Asia’s biggest aerospace event concluded two weeks ago, and I had the privilege to be there for all six days. During trade days, I had the chance to meet delegates from all over the world and converse with them about airport operations and the latest aviation technology. On public days, I squeezed in with the crowd to observe the stunning static and aerial display at Changi Exhibition Centre. If you missed the biennial event, here are the highlights of the Singapore Airshow 2018.
Smart Digital Tower For Safer Air Traffic
According to Gregory Nelson, assistant director of MITRE Asia Pacific Singapore, air traffic is expected to double in the next 15 years. How would the Seletar and Changi Airport Control Towers manage the higher demand? This is where Smart Digital Tower, a joint development by Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and MITRE, come into play to better situational awareness and enhance safety.
Cameras are deployed at runways, including blind spots, to provide a digitised, real-time feed. Employing advanced video stitching technology in the Smart Digital Tower improved visual surveillance. Planes are virtually tagged with data including altitude and speed to monitor flights even in hazy weather. With just one digital tower, two control tower operations are integrated into one, making coordination much smoother. All these translate into a safer and more efficient taking off and landing of aircrafts.
What I was most impressed with is the use of Artificial Intelligence to predict collisions like vehicles obstructing the path of a plane. The Tower will highlight the potential collision in red, allowing air traffic controllers to relay the information to drivers and pilots. After talking to pilots and air traffic controllers, I learnt that monitoring by the human eye is not foolproof, so the use of AI is like a safety net.
The Canon M100’s Static Display Brings Me Up Close to Fighter Jets
I took the Canon M100 along, a compact mirrorless camera that produces quality pictures like a DSLR, while I checked out the static displays. It was my first time seeing fighter jets up close, let alone sit in one! It was an almost cloudless day, so I set a fast shutter speed to make sure that the pictures are not overexposed before handing the M100 over to get a picture in the RSAF F-16D+ with a friend in the air force.
With so many planes to capture on camera and trying to spend as little time roasting under the sun as possible, I used the nifty Scene Intelligent Auto to snap quickly. I amassed pictures of a myriad of planes from different countries, including the F22 from the United States Air Force (USAF), a plane capable of flying at a speed exceeding 2.0 Mach (twice the speed of sound).
I was accompanied by a photographer, Liu Zheng Qi, who used the Canon EOS 70D to capture the true stars of Airshow: the pilots. He caught up with the Royal Thai Air Force and USAF.