science.09 – “Take off and Landing” at “Seletar Airport”

As part of A* (Agency for Science, Technology and Research) and Singapore’s Science Centre to promote science, the two bodies organised the annual Science month. I’ve never heard of it in the past year. I only recently know about it after reading reports on The Straits Times and a event’s guide on my school library.

Since I am interested in aviation, I participated in aviation-related events. There are only two actually. One of the event is “Take off and Landing” at “Seletar Airport”, organised by Singapore Polytechnic.

The event started at 9 am till 11 am. There were about 14 participants took part, mostly a group of five Sec 3 students from Bedok North Secondary and three teachers (I don’t know from which school).

At first, the lecturers brought us around the laboratories. There were lots of plane diecasts as well, mostly military and SIA’s aircraft. They also have aircraft engines (mostly turbofans) and a real aircraft (I guess it’s Cessna but it has no flying licencse).

After much talking about the facilities, the group then was separated into two. One group consisted of seven person went to see the grounded A-4 Skyhawk jet while the other played Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004. Now, if you’re interested in playing such games, you can visit Indoflyer’s Flight Simulator Section for more informations.

I went for flight simulation. We were supposed to fly Cessna 172 from Seletar Airport to Seletar Airport. But some people changed the aircraft. I was one of them. Instead I piloted Boeing 737-400 owned by one of America’s airlines.

My take off went smoothly despite “snow” in Singapore. The landing part was quite hard as my plane had a very steep landing in Johor. On my second attempt to land, however, thing was quite different. It was quite a smooth landing although I didn’t land in Senai Airport but on a clear field without crashing onto trees or house. The lecturer-in-charge then said “All passengers are safe.”

They taught some basic skills of handling an aircraft and physics such as force, pressure, yaw, roll etc. Also discussed was some requirements to be pilot (1.64 m, good eyesight etc).

Enough of Flight Simulator, then my group was brought to see A-4 Skyhawk.

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A radar is always put outside the aircraft. A stick pointing out of the tail is used to measure wind speed, pressure etc and it got more to do about computation.

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The cockpit is quite spacious with the brake still there. They say the aircraft is still useable.

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This is a photo of Dover MRT station.

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The nose of A-4

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I guess there is something missing here.

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A-4 Skyhawk is used by Singapore Air Force from the 1970s till 1990s. It is still useable but it was grounded to pave way for the arrival of F-16. Most air forces in the world but only the basic model of the aircraft. They then improved it by themselves. Why? To confuse enemy? Singapore is pouring hundred millions of dollars just for aircraft researches.

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Last shot of Uncle Skyhawk

All in all, it was a good experience. Perhaps I would enter the world of deskpilot (if I could). The other aviation related event is coming next week.

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