the gaping void created by the lack of any of Russia’s fearsome fighters in the flying display. Many observers felt that the show was the poorer for the lack of the thrust-vectoring wonders of Mikoyan and Sukhoi.
An all-new show site awaited visitors to Singapore for this year’s event. The Changi Exhibition Centre offers a host of advantages over the Asian Aerospace venue of years past. For one, the crowd is thrillingly close to the aerial display show line.
The air transport industry’s center of gravity is shifting to Asia and Singapore’s aerospace industry is poised to reap the benefit, the country’s prime minister said here yesterday before officially opening the show.
The Roulettes display team from Australia is providing a daily example of skilled flying in conditions that are sometimes quite demanding. In a marked contrast to the thunderous roar of the RSAF Black Knights display team, which features the Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter, the turboprop-powered Australian-built Pilatus PC-9A trainers are slower–and quieter.
Opening-day visitors to the inaugural Singapore Airshow will find a brand-new site fit for the newly revamped event. Even the land it sits on is new, reclaimed over the last 10 years from the waters of the Singapore Strait. And best of all, if things go according to plan, access should prove pretty much painless.
Streaking across the Changi skies in their sleek red-and-white F-16s, the Black Knights symbolize Singapore’s determination to boost this revamped, go-it-alone airshow. The team has re-formed for the first time since 2000. Be sure to catch their performance here this week, for it may not be repeated elsewhere.
Singapore’s Black Knights carves an arc in the skies above Changi as they demonstrate their skills for the airshow crowd. The Black Knights fly F-16 fighters.
The relaunched Singapore Airshow will stage its first event at a brand-new venue from February 19 to 24.
The number of trade days at the next Farnborough International Air Show (July 18 to 23, 2006) has been reduced from five to four. Instead of starting on Monday, as it has in the past, the event will run from Tuesday through Sunday, and the first four days will be reserved for professional visitors, while the weekend will continue to be set aside for the public. There is no officially designated media day.