Close quarters: RSAF details NDP11 flight plan

Singaporeis perhaps unique among major cities in the sheer amount of firepower oneroutinely sees overhead. From my home in the west I often see RSAF Apaches,Chinooks, and Hercules. With the Apaches I can’t help but wonder if the 30mmcannon is loaded.

From the Flightglobal office in Changi Business Park I frequently seeF-16s rising out of Changi air base. Throughout the day there is usually aC-135 or two, as well some Fokker F-50s. The C-135s don’t follow an airlinerflight path: sometimes they stay low and head due south, other times they bankleft out over the sea.

All this air traffic can rile the Malaysians, who are but ashort swim away across the Johore Straits. They have complained aboutincursions into their aerospace, which Singapore tends to refute.

The problem, of course, is the limited size of Singaporeairspace. The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore has given some idea of theconstraints the air force operates under in a document on its web site thatdetails the holding areas and routes the air force will use for the SingaporeNational Day parade fly-past on 9 August 2011.

One chart in the CAAS document details the primary andbackup holding areas for the parade. The second details flight routes into thecity center. Given recent complaints from Malaysia,it is interesting to see the route from Fighter Holding Area B, which crossesabove Pulau Ubin just inside Singaporeterritory.

The brief moments Singaporeans enjoy the fly-past givelittle indication of the logistics, planning, and (dare I say) tremendousexpense that goes into the effort. 

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