jan 09

                                        RSAF Safety Magazine Issue 58

         RESCUE AT SEA:

           Always Respect The Weather

           WHIP Efforts In The RSAF

           Maintaining The Unmanned –
           The CARDINAL Way To
           A Safe Transformation
                                                                                 Always Respect The Weather

                                                                                 WHIP Efforts In The RSAF

                                                                                 Maintaining The Unmanned –
                                                                                 The CARDINAL Way To A Safe Transformation

                                 1         Foreword
                                 2         Rescue At Sea: Professionalism & Team Excellence
                                 7         Always Respect The Weather
editorial board                  10        Recognizing Weather And It’s Hazards

CHAIRMAN                         14        Know Your CSOs
COL Ng Chee Keong                15        WHIP Efforts In The RSAF
                                 20        My Perspective
MEMBERS                          21        Maintaining The Unmanned – The CARDINAL Way To A Safe
MAJ Denzil Titt                            Transformation
MAJ Sudha
                                 24        Cardinal And Safety
MAJ William Sim
                                 27        CAF Quarterly Safety Forum
MAJ (Dr.) Chua Choon Guan
CPT Khoo Pak Syn                 28        AFI Safety Workshop (ASW)
MR Edward Pang                   28        Outstanding Safety Award
MS Audrey Siah
                                 29        Focus Quiz
                                 29        Feedback
MS Tan Jia Yin                  Focus is published by Air Force Inspectorate, HQ RSAF, for accident prevention purpose. Use of information contained herein
                                for purposes other than accident prevention, requires prior authorisation from AFI. The content of FOCUS are of an informative
                                nature and should not be considered as directive or regulatory unless so stated. The opinions and views in this magazine are
                                those expressed by the writers and do not reflect the official views of the RSAF. The contents should not be discussed with
                                the press or anyone outside armed services establishment. Contributions by way of articles, cartoons, sketches and photographs
Assistant / Photographer        are welcome as are comments and criticisms.

2WO Steven Goh                                   Focus magazine is available on these sites:   http://afi.rsaf.mindef/afi/index.html [intranet]

Graphic Design & illustration
PublishCom (S) Pte Ltd          2007-2-1606     OHS-2007-0179
     By COL Ng Chee Keong
     Head Air Force Inspectorate

The RSAF has evolved into a 3rd Generation capability that is able to deter and when required, secure
a quick and decisive victory for the SAF. In order for the RSAF to meet its mission imperatives, it is
important that safety is not compromised. The safety culture of the RSAF must continue to keep pace
with our operational capabilities. At the last safety forum, we recognised that Cardinal plays a key role
in promoting safety during training as well as operations. To reiterate, Competencies, Commitment
and Core values are identified as essential attributes that we seek to imbue in our people to ensure
standards and improve CRM. Yes, every airman in the RSAF is valued; will be developed and engaged.

As we step into a new year, let us remember the lessons that we have learnt. Going forward, we need
to recognise that while the RSAF has a strong safety management system, the individual is still key
to accident prevention. Together as a team, we can make 2009 an accident free year. Let us make it

 RSAF Safety Magazine Issue 58        jan 09

                                    By: LTC Chew Chee Mun, CO 125 SQN

                                       LTC Chew Chee Mun is the Commanding Officer of 125 Sqn and is a helicopter
                                         pilot by vocation. His previous appointments include Branch Head in Air Plans
                                           Department and Officer Commanding in 125 Sqn. He attended the German
                                              Command and Staff College and holds a Masters of Science from the MIT
                                                Sloan School of Management

Introduction                                               the winchman SSG Alvin Phua were all senior
                                                           aircrew with much operational experience. Over
125 Squadron currently provides 24/7 Search                at 1 Medical Squadron, the duty doctor CPT (Dr)
and Rescue coverage. While the capabilities                Leow Wei Qiang and medic 3SG Nicholas Tan also
and the advanced flight control systems of the             reported for their shift.
AS332 Super Pumas have definitely contributed
to the many successful missions carried out                The Mission
thus far, it is the men and women behind these
machines that are instrumental in performing the           The crew's uneventful Sunday was interrupted by
challenging life-saving operations. The recent high        a call at 2130H informing them of a possible long-
seas rescue on Sunday 22 Sep 2008 is a further             range casualty evacuation mission to recover
testimony to the operational readiness and high            an unconscious seaman with a weakening pulse
standard of professionalism of these airmen.               onboard a commercial ship. The seaman was in
                                                           a critical state after having been unconscious
Background                                                 since 2000H that evening. However, as the ship
                                                           was still beyond R10’s operational range, R10
The Rescue 10 (R10) crew reported for duty                 was not immediately scrambled for the rescue.
that Sunday at 1200H. MAJ Willy Lee and his                Nevertheless, the R10 crew immediately started
crew comprising the co-pilot CPT Ng Swee                   planning for the rescue based on the available
Wen, the winch-operator 2WO Elangovan and                  information.

Executing a long-range high seas rescue in the
middle of the night is already a very challenging
operation. In addition, the weather over
Singapore, enroute and at the ship’s location
were all unfavourable. Specifically, a squall line,
which was developing into thunderstorm cells,
was moving easterly towards Singapore from the
Malacca Straits. Severe thunderstorm activities
in the South China Sea (SCS) area were also
moving southwards towards Singapore. The ship
also reported that it was in Sea State 5 (SS5)
                                                              Winching operations. A unique view.
conditions. All these implied that the demanding
night high seas rescue operation would be made
even more challenging as the SAR crew would                 After assessing the criticality of the casualty’s
also have to contend with the adverse weather               condition and the complexity of the mission, CPT
conditions throughout the entire flight.                    (Dr) Chan Meng Fai who was off-duty, volunteered
                                                            to replace the medic. This configuration of two
Based on these considerations, the SAR crew                 doctors, instead of the usual one doctor and
developed an initial plan in consultation with              one medic, served to significantly enhance the
the Squadron Executive Officer (SXO) and the                medical support capability of the entire SAR
Command Executive Officer (CXO), who were                   team.
both recalled back to base in view of the
impending launch. After careful consideration,              The Launch
it was assessed that the bad sea state and
weather conditions at the ship were unsafe for              As the planned launch time approached, the
the mission and the earliest take-off would be              rapidly advancing squall line from the Malacca
around 0130H.                                               Straits also affected Singapore as forecasted.

The SAR crew- (from left):
Front row – CPT (Dr) Chan Meng Fai, SSG Alvin Phua, 2WO Elangovan
Back row – MAJ Willy Lee, CPT Ng Swee Wen, CPT (Dr) Leow Wei Qiang                                        3
RSAF Safety Magazine Issue 58      jan 09

                                                     Casualty evacuation in poor weather conditions at night.

After carefully considering the condition of       constantly checked on each other for signs of
the casualty, the impact of weather on the         fatigue, as they were keenly aware that they were
operation, the experience level of the crew, the   executing one of the most challenging missions at
possible contingencies and the overall safety of   the lowest point of their circadian rhythm.
the operation, the CXO and SXO in consultation
with the entire SAR crew, decided not to further   Once communication with the ship was established
delay the launch for the mission. To make sure     at about 40 nm to the ship, the pilot immediately
that safety was not compromised, a clear No-       instructed the ship to turn on all her lights for
Go criteria for the mission was established        easy identification. After almost an hour in IMC,
and communicated to the crew. Specifically,        the crew finally broke cloud at 500 feet and
the rescue effort must be terminated if the        approximately 5 nm from the ship. As anticipated,
cloud base came lower than 300ft at the area       the area of operation was in sea state 4, heavy
of operation and if the winching operations        rain, poor visibility and very low light illumination.
could not be safely conducted due to the bad
sea state. R10 eventually took off in Lightning    The Rescue
Category 11 conditions at 0200H.
                                                   Once overhead the ship, R10 conducted a quick
Enroute                                            recce to ascertain the optimal approach path and
                                                   hovering position based on the ship’s structures
As expected, R10 went into Instrument              and wind conditions. During the operation, the
Meteorological     Conditions     (IMC)  and       pilot encountered great difficulty hovering due
turbulence soon after take-off. Due to the         to strong wind, heavy rain and the lack of visual
interference from the inclement weather, R10       cues. The heaving deck also posed a challenge.
lost communications with Singapore Radar           Failing to maintain a steady hover could be
at about 60 nm from Singapore. However, as         disastrous to the winchman, doctor and casualty.
the Rendevous Point (RV) had already been          In the worst case situation, the hoist cable could
pre-arranged, R10 proceeded on with the last       get entangled with the ship’s structure causing
given vector from Singapore Radar and relied       the helicopter to roll over and crash. To achieve a
on the handheld GPS and aircraft systems for       better Field Of View (FOV) and visual reference for
navigation. During the transit, the crew also      hovering, the flying pilot and the winch-operator
                                                          Lightning Category 1 is defined as high lightning risk.
decided to conduct their operations without           General Hospital (SGH). Given the bad weather on
Night Vision Goggles (NVG limits the FOV to           the recovery route, R10 had no choice but to again
40°degrees) while the co-pilot remained on NVG.       fly in IMC. As there was still no communications
While it was unorthodox, this 'mixed-cockpit’         with Singapore Radar, R10 also elected to
flying arrangement struck a better balance            transit higher hoping to increase the chance of
between operational effectiveness and safety          establishing line-of-sight communications as early
by allowing the crew maximum accuracy during          as possible with Singapore Radar. Unfortunately,
night hovering operations in adverse weather          the bad weather also disrupted the signals to
conditions.                                           their GPS receiver and the crew could only rely
                                                      on the onboard navigational systems for help.
As the RV point was at the limits of R10’s range,     Essentially, while rushing the casualty to SGH,
the on-scene time was limited. The adverse            R10 was caught in turbulent weather without the
weather and the casualty’s conditions implied that    ability to see nor hear, and had limited navigational
the SAR crew had only one chance to extricate         capabilities.
the casualty. Given thus, the winch-operator
and winchman decided to modify the winching           Meanwhile inside the cabin, the doctors
procedure to save time. By winching down the          were trying frantically to revive the casualty
stretcher at the same time as the doctor during       through CardioPulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).
the initial winch, the crew effectively reduced the   Unfortunately, external chest compressions,
number of winch by one and saved five precious        intravenous drugs, airway management and
minutes. Although this deviated slightly from         artificial ventilation delivered continuously and
the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), the          tirelessly in the confines of a dark and turbulent
captain agreed to the proposal after considering      helicopter cabin by the two doctors were still in
the experience level of the ACS and the criticality   vain.
of the casualty.
                                                      The helicopter managed to re-establish
The Recovery                                          communications with Singapore Radar at about
                                                      55 nm northeast from Singapore. Given the bad
After extricating the casualty, R10 immediately       weather conditions, Singapore Radar suggested
departed the scene and set course for Singapore       R10 to recover via Horsburg lighthouse. After

   Night Vision Goggles limits the Field Of View.                                  Picture Source: Internet
 RSAF Safety Magazine Issue 58         jan 09

considering lightning risk, in-flight conditions for   Individual professionalism and team excellence
the doctors to treat the casualty, the pilots’         are hallmarks of highly effective teams. High
already high workload, the crew adopted the            standard of individual professionalism ensures
suggestion despite having to incur an additional       better performance, as
10 minutes to the overall flight time due to the       one knows exactly when
diversion. R10 regained VMC near Changi Airport        and how far one could
before finally delivering the casualty to SGH at       indeed push the human
0440H. Sadly, the casualty did not survive.            and machine limits
                                                       without compromising
Conclusion                                             safety. Similarly, with
                                                       team        excellence,
Two recurring themes came out clearly from             the team’s overall
conducting the After Action Review (AAR) of the        performance would
rescue operation. Firstly, the individuals and the     be greater than
team were able to make highly effective real-          the sum of the individual parts, as there is
time decisions based on careful considerations         clear understanding of each others’ tasks and
against mission success and flight safety.             capabilities, timely challenge and response
Secondly, it was also clear that this effective        of each others’ decision and effective crew
decision-making ability was predicated on a high       resource management.
standard of individual professionalism and team
excellence.                                            To be sure, the high seas rescue on 22 Sep 08
                                                       was not just a routine rescue mission. Rather,
SOPs provide a methodology to handle and               the real-time innovative and safe adaptations
manage situations and tasks. These SOPs                of procedures by the SAR crew were an
are written and established over the years             unequivocal testimony of our 3rd Gen airmens’
through the experience and lessons learned             ability to make highly effective decisions based on
from others. It is important to ensure that            an equally high standard of professionalism and
our airmen continue to adhere conscientiously          team excellence. The SAR crew was awarded
to the promulgated SOPs during training. We            the CAF Cardinal Award (Special) for exhibiting
must also ensure that these procedures are             professionalism and team excellence during the
not violated during operations, unless under           rescue mission.
extraordinary circumstances or processes.

                                     By CPT Harry Lee, QFI, 144 SQN

                                         CPT Lee is currently a Qualified Flying Instructor in 144 SQN, Fighter Group,
                                          Air Combat Command. With over 1800 flying hours, He has previously
                                            served as a Qualified Flying Instructor in 130 SQN, FTS from 2005-
                                              2007 before assuming his current appointment.

The world of aviation is a dynamic, fast paced            must always be aware of the lurking dangers of
environment. It is full of hidden dangers and             weather and stay one step ahead to avoid any
uncertainties. As an aviator, one must always             mishap. Unfortunately, there have been many
be prepared for the unexpected. As the saying             aviation accidents caused by weather around
goes “Prepare for the Worst, But Hope for the             the world, some of which have resulted in the
Best”. While flying, we must always stay vigilant         loss of lives and equipment.
and be ready to handle any aircraft malfunction
or emergency at a moment's notice. We must                The RSAF itself has seen it's fair share of
be familiar with our emergency procedure,                 weather related incidents in the past few
executing it correctly and safely when the                years. Some of these incidents include engine
need arises. Given the dense population in                failures due to aircraft entering weather with
Singapore, there is no room for mistakes. Any             precipitation, and engine failures or aircraft
error on our part may be disastrous. Safety of            damage resulting from a lightning strike on
populace weighs heavily on our conscience in              the aircraft. Fortunately, all weather related
any and every decision we make.                           incidents did not result in further complications
                                                          and all the aircraft were able to recover safely.
Weather warnings are important forecasts.
They are used to protect life and property.               Of the many dangers that the weather
However, bad weather come and go as it likes,             brings along, lightning is the most relevant to
sometimes without warning. Unexpected bad                 Singapore's flying operations. A lighting strike
weather can cause incidents when the situation            can cause engine failure. The hot air expansion
is not handled appropriately. As an aviator, we           resulting from the lightning strike causes

 RSAF Safety Magazine Issue 58        jan 09

disruption to the airflow which results in
insufficient intake of air to the engine, leading
to an engine stall and subsequent flameout.

I have encountered two incidents on the F5
as a result of bad weather. Five years ago
when I was a junior pilot leading a flight of four
departing from Tengah Air Base, weather was
observed to be building up towards the South
of Singapore. We were carrying out a western
coast departure and the weather was exactly
on the departure route that we were taking.
While departing, my flight supervisor queried
me if I had assessed the weather using my on
board avionics. As a junior pilot at that time,
I focused my entire attention on flying the
aircraft. I did not think ahead to assess the
weather and thus, I led the entire formation
into weather with heavy precipitation. Just as
I realised my mistake, my entire formation,
Number 2, 3 and 4, all experienced engine
failure! Number 2 had dual engine failure and
number 3 and 4 had single engine failure. I, on
the other hand, had a minor malfunction i.e.
Single Generator Failure. As you can imagine,
all hell broke loose when all 3 members started
declaring “Mayday”! I was lucky not to suffer an
                                                        Recognise and Respect the hazards of weather. (Edited photo)
engine failure that day. However, on the 14th of
July 2008, my luck ran out. On that fateful day,
I experienced dual engine failure as a result of
a lightning strike.
                                                     significant Pilot Reports of Weather (PIREPs)
I was part of a formation of 4 aircraft, with        from previous formations. In addition, based on
my front seat occupied by a conversion pilot.        my visual judgement, I assessed the weather
The first 3 aircraft took off earlier as they        to be non-threatening as it did not look like a
were part of an air to air refuelling exercise       thunderstorm cell.
and we took off 10mins later, with the intent
to rendezvous with them in the training area.        At about 2 to 3 nautical miles prior to the aircraft
Prior to taking off, I assessed the weather          entering the weather, a blinding white flash
along the departure route and did not observe        was observed on the left side of the aircraft's
any adverse weather build-up. The departure          nose accompanied by a deafening “bang”. My
was uneventful until prior to approaching            on board digital displays flickered momentarily,
South China Sea training area. At that moment        following which the Voice Message System
I observed some weather to the west of the           (VMS) aka Bitching Betty, started screaming
formation. In order to get to our training           “Engine, Engine”. I immediately glanced down
area, we were directed by ATC to a transit           at my Engine Performance Indicators (EPI)
corridor. This route would take us directly into     and saw both engines' Revolutions Per Minute
the weather otherwise known as Instrument            (RPM) winding down. Immediately, I instinctively
Meteorological Conditions (IMC). There was no        applied my BOLDFACE actions for dual engine

                                                       While taking the appropriate actions, there
                                                       was constant and active Crew Resource
                                                       Management (CRM) between the front cockpit
                                                       and myself. The front seat took the initiative to
                                                       refer to the Flight Reference Cards (FRC) to
                                                       ensure all actions are in accordance with the
                                                       FRCs while I focused on flying the aircraft back
                                                       whilst keeping a constant eye on the EPI. ATC
                                                       was also proactive in assisting, and knowing
                                                       that I was a single ship, immediately vectored
                                                       the nearest aircraft within the vicinity to
                                                       provide chase and conduct a visual inspection.
                                                       The aircraft landed uneventfully and during the
                                                       post flight walk around checks, burn marks
                                                       was observed on the exterior surface of the

                                                       In retrospect, better assessment and
                                                       judgement on my part could have prevented
                                                       this emergency from happening. I did not
                                                       accord the weather with enough respect and
                                                       it came back around to bite me. A whitish grey
                                                       appearance does not necessarily mean the
                                                       weather is benign. I relearned what I already
                                                       knew, not to trust visual appearance as a reliable
                                                       indicator of turbulence and precipitation inside
                                                       a weather cell. Although no lightning activity
                                                       was reported, do not assume it will remain
                                                       so as the weather could deteriorate rapidly. If
                                                       time and situation permit, always make use of
                                                       the available equipment, i.e. on-board radar to
failure while simultaneously transmitting my           assess the extent of the weather build-up.
Mayday call. The next few seconds felt the
longest in my life as I stared at the EPI, willing     Thinking of how the situation could have been
the engines to relight successfully. Faced             much more serious and disastrous still send
with the high-stress situation, I was trying to        shivers down my spine. It also dragged me
assess the emergency situation by optimising           out of my little comfort zone to learn and re-
the use of my cognitive resources. Just as I           learn some very important lessons. While it
realised that the aircraft was suffering from a        is almost a daily affair to be flying in or with
lightning strike, years of training kicked in. I put   some weather build-up around, we as aviators
my thoughts aside and focused on handling              should not be desensitized by the “Been There,
the rapidly evolving situation at hand, ensuring       Done That” mentality. We have to constantly
the safety and integrity of my aircraft.               remind ourselves to recognise and respect
                                                       the hazards of weather. I am sure that if I were
Finally, after what seemed like eternity (but in       to find myself in a similar situation again, I will
reality only a few seconds), both the engines          adopt the procedures prescribed in the SOPs
showed signs of relight and a feeling of relief        and follow the classic sayings of “Avoiding
washed over me. The emergency was not                  Thunderstorms is the Best Policy” and “Turning
over but I now had a flyable aircraft again.           Back is Always an Option”.

 RSAF Safety Magazine Issue 58     jan 09

                                        Editor's note: This article was first printed in FOCUS Issue 38. The article has
                                               been updated and edited by the editor.

Each individual weather type is associated with         can cause severe damage to the exterior of the
different hazard. Let us briefly discuss these          aircraft and can be encountered at any height in
hazards.                                                the cloud, below the cloud and below the anvil of a
                                                        thunderstorm cloud.
Thunderstorm                                            Lightning: Possible effects of lightning include
                                                        temporary blindness of the pilot, electrical
More often than not, we recognize the                   malfunction, unreliable compass and airframe
thunderstorm as a phenomenon that packs all             damage.
of the direct hazards like:                             Precipitation: A wet and flooded runway can
                                                        cause aquaplaning to occur. Heavy precipitation
Turbulence: Severe turbulence has caused air            can also affect visual accuracy.
Icing: Airframe and Engine icing are aspects             Microburst
which we are concerned about
as they can lead to significant                                         Microbursts       are     powerful
loss of lift and damage to our                                          downdrafts of air, which can
propulsion system.                                                      descend from a thunderstorm, or
Hail: Hail competes with                                                any base of convective clouds with
turbulence as the greatest                                              speeds as high as 45 kts. These
thunderstorm hazard to                                                   downdrafts and horizontal wind
aircraft. The sizes of hailstones                                        shear can present a very serious
have measured up to 8 cm                                                 hazard to aircraft operations at
across and weigh up to 1 kg. It                                          low altitudes. During take-off and

landing, an aircraft approaching the area will    Reduced Visibility
experience a marked headwind followed by a
severe downdraft, followed again by a negative    Conditions can emerge as fog, low-level
headwind for tailwind). If the pilot takes no     clouds, freezing rain and volcanic ashes. More
preventive or corrective action, consequences     importantly, these hazardous conditions can
can be fatal. Microbursts are not specifically    result in:
referred to in forecasts, pilots must look for
the following signs or listen to the warnings     •	 Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) /
from ATC or PIREPs (Pilot Reports):                  obstacles.
                                                  •	 Mid-air collision.
•	 Unusual airspeed fluctuations during takeoff   •	 Spatial disorientation leading to the leans.
   or the final stages of landing.                •	 Catastrophic consequences.
•	 Unusual vertical airspeed fluctuations.
•	 Strong and concentrated downdrafts with        Extreme Temperature
   leading edge in a circular pattern on the
   surface.                                       Extreme temperatures are also significant in
•	 For wet microbursts, they are more visible     our considerations of weather hazards. Under
   and more pronounced.                                           cold conditions, the following
•	 In a dry microburst,                                            hazards can be encountered:
   blowing dust from high
   cloud base is an indication                                       Icing, slush and snow:
   of its presence.                                                  Increases the risk of takeoff /
                                                                     landing mishaps.
Incidentally, microbursts                                            White-out: This refers to a
are quite common in the                                              condition where diffused light
arid states of New Mexico                                            reflected from snow covered
and Arizona but we can't                                            surface to low clouds and
rule out their appearance                                           vice versa making it difficult in
in other parts of the world.                                        assessing the horizon during
Comparing with other                                                flying. Another condition is
hazards, microburst is a relatively new                            where there is merging of low
discovery. The danger it poses has prompted       cloud with ice fog or blowing snow at the surface.
investigators to dig up past records and          Both conditions result in a lack of a normal
inconclusive accident reports have pointed to     visual horizon and the difficulty in distinguishing
certain events that had led to accidents which    features. This causes problems especially on the
could have been contributed by microbursts.       descent and during the landing approach.
In one of our accidents involving a S211 during   Hypothermia: Extreme temperature coupled
landing at Paya Lebar many years ago, there       with wind chill is potentially dangerous and can
was also a high probability of a microburst       lead to cases of hypothermia.
being the culprit.
                                                  In the other extreme, the hazards associated
Strong Crosswind                                  with hot weather operations may include:

Pilots rarely have the luxury of performing       Degraded Engine performance. This is significant
landing under nil crosswind conditions.           during take-off especially at high aircraft all-up
Sometimes, we may have to land at the             weight. With the combination of a short runway,
aircraft's crosswind limit. Strong crosswinds     it can be hazardous as the aircraft may run out
are usually associated with first gusts from      of runway before take-off speed     is reached.
impending thunderstorms. Cross winds              Heat injuries. Hazards of prolonged exposure
encountered locally are mild in comparison        to high temperature can set in fast and without
to those encountered overseas where winds         you knowing, degradation in alertness, heat
of 20-25 kts gusting up to 35 kts are fairly      exhaustion and       finally heat stroke can
common.                                           occur. These can occur in situations where

 RSAF Safety Magazine Issue 58       jan 09

ground crew are required to remain in an            Strategy For A Safe Operation
unsheltered flight line for prolonged periods of
time, especially during overseas detachments.       Despite having described the risks caused by
                                                    weather, mission success can still be achieved
Other effects brought about by extremely high       if proper steps and measures are taken.
temperature may include dust devils and haze,
especially in Australia and the US.                 Considerations that should be made by the
                                                    management include:
Air Operational Concerns                            •	 Synergistic management processes.
                                                    •	 Good planning and scheduling.
Today, RSAF operations span around the              •	 Preparing the machine for the mission.
globe, therefore pilots must be prepared to         •	 Access to advance weather information
operate in all types of weather conditions.            systems
The RSAF has been involved in humanitarian          •	 Effective planning and co-ordination of
relief operations, such as Hurricane Katrina           safety policies/SOPs between Base and
in United States and Chengdu earthquake in             Squadron.
China. These missions often see our transport
aircraft and helicopters in real-time operations    All these considerations are crucial and
and usually on very short notice. With such         will have to be managed real-time as safety
missions, the aircrew must be aware of the          policies. SOPs formulated for local operations
weather they can encounter enroute and at           may not be applicable in a different theatre of
the destination.                                    operations.

Similarly, detachments are no longer confined       Accurate timely weather forecast and
to the tropical region. The need for accurate       warnings certainly enhances the management
weather info en-route and at destination            of flying operations. Launching and recovery of
airfields will be critical to the success of such   aircraft should be in the best weather window
detachments.                                        period. Fuel reserves must be catered for
                                                    holding and diversion. We should also cater
Ground Operational Concerns                         for the constraints faced by ATC during bad
                                                    weather. We must understand that we operate
Weather not only affects flying but is also a       in a tight and limited airspace. Finding holding
concern for ground operations. While most           areas for aircraft to recover can be a 'MAX-
of our ground personnel today operate out of        OUT' situation for ATC during bad weather
weather sheds, this may not be the case when        recovery.
operating overseas. Hence exposure to adverse
weather elements becomes a major concern.           Weather information systems like satellite
Snow, frost, heat and hazards of temperature        images, weather radar pictures and other
extremes are real problems. In addition, whether    weather related information must be made
it is associated with a thunderstorm or not, the    accessible to all users. For mission planning,
risk of lightning strikes to ground personnel is    weather contingencies must be built in with
a major consideration in our operations and         due consideration for:
cannot be over emphasized, be it in the flight
line or in the field.                               •	 Type of mission
                                                    •	 Size of formation

•	 Crew experience and crew combination                be practical at all times given our many
•	 Time of day and                                     constraints. These weather phenomena can
•	 Seasonal Variation                                  force us to transit through severe weather
                                                       with little room for deviation and avoidance,
Finally, at the operator level, safe operations        particularly in our narrow departure and
can only be ensured by the person behind               recovery corridors. Effective management,
the controls. Whether the outcome is a safe            professional training and accessibility to real-
or hazardous one will depend on whether                time weather information systems will be
this person is well trained. The following are         the key to mitigating the risks of operating in
essential:                                             adverse weather conditions. As our air force
                                                       moves toward developing its night capability,
•	   Right and proper training                         the strategies to overcome the hazards of
•	   Adopt proper procedures                           adverse weather at night will be a bigger
•	   Knowledge of hazards                              challenge.
•	   Knowledge of aircraft and it's limitations
•	   Mental and physical preparedness                  References:
•	   Awareness of personal limitations                 1.   FOCUS Issue #38
•	   Access to up-to-date weather information          2.   Weather Patterns and Phenomena by Thomas
                                                            P.Turner (1999)
Conclusion                                             3.   Handbook of Aviation Meteorology, 3rd Edition by
                                                            Meteorology Office, London (1994)
                                                       4.   Military Aviation Disasters by Davis Gero (1999)
Like   other aspects of flying, there is no 10
                                                       5.   Meteorology for Pilots by K.M.Wickson (1992)
year    series answer to controlling weather           6.   Ground Studies for Pilots, Vol. 4 Meteorology by
and    preventing an accident. The simple                   R.B.Underdown
rule    is to avoid. However, this may not             7.   Internet sources

                      When caught in
                      a thunderstorm
                                   Keep low and seek shelter in low areas
                                    Spread	out	–	do	not	bunch	together
                                       Keep away from metal objects
                                    Sit or squat with feet close together
                                     Stay inside vehicles with canopies
        Reduce the signature of good conductor of electricity, eg. Lower radio antenna if possible
                            Avoid using the telephone and electronic equipment
                         Do not stand under tall trees or next to a telephone pole
                Do not stay in the open or on high ground such as roof tops, hill tops etc..
                          Stay clear of wire or metal fences, metal pipes and rails
                                 Do not hold metal objects above your head

 RSAF Safety Magazine Issue 58      jan 09

Know Your CSOs
                          LTC Moses Tan is a Fighter Pilot by vocation with
                          over 1800 hours of flying experience on the A4
                          and F16. Prior to assuming the appointment of
                          Command	Safety	Officer	–	HQ	ACC,	he	held	various	
                          principal staff positions in TAB and CAB, such as DY
                          S3, FSO and FSP. He attended the Aviation Safety
                          Management Systems Course at the University of
                          Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering in
                          Los Angeles, USA.

                          As CSO, he is responsible for developing, implementing
                          and enforcing safety standards and regulations
                          under the command’s Accident Prevention Program.
                           Additionally, he is also responsible for providing a comprehensive safety
                            oversight	 program	 –	 at	 the	 Operational	 Command,	 Functional	 Group	 and	
                            Unit	levels	–	consisting	of	certification,	inspections,	audits,	education	and	
                            awareness, as well as enforcement activities to ensure compliance with
                            safety regulations.

                             At the Annual Safety Conference in Apr 08, he was awarded the Outstanding
                             Command Safety Officer Award for his efforts in promoting safety.

                           MAJ Tok Shyh Wei assumed the appointment of CSO APGC in March 08.
                           Prior to this appointment, he was OC QAC SBAB from Jun 04 to Mar 08.
                           He received safety training in the RSAF Safety Officer Course (2006) and
                           ISO 9001 Lead Auditor Course (2004).

                           The mission of APGC is to generate and sustain effective, timely and robust
                           air power for the SAF. APGC’s safety goal is to achieve Mission Success
                           with Zero Accident and HF incident through proactive managing risk and
                           creating a safety culture where safety value is imbued in all APGCians.
                           To realise this, APGC has adopted frameworks
                           such as OHSAS 18001, ISO 9001, to reinforce
                           system discipline and fundamentals. It also aims to
                           integrate safety in joint operations and training. The
                           safety mentality would be one where, continuous
                           improvement through ongoing review of processes
and procedures as well as providing safety supervision for the 4 air bases, SBAB,

MAJ Tok is an Air Engineering Officer with 10 years service. He has done
various tours. They include OIC SPRT/ALS/SBAB, staff officer in Aerosystem
Branch(AeB)/ALD and OC QAC at SBAB. He also held the appointment
as the Management Representative of the Occupational Safety and
Health (OSH) committee for SBAB/ALG and help SBAB/ALG to be
the first RSAF unit to achieve the OHSAS 18001 certification in

(WHIP: Wildlife Hazard Control Programme)

                                 By: MAJ Eric Ezra Goh Khong Hui, Staff officer, AFI
                                    MAJ Goh is currently a Staff Officer in Accident Prevention Branch - AFI and the
                                     RSAF WHIP Manager. He graduated with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering
                                      from NTU in 2005. He has previously served as an Officer-In-Command in PLAB
                                        & AFS and as Staff Officer in ALD. He attended the 9th Combined Bird Strike
                                         Committee Conference (USA/CANADA) Kingston, Ontario, Canada (10 – 13
                                           Sep 07), on the various measures and control techniques of birds and
                                            wildlife management as well as on other new techniques and control
                                             measures to manage wildlife intervention.

Bird strike is perhaps the most common                In 2005, AFI saw the need to have a holistic
wildlife threat to aircraft safety. They have         approach to wildlife control in the RSAF airfields,
caused a number of fatal accidents worldwide;         and expanded the scope of the former ‘Bird
regardless of military, commercial or general         Hazard Control Programme’ to include other
aviation. Depending on the location of impact         wildlife. Coined the Wildlife Hazard Intervention
and severity of damage sustained, aircraft on         Programme (WHIP), this programme integrates
take off/approach sometimes cannot recover            all wildlife control programmes around the RSAF
in time, and hence, crash. Apart from birds,          airfields to provide a central pool of expertise
animals are associated with aircraft strikes          for total control of wildlife hazards. It strives
as well. In Singapore, wild boars have been a         to consolidate the knowledge and skills of the
problem in Tengah Air Base while stray dogs           personnel to provide better cross sharing among
and other animals have also been spotted on           formations together with external agencies, as
an active runway. While fences can prevent big        well as to prevent the duplication of resources.
animals from wandering onto a runway, birds
are more difficult to control as they share both      Through the years, the WHIP programme has
the sky and the airfield environment with us.         continuously re-evaluated the effectiveness of the
                                                      dispersion measures. This is necessary as wildlife
                                                      adapt readily to the changes in their environment.
                                                      Along with a holistic strategy, the WHIP programme
                                                      progressively work towards removing birds and
                                                      wildlife from the airfield.

                                                      RSAF’s BIRD                HAZARD            CONTROL
                                                      The RSAF adopts a 3-prong approach of habitat
                                                      management, bird dispersion, and bird avoidance in
                                                      devising our bird hazard control strategy:

 RSAF Safety Magazine Issue 58           jan 09

Habitat Management                                                        birds in the airfields, giving them the
                                                                          impression that they are surrounded
Birds require food, water                                                 by predators.
and security. Removing or
depriving the birds of these                                           Soil Treatment exterminates low-
necessities form the core                                              level flying and jumping insects which
of our strategy; making our                                            is a major food source for birds.
airfield unattractive to them                                          Insecticide will be dispensed from
by discouraging roosting and                                           a 4-wheel drive vehicle capable of
nesting in trees and hangars.                                          travelling off-road for application
The availability of insects                                            on the airfield. The insecticide is a
and unconsumed food not                                                water-based synthetic pyrenthroid
properly disposed off is a good source of food for          which provides quick knock-down of insects upon
birds. Restricting food to designated areas with            contact without scorching turf.
proper disposal facilities is one way of curbing
the presence of birds.                                      Bird Trapping Nets help to entrap unsuspecting
                                                            birds that are flying low just above the grass.
As long as birds are deprived of food, water, and           Once captured, the bird will give out distress calls
shelter, they will find the environment unattractive        which will deter birds of the same species from
for nesting. While more costly than many other              coming to the area. It also acts as a physical
techniques, habitat modification offers the                 barrier for the birds as most of the food sources
greatest possibility for a lasting solution.                are close to the ground.

Bird Dispersion

Effective habitat management displaces birds but
does not relocate them from the airfield vicinity
permanently, unless dispersion techniques are
employed and enforced.

Reflective Irritape is a ribbon of polyester film that
has been holographically printed with a pattern
of interlocking circles resembling the eyes of an             Bird trapping nets - deters low flying birds.
owl, the natural enemy of most small birds. This
3-dimensional UV-lighted holographic surface                These two techniques when timed and
reflects the colour of spectrum with laser-like             combined makes the aerodrome an inhospitable
intensity and create humming sounds when they               environment especially for the large number of
are twisted in the wind. When employed, this                transiting birds during their migratory season.
brilliant, flashing “ripple effect” is picked up by the
                                                            Bird Scaring Cartridges are used in conjunction
                                                            with the portable bio-acoustic device (distress
                                                            call equipment) to disperse the birds. Various
                                                            species of birds have characteristic calls

   Irritape displayed on the airfield.
                                                                                                                ustics D
                                                                                es.                                        evice.
                                                          Bird Scaring Cartridg
indicating an alarm or a distress call. An alarm       BIRD STRIKE STATISTICS
call is given on first sight of a predator, to alert
other members of the flock or brood and, has the       For clarity, the bird strike statistics are displayed
function of providing a warning to take evasive        in 2 parts; within and outside the air bases:
action. Used at the air bases prior to aircraft
launches, the combined effects of this method          Overall bird strikes within the 4 air bases
have proven to be positive.                            (figure 1)

After experimentation, it was found that, instead      Bird strikes within the air bases can be controlled
of firing the scaring cartridges first before          to a certain degree by implementing bird control
activating the bio-acoustics device as done            measures on identified bird activity areas e.g.
previously, reversing the sequence has been            Landing / take off areas.
proven to be more effective. The simulated
distress calls instil a sense of danger in the birds   Overall bird strikes outside the 4 air bases or
and keep them away from the area. Repeated             unknown (figure 2)
scaring is required to instil fear in them, and this
pairing will reinforce the birds' fear, delaying any   Bird strikes outside the air bases are generally
habituation to the distress call.                      beyond the Flying Support Squadrons' (FSS)
                                                       purview or control.
Remote Controlled (RC) Bird Scaring Cars
have loud-hailers mounted on the modified RC

      Figure 1.

      Figure 2.

car chassis, and generate high pitch noises that       The charts show that bird strikes happen more
startle and scare birds in the vicinity. Coupled       often outside the air bases, i.e. at higher altitudes,
with the mobility of the RC car, this device has       lending credit to the WHIP measures that have
proven to be effective in dispersing bird within       been implemented.
the runway vicinity.
                                                       WHIP AWARENESS
Bird Avoidance
                                                       RSAF WHIP Manual
A successful habitat management and bird
dispersion program will reduce bird strikes at         Wildlife management is a complex, evolving,
airfields. However, to avoid bird strikes outside      and public-sensitive discipline. It is required to
the airfield, roosting times and high bird activity    review current implementation programmes
areas must be identified and avoided through           to adapt to the changes in the ecological
deliberate flight planning. This can be achieved       conditions.
with the assistance of bird strike reports,
avoidance models, etc.

 RSAF Safety Magazine Issue 58             jan 09

                       A significant milestone in   Awareness and Promotion
                       raising WHIP awareness
                       was the review of the        One of the programme initiatives was the
                       old Bird Hazard Control      creation of the WHIP Website, whose objective
                       Manual (published in         is primarily for knowledge sharing. The website
                       1998), which expanded        resides in AFI's main web page, and includes
                       its scope to cover all       details of the WHIP programme, bird/wildlife
                       forms of wildlife hazard     identification, WHIP meeting schedules, meeting
                       prevention     and    re-    presentation slides and WHIP articles. Other
                       launched as the RSAF         efforts in promoting awareness of all wildlife
                       WHIP Manual in May           hazards included the WHIP poster competition,
                       2008. The         manual     organised in January 2008.
provides only a starting point for addressing
wildlife hazard issues in airfield and designed
to inform personnel about the scope of the
wildlife strike problem and the development,
implementation, and evaluation of WHIP
within the airfields. It also includes specific
information on the nature of wildlife strikes,
legal authority, roles and responsibilities,
regulations, wildlife management techniques,
wildlife hazard assessments, and sources of
help and information.

Conferences and Workshop

The WHIP committee also regularly attends           NEW DEVELOPMENT IN                         BIRD
conferences dealing with Bird Strikes, such as      DISPERSION TECHNIQUES:
the International Bird Strike Conference (IBSC).
To further increase local WHIP awareness, AFI                            Chemical Dispenser Units
conducted a WHIP Workshop in September                                   are used to spray bird
2008. Subject Matter Expertises (SME) were                               repellent chemical made
invited to share and enhance the knowledge of                            of a fruit by-product, with
WHIP. The objectives of the WHIP workshop                                its active ingredient being
were to update all WHIP officers and airbases                            Methyl-Anthranilate.        It
on the latest developments, and facilitates                              disperses birds by irritating
cross sharing of wildlife hazard efforts between                         their mucus membranes
different bases, enhancing their understanding                           without risk to man or the
and awareness on WHIP.                                                   environment. Birds are
                                                    Chemical Dispenser
                                                                         required to be exposed
                                                                         to the chemical for at
                                                                         least 2 to 3 times before
                                                    registering the treatment area as ‘hostile’. The
                                                    chemical can be dispensed remotely via a SMS
                                                    through a pre-coded message from a designated
                                                    phone number allocated to each battery unit for
                                                    activation and de-activation.

                                                    The Long-Range Acoustics Device (LRAD) is a new
                                                    bird dispersion device tested in November 2007
  1st WHIP workshop conducted in Sep 08.            in two of our airbases. It works by transmitting
                                                    recorded birds distress calls up to a range of

500 to 1000m, and was demonstrated to be               serve to contain the wild boar within their habitat
very effective in scaring birds away. However, at      and thus reduce the risk of intrusion onto the
maximum volume, it emits a warning tone that is        runway.
higher than the normal human threshold of pain
(120 to 140 dB), which is capable of damaging          MOVING AHEAD
hearing permanently. As LRAD development
is still in the experimental stage, the RSAF will      Globally, we have seen an increase in the number
continue to monitor this technology as it matures.     of bird strikes. Quieter aircraft and increasing bird
                                                       population are two main reasons. Global warming
                                                       has resulted in significant climate change. Higher
                                                       temperatures and rainfall have resulted in the
                                                       plants' extended life cycle, providing more food for
                                                       birds. The birds are also breeding earlier, leading
                                                       to more young birds and thereby more bird
                                                       strikes. These findings suggested that efforts to
     Long-Range Acoustics Device (LRAD).               control bird population must be maintained, if not
                                                       strengthened, to minimize bird strikes.
APPROACH                                               A review conducted recently to improve
                                                       the RSAF's WHIP programme included the
Besides bird strikes, animal strikes are also          commercialisation of the bird hazard control
covered in the WHIP. While these form only a           programme in the airbases. The new programme
small percentage of the total recorded strikes,        rotates the various bird programmes within the
animal strikes, when encountered, can cause            airfield, to deter birds from being too familiar to
even more spectacular and severe damage than           one type of device. It also looks into the timing
birds. In Singapore, animals like dogs and wild        of soil treatment and implementation of Irritape
boars are the usual suspects, while kangaroos          prior to the bird migratory season, so as to
and cows crossing the runway is not an                 eliminate food sources at the airfield for the
uncommon sight in foreign airfields!                   arriving migratory birds. In view of the increased
                                                       scope of activities, the WHIP programme was
The wild boar is of significant concern in our local   outsourced through an external contractor
context. In order to effectively address this, a       for the periodic rotation of the soil treatment,
3-prong approach is used to tackle the local wild      variation of Irritape implementation and bird
boar population through intrusion alert, control,      trapping net configuration.
and containment.
                                                       The institutionalisation of a WHIP Workplan would
Intrusion Alert. Intrusion alert provides early        also provide better means to help the airbases
warning and reduce collision risk. This allows         monitor the wildlife preventive activities such
continuous safe operations of our aircraft with        as bird migration period and the effectiveness
the looming wild boar hazard.                          of the various programmes as compared to
                                                       the ad-hoc means of employing WHIP
Control. RSAF embarked on a control and                programmes previously.
containment plan to trap wild boars in their
identified resting areas. Since then, the method       To conclude, it is unlikely that a single prevention
of deploying cages in areas of wild boar activities    measure will totally eliminate bird strikes or wildlife.
has proven to be effective in Tengah, with several     Different techniques need to be used together to
wild boars being caught.                               complement one another. To be successful, we
                                                       constantly need to conduct studies and develop
Containment. Besides controlling the numbers           a holistic WHIP programme that addresses the
by setting cages to trap them, concertina wire         habitat, the characteristics of the birds identified
barriers have been installed around the Aircraft       and the use of available devices to create a hostile
Maneuvering Areas (AMA). This wire barrier will        environment to birds.

 RSAF Safety Magazine Issue 58             jan 09

My Perspective
    CPT Lee is a CAT A controller and Unit Safety Officer (USO) in Flying Support Squadron, Changi Air Base (CAB). He is also
       concurrently holding the appointment of Wildlife Hazard Intervention Programme (WHIP) Officer for the Base. CPT
          Day is currently serving his second term on AFI's WHIP Committee (previously representing TAB from 2005 -

Since the first flight took to the skies, there have              The RSAF have developed her own gamut of
been a multitude of dangers faced by aviators.                    anti-wildlife measures to manage the associated
Where the dangers are technical in nature, there                  dangers posed by wildlife in their natural habitat.
are always solutions to overcome them. However,                   However, there is no one size-fits-all solution
when faced with a natural danger in the form                      in the area of wildlife hazard control, as each
of wildlife, both in the air and on the ground, it                location brings along with it their unique local
becomes less controllable and predictable .                       hazards or problems. On the same note, there
                                                                  is no one or even a few good solutions that are
The recent bird strike during take-off experienced                evergreen.
by our F16D+, resulted in 4 blades from the
first stage fan being damaged, and a hot brake                    Whilst the Air Force continues to evolve, we can
emergency after landing due to the high fuel                      be sure that the wildlife will continue to evolve
load the aircraft was carrying. If we allow                       –	 with	 each	 passing	 generation	 being	 more	
our	 imagination	 to	 run	 a	 bit	 –	 if	 the	 structural	        tolerant to the measures that we may introduce
integrity of the 4 damaged fan blades were                        from time to time. Whilst it may not be entirely
compromised, and flowed down stream into the                      possible to eradicate these hazards, the WHIP
engine, the engine would most probably flame                      Officers	together	with	the	support	of	AFI	–	APB	
out. The resultant incident would have resulted                   will continue in our strive to stay a few steps
in an aircraft “gliding” back to CAB(E) for an                    ahead of the wildlife's natural evolution so as to
emergency recovery and landed with hot brakes                     ensure that the associated problems with the
as an associated emergency. Such an incident                      presence of these wildlife are kept in check.
demonstrated that wildlife hazards (especially in
the form of birds) are still very much a dangerous
reality facing our aviators today.

Injested birds or FOD can cause engine flameouts - with dire consequences.                      Picture Source: Internet

Maintaining The
Unmanned – The
Safe Transformation
                                   By: LTC Gopalan Nair, Head Logistics Branch, UC

                                   LTC Nair assumed his current appointment on 31 Jan 07. He has also served as an
                                     Honorary Aide de Camp (ADC) to the President between 1997 and 2005. LTC Nair
                                      graduated with a Master in Business (Logistics) from Curtin University, Western
                                        Australia in 1997 and a Master in Business from University of Western Australia in
                                         2006. He has also served in various Command and Staff appointments within the
                                           Bases and HQ RSAF and attended the Singapore Command And Staff College
                                            in 2000. In addition to being a SAF Paracounsellor, LTC Nair was awarded the
                                              Commendation Medal (Military) in 2008.

Introduction                                                form a virtuous cycle
                                                            to improve our quality
In the 3rd generation RSAF, UAV Command (UC)                and safety standards.
will operate more technologically advanced and              In    other    words,
capable UAVs. These UAVs will play a prominent              Cardinal complements
role and undertake more complex and integrated              safety.
operations. The demand for a full spectrum
of operations, coupled with the inherently                  Competence
low reliability of UAV systems has inevitably
demanded higher standards of professionalism,               In recent times, there
steadfast commitment and the need to adopt the              have been significant
right mental models by UC's technical workforce.            changes      to    the
This is to ensure that UAV capabilities can be              composition of UC's
fully exploited safely.                                     technical workforce,
                                                            introduced to deal
The CARDINAL Way                                            with the growth of UAV capabilities and challenges
                                                            associated with maintaining and operationalising
As UC embarks on a new era of UAV operations,               advanced UAV systems.
it seeks to enhance its technical workforce with
the cornerstones of the Cardinal initiative, namely         To effect the changes at the systems level,
Competencies, Commitment and Core Values.                   UC sought to enhance the competence of its
These three areas complement each other to                  experienced and indigenous technical talents by
 RSAF Safety Magazine Issue 58        jan 09

forging cross sharing of knowledge between            To instill Commitment at the individual and
the unmanned and manned platforms. UC also            team level, UC's logistics management has also
benchmarked itself against well established           frequently exhorted phrases such as “Good
engineering best practices used by the manned         Logistics is Combat Power” and “Together,
platforms. At the operational level, the desired      We Can Make Things Better” as rallying calls
technical competency enhancement and                  to forge a sense of
introduction of fresh technical perspectives were     empowerment.        The
proliferated through deployment of personnel          tag lines have been
from manned platforms into UC's flight line,          well received and
Composite Work Force (CWF) and maintenance            internalised by the
teams alongside experienced UAV technicians.          technical workforce,
                                                      commonly        used
While the competency enhancement process              amongst colleagues
was initiated in a deliberate and gradual manner.     at     presentations
UC's indigenous technical workforce and the           and even during
expertise inducted from the manned platform           casual conversation
queried the enhancement desired and the need          to motivate and
for it. These queries were addressed during           encourage continual
Technical Discussions (TD) held at the team and       improvements.
supervisor levels during, Flight Accident Incident    UC's Commitment towards its people is evident
Report (FAIR) investigations, continuous trade        especially when it comes to engaging individuals.
                          learning and Cardinal       Interviews have been conducted to better
                          engagement sessions.        understand their personal background, map
                           At times, the queries      out professional development and Route Of
                           were also addressed
                            in an informal manner
                            during cohesion events.
                             As UC's workforce
                             use          technical
                              knowledge and past
                              experiences to tackle
                              the challenges faced,
                               initial    concerns
                               over the need for
          competency enhancement were soon
greeted by respect and appreciation. This
facilitated open sharing of tacit and explicit
knowledge and experiences that in turn led to
technical competency enhancement.                     Advancement (ROA) plans. All these are part
                                                      of the three key thrusts of Cardinal; Engaging
Commitment                                            The Heart (ETH), Developing Professionals (DP)
                                                      and Realising Your Potential (RYP). Concerted
UC recognises Commitment as a bedrock for a           effort has also been invested to match personal
safe transformation. To communicate a sense of        aspirations, experience and expertise against
purpose, Cardinal engagement sessions, cafe-          opportunities presented by existing and new UAV
style safety forums, cohesion and family at work      systems to foster Commitment.
events were organised regularly. In addition,
through these forums, events and sessions also        Other means employed to assess the
help to instill and reinforce Commitment and          Commitment of our technical workforce include
family support, encouraging feedback, providing       the conduct of Organisational Climate Survey
an avenue for communication through these             (OCS) and initiatives such as the Behavioural
forums.                                               Based Safety (BBS), Hall Of Fame that seeks to

   showcase the consistent Commitment to safety
   and quality by individuals and teams.                    This is especially important at the present stage
                                                            of transformation, while we embark on inducting
   The multi-prong approach employed to instill             new platforms for capabilities. While operations
   Commitment has received positive feedback.               on the current generation of UAV continues, it is
   Tangible evidence to support this feedback can           significant to note that the infusion of technical
   be traced to increased numbers of personnel              expertise from the manned platforms, into
   requesting for extension of their careers and            the UAV flight line, together with experienced
   the number of posting requests received from             UAV technicians, maintenance and engineering
   technicians who had previously worked on                 arenas has been positive. With no occurrence
   manned platforms.                                        of accidents or incidents, there has not been
                                                            any compromise on air power generation and
   Core Values                                              sustenance of standards and quality. On the
                                                            contrary, a conducive atmosphere and an
   As we go on to induct new and more sophisticated         inquiring mind that has the courage to question
   systems and capabilities as part of our                  the status quo standards and practices, and a
   transformation, UC's emphasis on enhancing its           willingness to share and learn, review and effect
                          technical competence and          continual improvement has emerged. Such
                          establishing commitment           experiences provide the strongest testimony
                           has been reinforced by a         that Core Values are well internalised and applied.
                           firm grounding on Core
                            Values.                         Conclusion
                               UC management places         UC’s experience in its transformation journey
                               steadfast        emphasis    attests that safe and reliable air power
                                on internalising and        generation, sustenance and the induction of
                                applying Core Values.       technologically advanced and more capable
                                 This is evident through    UAVs can be achieved through continuous
                                 its actions, decisions     inculcation, internalisation and application of
                                  and      policies.   In   the cornerstones of the Cardinal initiative.
                   UC's         other words, UC's           Competence,
        management 'walks the management           'Walks   Commitment
talk' on applying Core Values.                              and Core Values
                                the Talk' on applying
                                Core Values.                complement
                                                            each other
   In a similar vein, individuals and teams are             in a virtuous
   encouraged to display ownership and exercise             cycle to Engage
   moral courage to question and do things right            The Heart
   through the application of Core Values from their        (ETH), Develop
   thoughts and actions. The proliferation of Core          Professionals
   Values at the individual and team levels is evident      (DP) and Realise
   through the design and implementation of various         Your Potential
   maintenance and engineering initiatives. These           (RYP), the three
   initiatives have enabled the Searcher UAV to             key thrusts
   operate at a rate well above the OEM prescribed          of Cardinal.
   figure for Mean Time Between Loss (MTBL).                Bottomline:
   Other significant examples can be fpund in the           Cardinal
   knowledge application at the team and individual         complements
   levels observed at UC's Exercises which promote          safety.
   discipline, professionalism, ethical behaviour,
   safety and team excellence in a competitive

 RSAF Safety Magazine Issue 58       jan 09

             AND SAFETY

                                     By CPT 驯Lim Sze Tein, USO 203 SQN

                                        CPT Lim is a senior controller and currently the USO of 203 SQN. She
                                         graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Business
                                          Administration in 1999. She attended the 2nd RSMS course and is
                                           trained in OSH D&I and IAT.

Introduction                                             In this article, I shall share with you some of the
                                                         initiatives undertaken by my squadron, using
In the recent C2 Safety Workshop organised by            the Project Cardinal framework. Specifically, I
AFI, the squadron personnel had the opportunity          will be focusing on one of the three tenets in
to be engaged in a lively and fruitful discussion        Project Cardinal – Engaging the Heart.
on Project Cardinal and how it complements
safety in the squadron. It was found that in             Engaging the Heart
the past, squadron personnel tend to have the
general misconception that Project Cardinal              Based on the framework, engaging the heart
is all about welfare and benefits. However,              aims to create a positive experience for
this myopic view is changing because of the              our people, foster two-way communication
increasing awareness of Project Cardinal                 between the management and the people,
through myriad cascade briefs and workshops              and strengthen team spirit. To this end, we
in the system and unit.                                  have turned our focus to the 5 Cs: building a
                                                         warm and open Culture, fostering Camaraderie
In line with the development, the squadron has           amongst the people, improving Commitment to
been actively embarking on several initiatives           the squadron and the RSAF, developing core
such as Squadron Vision Workshops, and                   Competencies and strengthening our beliefs in
operational knowledge/mission briefs, in a bid           the Core values.
to inculcate a stronger sense of commitment
and purpose, enhance the understanding and               Culture
appreciation of the work the unit does, reinforce
team spirit and cohesiveness amongst the                 Culture goes a long way in determining and
people, strengthen type competencies while               shaping the behaviour of our people and thus
building on task competencies, thus ensuring             it is important to promote a healthy culture of
operational safety.                                      commitment and team spirit, thereby improving

the work-life experience of our people. Like a     followed and individuals perform their role with
second home to us, the squadron encourages         utmost diligence.
our people to make the squadron environment
                      more      homely     and     This camaraderie allows open reporting and
                       welcoming,      without     discussions, reinforces trust and learning by
                       losing the professional     opening up channels for personnel of all levels
                       edge.                       to interact and share their experiences. The
                                                   squadron advocates that open reporting
                      Small initiatives such       should not just be a top-down initiated process.
                        as a photo-montage         Instead, ground-up and peer-to-peer processes
                        wall, personalisation      are encouraged as well. It is essential that
                        of our head-sets and       the sharing of lessons learnt is taken in the
                         control consoles may      right spirit. Thus it is of utmost importance to
                         seem frivolous to         ensure objectivity during such sharing sessions
                         some. However, such       in order to avoid the pit-fall of “finger-pointing”
                         actions actually have     which could impede future discussions.
                         a more far-reaching
                         effect. It ultimately     Commitment
                          aims to build and
                          improve the quality of   Commitment enhances safety because people
relationships amongst personnel, by providing      who are more committed to their assigned
a conversation piece, thereby fostering            task are more willing to speak up when
interactions between the people and boosting       something is not right and would not turn a
the morale of our people. Together, these          blind eye to someone executing an unsafe act or
actions indirectly help to improve individual      contravening Standard Operating Procedures
commitment and motivation to ensure                (SOP). In-flight command and control relies
mission success. With the refurbishment of         heavily on team-work, and as long as someone
the squadron briefing room, the squadron           in the chain is not pulling his/her weight, the
hopes to create a vibrant environment of open      chain crumbles.
learning and sharing, encouraging exchange
of    experiences without the baggage of           The squadron recognises this and encourages
“rank gradient”. The room was also renamed         commitment through deliberate role-matching
“Learning Space” to provide a greater sense of     of secondary appointments through “open
“Family and Home” for the squadron personnel.      bidding” system, open rewarding/praising
                                                   of safe practises and giving recognition to
The latent consequence of an unhealthy and         personnel who executed his/her tasks safely
selfish culture can be far more insidious than     and competently.
the apparent root causes of any safety incident
of which no amount of safety nets can possibly
incarcerate. Building a strong and trusting
culture is therefore cardinal (pun intended) in
improving the safety culture in our squadron.

As the saying goes, “we run a tight ship around
here”. By building and maintaining a cohesive
and tight unit, the squadron has created a
sense of “brotherhood” amongst the people
where everybody looks out for one another.
By building trust among the people, we have
                                                    No rank gradient in teamwork.
the confidence that safe practises are being

 RSAF Safety Magazine Issue 58       jan 09

Core Competencies
Type competencies must be strengthened
in order to ensure that our people achieve
high standards of operations safely. As the
RSAF continues to evolve and develop new
capabilities, we must also move in tandem;
training our people through reinforcement
of our fundamentals while exploring new
competencies. In particular, task competencies
should also be focused on as we embark on
new developments such as Air-Land integration        The           squadron
operations through overseas exercises such           understands        that
as Ex Wallaby.                                       for    core      values
                                                     inculcation     to   be
This is done through knowledge sharing               effective, it cannot be
sessions amongst controllers, helping one            a top-down process.
another develop their operational capabilities.      Gone are the days of
The squadron conducts interactive workshops,         core values recital before
simulation training and table-top discussions        the water parade. These
that incorporate contingencies such as               days, we need to be
weather and aircraft emergency. Hence,               creative in order to appeal
creating an arena for controllers to train,          and be in tune with the
acquire new skills and a chance to refresh           hearts of the younger generation. Thus, popular
their operational knowledge. In addition,            movies such as “Band of Brothers” are screened
lessons learnt were shared with the squadron         to stimulate discussions on the values and
during EODD. Feedback also ensures everyone          lessons that can be gleaned from the storyline,
is on the same page. Watch areas were also           and how it applies to our context. Through
highlighted to maintain the vigilance level during   active participation in such forums, squadron
operations.                                          personnel will have a better appreciation of the
                                                     core values and understanding of our purpose,
SOP reviews are carried out on a regular basis       which in turn will result in people giving their all
to refine and eliminate unnecessary work             to ensure mission success.
processes, creating capacity for the operators
to focus on the tasks at hand. In addition, the      Conclusion
squadron also places huge emphasis on training,
particularly on the mastery of fundamentals          It takes two hands to clap. The active
and the enforcement of standards, to better          participation and support from the squadron
equip our people with the necessary knowledge        personnel plays a big part in making these initiatives
to ensure operational success. It is important       a success. Through the building of a cohesive and
for our people to be experts in their fields,        warm culture, improving the comradeship and
because having the expertise means one can           commitment of our people, developing our core
and will do the right thing, do things right and     competencies and strengthening our grounding
more importantly, do it safely.                      in the core values, the squadron aims to build a
                                                     common squadron identity, define our purpose
Core Values                                          and values, and improve on the collective
                                                     strength, operational capabilities and morale
Core values are our steering principles              of our people. It is important for our people to
towards a common goal. All personnel of an           subscribe to Project Cardinal and internalise this
organisation should subscribe to the same            common belief in order for the squadron's vision
set of beliefs in order to ensure that we are        to materialise, thereby bringing operational safety
moving in the same and right direction.              to the next level.

CAF Quarterly Safety Forum
      The CAF Quarterly Safety Forum cum RSAF Cardinal Air Time was
      successfully conducted on 13 Nov 08 at Changi Air Base (West) auditorium.

      Jointly organised by AFI and Transformation Office, the theme for this
      forum, “Cardinal Complements Safety”, incorporates the inaugural RSAF
      Cardinal air time into the quarterly event. Conducted in a cafe-style setting,
      the forum provided opportunity for participants to discuss various issues
      involving safety and CARDINAL initiatives.

      In addition, 21 CARDINAL Tier 1 Accreditation Awards were presented to
      recognise untis actively in CARDINAL initiatives. 8 CAF CARDINAL Award
      (Special) were also awarded to the crew of the search and rescue mission
      in adverse weather conditions (See story – Rescue at Sea on Page 2).

         CAF (centre) with the Cardinal award recipients from 125 Sqn and 1 MS.
   RSAF Safety Magazine Issue 58        jan 09

 Outstanding Safety Award
On 25 September 08, during a scheduled                  possibility of the UAV veering off the runway
UAV Partial Functional Check Flight (PFCF),             before it can engage the Hook Arrestor System
the Mission Commander, CPT Lee Chin Koon,               (HAS).
noticed a flapping piece of rubber-like strip
attached to the nose-wheel from the bottom              The Crew had demonstrated professionalism,
portion of his monitoring screen. The Internal          vigilance and sound decision making and
Pilot, 1WO Seah Quan Meng, assisted CPT                 prevented a potential accident from occurring.
Lee in making further assessment. While the             They are thus awarded the Outstanding Safety
actual flapping item could not be ascertained,          Award.
both were certain that something
was amiss.

The mission was terminated and the
crew made the decision to conduct a
low overshoot to enable the External
Pilot, 1WO Krishnasamy, to perform
a visual inspection. The inspection
revealed that the nose-wheel rubber
was torn, and had partially de-
laminated from the nose-wheel. 1WO
Krishnasamy subsequently landed
the UAV, nearer to the hook arrestor
system, so as to mitigate against the

 AFI Safety Workshop (ASW)
The AFI Safety Workshop (ASW) discussed the need for a
strong safety culture and introduced discussion topics to
engage the personnel. The workshop, organised by the Accident
Prevention Branch was attended by the ADA and PC units.

The workshop gives management a good understanding of the
role they play towards cultivating a good safety culture in the
workplace. The workshop also allows the ground crew to discuss
and feedback on their unit’s safety initiatives and concerns. The
café style discussion session focused on topics central to the unit’s
operations. Safety concerns were discussed and addressed through
active participation during the discussion. Holding such workshops
is part of AFI’s plan for imparting safety awareness.

Recent ASW Events
Unit: ADA Units
Venue: Paya Lebar Officers’ Mess
Date: 3 December 08

Unit: 125, 126, 127 SQN
Venue: Paya Lebar Officers’ Mess
Date: 4 December 08
1.   Name the Operational Commands of the 2 CSOs featured in this issue.
2.   Name the unit that was awarded the Outstanding Safety Award featured in this issue.
3.   What does WHIP stand for?
4.   When caught in a thunderstorm, we should always seek shelter under tall trees. True / False
5.   We should always stay in the open or on high ground during a thunderstorm. True / False
Email your answers with your Rank/Name, NRIC, Unit and contact details to:
First 3 correct entries will receive a $30 BORDERS voucher each.
Closing date is: 1st Mar 09

     Seen things you like about FOCUS?
     Wish to comment or give constructive comments on articles featured?
     Like to suggest new ideas to the editor?

     The stealth nightvision driver

     Good afternoon Sir,

     I was very impressed with your Road Safety article published in Issue No 57 and would like to share my two
     cents worth on the No headlights - The stealth nightvision driver.

     I would recommend that drivers switch on their headlights while in a multistorey carpark, regardless of the time
     of day. I have encountered some close calls when my car almost collided with another other driver, who was
     exiting the carpark in the wrong direction. It was a good thing both our headlights were on, else there would
     have been an accident.

     It is good to put up reflective car number plates to improve visibility when a vehicle is parked in a poorly lit area.
     The reflective background will reflect light from the source, improving visibility on the stationary vehicle (black
     lettering with reflective white for front and reflective yellow for the rear). This reflective car plates is not new
     as it was approved by LTA for some time already.

     In my humble opinion, I would recommend reflective number plates to replace the standard black number plates
     for MID vehicles and motorcycles.

     Just for sharing.

     Thank you.

     MSG Lam Hoon Leong

     The author thanks MSG Lam for his honest feedback, and sincerely wishes all drivers to "light up" their headlights
     and signal their intentions early. Towards safer roads!


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