It has been 5 years since the last RSAF (Republic of Singapore Air Force) Open House in 2011. Needless to say, there is a huge buzz of excitement over this event that will be held at Paya Lebar Air Base this weekend, 21 & 22 May 2016 from 9am to 6pm. We were invited to a media preview of RSAF Open House earlier this week, and 3 year old MY has done a recce to see check out how kids-friendly the event is going to be. Without further ado, join us on a virtual preview of RSAF Open House to prepare yourself (and kids) for the real deal this weekend!
Let me start with what is most important:
DO NOT DRIVE THERE. Use Public Transport.
Private vehicles will NOT be allowed to enter Paya Lebar Air Base. In fact, there will be road closures around the camp during the open house.
The following roads will be closed from 6am to 8pm on 21 & 22 May 2016 for the open house:
- Airport Road after KPE exit leading to Paya Lebar Air Base
- Kim Chuan Road
Free shuttle bus will be ferrying visitors from Eunos Bus Interchange and Kovan Hub to Paya Lebar Air Base. USE THEM.
- Shuttle Buses will run from both locations from 8.30am to 5.30pm
- Shuttle buses depart at an interval of 10 minutes
- Last bus departs Paya Lebar Air Base at 7pm
SBS Bus No. 90 will continue to ply its usual route. You can alight at the bus stop for Air Force Musuem and walk to Paya Lebar Air Base from there.
Only taxis from the following companies will be allowed to drop visitors off at Paya Lebar Air Base:
- SMRT Taxis
- Prime Taxis
- Premier Taxis
This means that your Grab car kind of ‘taxi’ CANNOT bring you there.
Activities at RSAF Open House 2016
Ops Capabilities Demo a.k.a. Air Show
The Ops Capabilities Demo is a 30 minutes show that will happen twice a day and the one thing you definitely wouldn’t want to miss at RSAF Open House. It is scheduled at the following timings:
- 21 May 2016 (Sat) 10.30am and 2.30pm
- 22 May 2016 (Sun) 11.30am and 4.30pm
The timing may be subject to change depending on the weather. You are advised to check RSAF’s Facebook Page on updates regarding the show timing.
Grandstands have been set up so that you can sit comfortably to watch the show. But do go early to chope a seat.
The show uses a combination of live action and video snippets which will be screened via a huge projector screen.
Note that this is NOT your NDP style fly-by performance where fighter jets zoom across the sky in all types of formation. The show has a storyline which gives visitors an idea of the types of operations RSAF engages in.
During NDP, we only get to see the jets flying across the sky. But we never actually got to see how the planes get off. During this show, we got to witness the pilot getting onto the plane.
And the unsung heroes – ground crew who help to get the jet into the sky in the shortest possible time – at work.
The four jets taxi pass the grandstand before heading to the runway for take-off.
During the take-off, please put on ear plugs / ear phones and cover your kids’ ears if they refuse to put on the ear plugs. The roar from the jets when they are taking off is deafening.
We also got to see the
land transport ground based air defence weapons that are part of the operation.
Like I mentioned earlier, the show is made up of a mixture of live action and video. So while the jets were out of sight in the sky, our attention was turned to the video.
In the second segment, we were introduced the a helicopter mission.
Our well-loved chinook that carries the National Flag during NDP was carrying something else this time. MY couldn’t contain his excitement and this point and was like, “Mama!! The helicopter is carrying a car!! LOOK LOOK!! IT’S CARRYING A CAR!!!!”
Indeed. We held our breath as the chinook slowly lowered the car (okay, I’m quite sure car is not the right word to use here but I don’t know what the vehicle is called so I shall use MY’s word) to the ground safely.
And out of the rear came the soldiers, Descendants of the Sun style. Not.
The soldiers boarded the ‘car’ and drove past the grandstand.
And at the end of the show, we got to watch the jets landing back.
The next thing you can probably looking for at RSAF Open House is probably the static display.
There were I-Lost-Count-Of-How-Many planes on display!! Like 20?
It was like super awesome! From jumbo planes.
To smaller fighter planes.
land transport. ground based air defence weapons.
To our most beloved Black Knight.
It was super cool to be able to observe all the planes up close and even check out their weapon systems!
And yup, there were ramps for you to go up to the planes and even get into the cockpit!
Seriously. I cannot believe I missed the chance to get into the cockpit without having to queue?!! Long story that has something to do with a 3 year old with a constant urge to pee and poo. So don’t say I didn’t warn you. If you are bringing your kids, be prepared for ‘I need to pee’ moments just as it’s reaching your turn after you have queued for who-knows-how-long. So all I had at the end was this photo of us standing outside the cockpit. #BetterThanNothing
Weapon Arming Demonstration
This was MY personal favourite. Watching the airmen load weapons onto a fighter jet from up close.
It’s like people pay a premium to see what’s going on in the F1 pit? This was like the equivalence of the F1 pit action at RSAF Open House.
We watched in awe at how the team of Airmen quickly inspected the plane and loaded the weapon.
There were two exhibition halls which were air-conditioned. So you know where to go if it gets too hot or starts to rain. I only had time to explore Exbihibition Hall 2 which was so fun that MY didn’t want to leave it at all. (Though frankly I am not sure if he didn’t want to leave because it was fun, or because of the air-con.) In Exhibition Hall 2, there were many interactive exhibits for you to experience the various vocations in RSAF.
In the centre of exhibition hall 2 were two flight simulators. MY had fun crashing the plane. Beware Singapore if 15 years later, MY gets into the air force.
Find the enemy tank game
There were two computer terminals with a game that involved you moving a joystick around and switching between different camera views to try to find an enemy tank. MY failed terribly. I worried for the future of our nation.
Shoot the enemy planes down!
There was only 1 terminal for this and I think MY was controlling the artillery. On the computer screen, he had to lock on the targets and fire the missile, and on the TV screen on the wall, we could watch what was happening.
MY was talented at this. He played it twice and shot down both planes each time. Mindef, if you are reading this 15 years later, please assign MY to artillery.
Air Warfare Officer
You can experience being an air traffic controller. I thought the screens looked pretty realistic! MY was too short for this, so pass.
There was a pretty cool looking computer game at the section called Radar Control. We ran out of time to try it because MY was too busy shooting down planes.
Air Force Engineer
This virtual reality activity is the longest (20 minutes) and can only accommodate one participant at a time. Children will probably need to be at least like upper Primary school age to be able to understand the instructions and participate.
Bystanders can get a glimpse of what the participant is seeing through a TV screen at the side.
I checked with them how the queue for this would be managed since each participant is expected to spend 20 minutes here and they said they would probably issue queue number. So if you are keen to try out this activity, head to Exhibition Hall 2 early to get a queue number before you proceed to check out other activities.
Oh COME ON… I bet this is going to be like a HOT FAVOURITE among kids. Getting to dress in actual RSAF uniforms – kids sized!
The uniforms weren’t ready yet during the media preview (BUMMER!!) but there was a sign that said your kids should be at least 0.95m to look good in the uniform.
Exhibition Hall 1
All the activities I showed you above was in Exhibition Hall 2. I didn’t have the time to check out Exhibition Hall 1, but according to the briefing, there should be an Omni Theatre and some other stuff there. Argh! Why don’t you go there and tell me what’s in Exhibition Hall 1?
During the actual event, there will be a carnival for kids. You can expect to find:
- Aviation-related console games for teenagers
- Drone flying
- Carnival game stores with aircraft model prizes to be won
- Kids Zone designed for children 3 to 6 years old
Throughout the two days, there will be exciting shows by:
- SAF Red Lions Parachute Team
- K9 Military Dogs
- SAF Music & Drama Company
There will also be a dining hall for you to fill your tummies during the day.
If you knew nothing about the Aircraft Rides at RSAF Open House, it is too late now. Balloting for this has ended already. If you had balloted, you will receive a notification by SMS if you won. Note that photography during the aircraft rides is strictly prohibited. It’s for the security of our country, so please abide.
We hope everyone will have a BLAST (pun intended) at RSAF Open House 2016! To summarise, here are some of our tips for you if you are visiting:
- The Open House starts at 9am. Be there early. Shuttle bus from Eunos Bus Interchange and Kovan Hub starts running at 8.30am. Last bus departs PLAB at 7pm.
- Ditch the car.
- Apply Sunblock. Wear a cap. Bring umbrella / poncho. We have no idea how the weather is going to be.
- Bring lots of water to stay hydrated while you queue for the static displays under the hot sun or wait for the Ops Capabilities Demo show.
- Check RSAF Facebook Page for timing for the Ops Capabilities Demo Show.
- Bring ear plugs / ear phones for the show.
- Have fun, be patient in the queue. Don’t cut queue.
- Be gracious to the airmen and women should anything not go your way. They have worked very hard for this.
- For the social media savvy, official hashtag for the event is #ROH16
- There is a nursing room in a tent between Exhibition Halls 1 and 2.
Information on RSAF Open House 2016:
Dates: 21 – 22 May 2016 (Sat – Sun)
Time: 9am to 6pm
Venue: Paya Lebar Airbase
Getting there: See start of the post
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