This Red Lion And His Pride Will Be Heartland-ing In Bishan On 7 Aug
No tix for the National Day Parade (NDP) on 9 Aug but want to catch the iconic Red Lions in action? We gotchu - keep your eyes peeled for the sibei upz Red Lions on 7 August 2022, as they'll be doing free-fall jumps in two locations:
- the open field next to Junction 8, Bishan, between 8.40am and 9.30am
- the open field along North Buona Vista Road, near Ghim Moh Food Market, between 9.10am and 10am
If seeing the parachuters land one after another fills you with pride and excitement, you can just imagine what it's like for Red Lion 3WO Kuldheep Singh, who is participating in NDP for the first time.
Fun fact: Red Lions exit the aircraft at 6,000ft (that's about 1.83km or over six times the height of Guoco Tower, the tallest building in Singapore) and reach speeds of up to 180km/h.
Video footage: NDP 2022 EXCO
"Jumping as a Red Lion is definitely the proudest moment for any jumper," says 3WO Kuldheep, who has made 535 jumps to date, and who'll be the third jumper in the group of Red Lions landing in Bishan on 7 Aug.
"As a Red Lion, we’re representing Singapore and the SAF, and we’re doing it for the nation. It’s one of the three major things the crowd looks out for on National Day. I'm proud to be a Red Lion for the NDP Heartland jump."
We speak to the 47-year-old father of two daughters (aged 21 and 16) about what goes through his mind during a jump, and whether he's ever langgar-ed a bird on the way down.
Wah seh you've made 535 jumps to date! Does it ever get old?
Every jump is like the first jump. We are not complacent. As Red Lions, we take each and every jump seriously.
How different is it jumping in the heartlands compared to at the Marina Bay Floating Platform?
Doing the jump in the heartlands is quite challenging because of the terrain. We have a lot of obstacles such as buildings and traffic to look out for. So, our training involves a lot of practice, a lot of safety briefs, and contingencies.
Because we are representing the SAF as a Red Lion and as a display jumper, we need to do our best and put on a good show. But of course, safety is still paramount to us.
Have you ever hit a bird otw down? And what are some weather restrictions?
Oh no, we have not! I think the bird will be running away from us.
If it rains, they will not release us if the rain’s too heavy. It's all based on weather conditions. If the weather is fine and safe for us to jump, we jump.
When there are clouds, there's no visibility. So without visibility, we are not able to locate our drop zone. If you happen to fly into the cloud, our drill teaches us to just fly stable, and not to do anything. Once you’re out of the cloud, you might be out of your drop zone and there lies the potential danger for us.
What do you and the Red Lions hope to bring to the heartland crowds on 7 Aug?
The one thing we as the Red Lions hope to bring is the joy of looking at us jumping out of the aircraft at 6,000ft, and the adrenaline they feel for us, and the cheers we get when we land. That’s the biggest takeaway for us as Red Lions.
Anywhere else in the world you die-die would like to jump?
We have a phrase: "The world is our drop zone." So, I don't have any specific drop zone I would like to jump. But, honestly, on my bucket list is jumping [and landing at] the Padang.