Singapore aborts flight show after safety breached

Thu Feb 4, 2010 9:03am EST
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SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore aborted a flight display at its international airshow on Thursday after a South Korean pilot steered his jet too close to spectators, witnesses and the show organizer said.

An aerial display, which was supposed to last for eight minutes, was shortened to less than half that after the error by the T-50 Golden Eagle jet, owned by the Korean Aerospace Industries.

"The T-50 Golden Eagle's flight this afternoon was observed to have infringed the safety boundaries and the pilot was instructed to terminate his flying display as a precaution," Singapore Airshow's Marilyn Ho said in an email to Reuters.

"The Singapore Airshow has strict safety standards for all aerial displays. Proper safety markers and boundaries are in place to ensure the safety of the audience and the pilots." The week-long biennial Singapore Airshow kicked off on the densely populated island-state on Tuesday and is due to open to public this weekend, when thousands of spectators are expected to visit.

Thursday's flight display was watched by hundreds of trade visitors -- many of whom were wowed by the aircraft's proximity as it approached the show centre's seaside grounds, and then made an acute turn back out to sea, a witness told Reuters. "I was surprised at how low the aircraft was flying. First, I thought it was part of the thrill factor, but found it anti-climaxed when I didn't see the jet return, only to realize that the show had ended," said a Singaporean photographer who didn't want to be identified.

(Reporting by Nopporn Wong-Anan; Editing by David Fox)