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Super Skyhawk Touches down at Singapore Polytechnic

Singapore Polytechnic is the first tertiary institution to receive the go ahead for a permanent loan of an A4 Super Skyhawk from the RSAF.

 

Singapore Polytechnic is the first polytechnic in Singapore to offer a aero-related course with School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering's Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering (DARE). The diploma was started three years ago in July 2002 and saw the first batch graduating on Wednesday, 27 July 2005 at 5.30pm at our annual Graduation Ceremony. The course aims to produce engineering technologists to be trained as Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineers to meet the growing needs of the aerospace industry.

 

DARE is also taught part-time on a 5-year basis. Students could be employed potentially by airlines, air transport operators, aerospace industry sector and Republic of Singapore Air Force. SP has forged close working relationships with the RSAF over the last 30 years, and we have helped train officers, warrant officers and specialists with the offering of the Aerospace Engineering and Management Course. 20 RSAF personnel recently graduated on 24 June 2005 as the fourth batch of this 1-year full-time course.

 

The attraction of DARE is that an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer's License is granted by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) on passing of all necessary basic license and aircraft type examinations inclusive of relevant work experiences. The basic licence examinations for the Airframe and Engine categories comprise of 13 examination papers. DARE at SP is accredited by CAAS and its graduates may be exempted for up to 11 of the 13 papers. Licence Aircraft Maintenance Engineers are hands-on engineers who check, inspect and certify aircrafts prior to flights.

 

With the arrival of the decommissioned Skyhawk, courtesy of the RSAF, countless teaching and learning possibilities await our lecturers and students. Imagine sitting in the cockpit of the fighter jet and experiencing the claustrophobic environment of a pilot. Not many have gotten into one, and students of DARE will definitely be more appreciative of their tutorials. With the Skyhawk, our students would have opportunities to simulate the job responsibilities of a licensed engineer and learn more rigorously. Such experiential learning is what SP aims to inculcate in her curriculum.

 

SP has already set aside a location for the Skyhawk. It is strategically located atop a 6-storey high breezy hillock with a specially constructed open-concept hangar near Teaching Block 19. Imagine conducting a lesson on Fundamentals of Flight at the hillock. It will be a wholesome and immersing experience, which will enhance the learning journey of DARE students in SP. MRT commuters passing by Dover MRT station will also get to see the Skyhawk in its glory very visibly.

 

"The Skyhawk will be displayed at the Outdoor Training Platform, and students will be able to perform checks and inspections on the various aircraft systems within. In addition, we aim to use the aircraft to inculcate safety awareness to students when they work on an aircraft.

 

With an actual aircraft, students will learn the right perspectives in aircraft servicing. It will be different from training boards or aircraft components in the classrooms. We believe students will be more motivated when they service or inspect a real aircraft. Moreover, it will be easier and more realistic for students to relate to various systems on a real aircraft.'

 

"RSAF did not impose any conditions on SP except for the regular maintenance of the aircraft in a presentable state and the Skyhawk is to be used only as a teaching facility for SP students," elaborated Mr Cheong Choon Kee, Lecturer-in-charge at the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering's Aeronautical Engineering Laboratory.

 

Elaborating further, Mr R Ganesh, Section Head, School of Mechanical and Manufacturing said, "I teach Fundamentals of Flight, and I do look forward to using the A4 as my training aid. I will be able to demonstrate the workings of the aircraft control surfaces, flaps, slats, etc. I will also be able to better explain the concepts for mass and aerodynamic balancing of control surfaces.'

 

It's not everyday that you see a Skyhawk on the streets. And it wasn't a surprise that the media grabbed at the chance to cover the move of the Skyhawk from Tengah Air Base to Singapore Polytechnic on 5 Oct 2005. While the rest of us slept, SP staff like Mr Ganesh and Mr Cheong were readying the plane for the move at 12.30 am. All in all, the Super Skyhawk took some 2 hours to make the journey to SP while the media played leap frog to capture the whole move.

 

It was not until 9 am in the morning that the Super Skyhawk was hoisted from the trailer to the special Outdoor Training Platform. Due to the size of the aircraft, the Skyhawk had been disassembled into two pieces. The fuselage section was hoisted first and winched into place followed by the wing section. The whole process took some five and a half hours to complete after which the two sections were mated and reassembled in our new outdoor Aircraft Training Facility prominently overlooking the whole SP campus. Perched on a hill, commuters from the MRT line will now be greeted by the A4 Super Skyhawk.

 

Like a proud grandparent, a beaming Mr Ong Eng Chan, Director, School of MM, was on hand to welcome his new baby along with staff and students from MM and the local media.

 

It is not everyday that you see such a sight.

 

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