Before I proceed to talk about why I find the letter a not so clever one, let us take a look at the letter in question:
Why the need for so many copter flights?
I LIVE in Woodlands Drive 75 and in recent months, have noticed more helicopter flights coming from the Sembawang Air Base.
The helicopters pass very close to civilian buildings, and the noise from the rotors is loud enough to rattle the window grilles.
In the evenings, the noise level can get very stressful for residents who want some peace and quiet. It is even worse than living next to a busy highway.
I have given my feedback to the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) but nothing has been done to ease the concerns of residents here.
One afternoon, while working from home, I noticed that there were many flights taking place. Sometimes, a helicopter would pass by once every minute.
I looked out the window to check, and saw various helicopters taking off and landing after making one full circle.
At a time of escalating fuel costs and inflationary concerns, I wonder why there is a need for so many flights.
While I understand that the RSAF needs to be operationally-ready and that computer simulators cannot replace a real flight, surely the pilots can make more value-added, well-planned flights. After all, taxpayers here are paying for the higher fuel costs.
I wonder what is the real issue here. Is the citizen irritated because the window grills shook, and that the noise is unbearable, or that fuel costs are too high and hence flights should stop?
Actually there is no need for any SAF personnel to reply to him. Even I can point out a few things.
Firstly, stuff like these are supposed to be classified. You can’t expect the SAF to explain to you why they are making so many flights. Do they have to tell you who is using those helicopters? Let me just briefly use some common sense. Pilots use flights to gain experience. Helicopters can be used to ferry personnel? I believe that the Army uses helicopters too. Helicopters are more of a support unit as compared to fighter planes. Hence there is need for much training to get used to the helicopters.
Secondly, NDP is coming. They may be preparing for rehearsals of the route to take.
Thirdly, with connection to the first point, if you look at the Army website under the Guards vocation (^_^), we use helicopters for transport and even for heli rappelling. As and when possible, I suppose it is good to train us to be familiarized with helicopters, especially learning of communication with pilots blablabla? Sometimes the weather is not good and the helicopters fly back to base and we have to do the whole thing another day. That’s safety ma.
Lastly, the budget has been approved and whether fuel prices rise or not, the defense ministry got to work around the budget. Unless they apply for more funds, then we can come and question them to cut the amount of flights. As of now, they are using within their means like how they have been for the past few years. I don’t mind allowing them to train more, if that makes less accidents and problems during training. Imagine an entire chinook of army personnel dead. I rather spend more on training.
I believe the thing that should be asked is if the helicopters can be less of a nuisance to them. Rattling window grills is quite serious. Perhaps they could fly higher? That, I cannot answer. Operations classified, lah.