Tuesday, 12 February 2013


LIMA 2013- An Airshow Photographer's Perspective

And Spotter Guide

RMAF Sukhoi Su-30 MKM at LIMA 2011

Last edited 26th March 2013

(Further updates will be added as new posts on the Blog; please check on the newer Blog posts for updates.) This is best done by pressing the "HOME" button at the end of this post.

The LIMA 2013 Updates will all be posted as blog updates.

According to the LIMA facebook page, the Russian Knights are coming to LIMA. Way cool!


And after all the intrigue, they did finally make it, with their Il-76 support aircraft, to rock the skies of Langkawi.

I have completed uploading all the photogalleries from LIMA 2011 to complete the work. When I checked, I discovered there were almost 3500 photographs from 2011, taking up just under 3GB at Mediafire (that's after binning all the out-takes). I remember the wrench of converting to digital all those years ago, but I am rather glad it happened now; not only would have taking 3500 shots created a financial disaster, they would have been impossible to share. This is rather a lot more illustrations that can be found in a book, and I suppose this is exactly like publishing a book. As such, please have a look, enjoy, and have a good time at Langkawi knowing what you will get if you keep station at a particular spot at a particular time. The weather at LIMA 2011 has been really kind, to enable the illustrations on this blog to turn out the way they did.

Later, I will expand the photogalleries to include past LIMAs. I have already started some hotel galleries (of the most beautiful hotels on Langkawi, naturally) and for attractions within Langkawi, so do check back. I do take pictures of things other than airplanes!

The resolution used in the uploads is 1920 x 1280.

If you wanted, you could download an entire gallery to run it as a slideshow on your HD TV to see how the displays progressed.

I do not live in Langkawi, so if any residents find any mistakes and want to help me maintain accuracy, please drop me a line at:


For a closer look, any of the photographs within this blog entry can also be clicked to enlarge.

KEYWORDS: LIMA 2013 Langkawi Malaysia airshow photographer photography 

According to local folklore, Langkawi derives its name from the eagle or helang. In old Malay, kawi denotes the colour Reddish-Brown. Hence, Langkawi  means Reddish-Brown Eagle.


Climate Information
Weather Forecast
Where To Stay In Langkawi
The Langkawi Airport
Road Manners
Photography at LIMA
Trade Passes
Indoor Static Exhibition (MIEC)
Static Display
Aerial Display
Maritime Display
Public Days
Photography Vantage Points
Specific Photography Tips for LIMA 2013
Photographer's Review of LIMA 2011
List of Aerial Display Aircraft 2011
List of Static Display Aircraft 2011
List of Participating Warships 2011
Useful Internet Resources
Summary of Photo Galleries


The Langkawi  International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) Exhibition is the premier airshow and aerospace trade exhibition in Malaysia, and is held at Langkawi airport (the aerospace section), with the maritime section at the Awana Porto Malai/ Star Jetty area at the south-western tip of Langkawi island. It is said to be the third largest aviation trade show in the world, after Farnborough and the Paris Air Show.

The organiser's website is at:


This year, LIMA 2013 is scheduled to take between 26th to 30th March 2013. This is a major change in dates; previously, the shows had all been held in December. Thus, LIMA 2013 should have been held in December 2013; it is being brought forward by  9 months. So, this is an entirely new period for me to visit Langkawi; I hope the weather is kind.

The airshow in 2011 was marked by exceptional weather; hardly any of the days passed without brilliant blue skies during the Aerial Display. Here's hoping for more of the same in 2013.


The link at the above website is down, but here is an alternate source:



A useful summary can be found here:


The monthly temperature chart is as follows:

The weather is hot hot hot, and humid. Hot I don't mind. I just hope that the sky is deep blue and cloudless, so that the colours on the planes come out brilliantly. On an exceptional day, the beautiful blue of the sky reminds me of the sky in Australia. Of course, the lack of clouds jacks the temperature up, so please cover up with sunscreen, hats, sunglasses and whatever else is needed to prevent severe sunburn (and other sun exposure illnesses).

The temperature, being pretty constant, does not bother me much. What really does matter is the rain. Langkawi's dry season happens to fall between December and March, as shown in the monthly rainfall chart below.

January and February are great rainless periods to visit Langkawi.  December, when the LIMA airshow was traditionally held, and March, when this forthcoming edition will be held, are quite good too.  It seems December and March are on the receiving end of equivalent (low) amounts of rain. There was only one LIMA I have been to where the rain was so bad that I went home terribly disappointed; on all the other occasions, there has been more than sufficient sunshine to declare the trip a success.


The averages are just that- averages.

For an updated weather forecast, head here:


A very accurate shortterm weather forecast can be found here:


This site gives a very useful cloud cover animation via MTSAT-2:


Hope it is blue skies on the day!


Obviously, you want to be able to get to the photographic vantage points (see later) easily. That essentially means somewhere along Pantai Cenang, or anywhere between Kuah and the main highway that runs East-West through the centre of Langkawi, called Jalan Padang Matsirat. Kuah is about 15 minutes drive from Site A if traffic is smooth. If you stay on Pantai Cenang, you can travel anticlockwise in the morning (go south, then turn left at Hotel Aseana) to bypass the airport to get to Sites A, B and C,  avoiding the heavy  traffic heading northwards to the airport.

The only places one should be a bit wary of are  hotels on the north-west of the island. The roads are narrow and winding there, and you will have difficulty accessing Sites A, B and C in the morning as you may have no alternative but to drive via the busy airport road. There is a way to bypass the airport, but only via a lengthy detour past village roads. (see the Google map under the Sightseeing section). It can take you over an hour to get from The Andaman to the airshow area, and even longer from Tanjung Rhu! As for the drive back in darkness...

I find that I spend so little time in the hotel room, anywhere safe and accessible is quite OK. And if you find yourself spending a lot of time in your hotel room during LIMA, you haven't got your priorities right. In that case, choose a time to visit Langkawi that does not clash with LIMA!

The period between 23rd to 31st March 2013 just happens to be during the week-long Malaysian school holidays after the first semester of learning. As a result, it is sensible to book your hotels early. In the bad old days, it boiled down to accommodation lists and telephone calls, but the last few times, I just booked online, using the following sites:


The former has an incredible selection of accommodation on Langkawi.

If you want reviews and photos of the hotel you choose, go here:


This being the school holidays, expect a lot of hotels to be full unless you book in advance (like now).

In addition, the hotels in Langkawi ALWAYS jack up prices at LIMA time, so expect a degree of sticker shock.  In addition, a lot of the hotels are block-booked by  trade exhibitors, military personnel, security details, media representatives ... you get the drift.

If you are carrying around a sizeable amount of photo gear, do not go for the pokiest accommodation available- you may regret it (although I believe that crime is pretty nonexistent on Langkawi).

The weekend prior to this boasts the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix at the Sepang circuit, Kuala Lumpur:


If you are a real glutton for punishment and want to exercise your long lens during this school holiday period, with no regard for UV overexposure, this is the way to do it!


I have started with some achingly beautiful galleries of the four hotels on the unspoilt northern beaches of the island, with the finest clean, powdered white snow sand-  The Four Seasons, Tanjung Rhu Resort, The Datai and The Andaman. Walking on the beach is like gliding through icing sugar.

The Four Seasons Resort Langkawi

These are actually the places you should not stay at during LIMA, for purely practical reasons. It takes way too long to access the show sites due to distance and slow, small winding roads, and prices here are increased to astronomical levels during LIMA time.

But if you are unsure whether ever to visit Langkawi outside of showtime, a look at the galleries will hook you forever. I look forward to the day Mr Bond makes a location shoot at  The Four Seasons, and The Datai makes an appearance in a Tomb Raider movie- they are THAT spectacular. I consider The Four Seasons the most beautiful hotel I have visited in Malaysia, and there are a lot of extremely beautiful resorts in country.

The problem is, those 4 hotels make accomodation elsewhere in Langkawi seem tatty by comparison! So, perhaps stay in Langkawi first, then only look when you return home- for the next visit back?

The link is at:


For other information about where to stay/ eat/ go/ chill out, look here:



This is the main airport terminal building.

The airport is rather nice and civilised inside. This is a view from the airport restaurant.

Langkawi International Airport (LGK) has a single runway  angled at 03/21, which is 3325 metres long.

This is where the airport is situated:


The Control Tower is on Facebook!


Airside view of  Langkawi Control Tower and Airport Terminal Building

The Langkawi airport complex and surrounding landmarks as seen looking south-westwards from Gunung Machinchang

Being an out-of-towner,  I have to arrive by air. I'll be taking the early AirAsia flight to arrive in Langkawi by 1000 hours on Tuesday 26th March - to allow enough time to collect my luggage, rent a car, and head up to the lookout point on the hill overlooking the airport to catch the first flying display which normally starts by 1200 noon. If the skies are cloudless and blue, my endorphins rise significantly.

I like to pick a window seat on the port side of the aircraft near the rear flying into Langkawi, to have a good view of the static display line which will appear on your left. Landings at the airport use the 03 heading, and take-offs the 21 heading, due to terrain.

Car rentals at the airport are inexpensive compared with the rest of Malaysia, due to the duty-free nature of the island. There are a whole lot of car rental desks  before you leave the baggage collection area- just be sure to bargain. If one is staying till Sunday, one can normally get a car for RM 90 if you bargain hard. Some of the cars have had hard use, so do inspect before accepting! That said, I have never managed to pick up a dud car.

The car is quite necessary if you want to go around the various vantage points for ideal photographic angles, and if you want to sightsee when the airshow is over. There are no bus services on Langkawi. Taxis do not ply the roads looking for custom, but  are booked by calling a telephone number via cellphone; there is thus a wait, and they are not cheap. If you want mobility, a car is it. The vehicles are Right Hand Drive.

If you are only shuttling around Kuah, Pantai Cenang and the airport, you will have no problem finding petrol stations. If, however, you leave the populated zones  and go to the far places on the map that are covered in green, please note that petrol stations can be hard to find. Keep your tank topped up, as distances are further than they seem due to the winding terrain.

Know where the petrol stations are!

If you are flying yourself into Langkawi, go here:



We drive on the left in Malaysia, and if you want to get onto a motorbike, wear a helmet. Most of the year, Langkawi is underpopulated, with just 60,000 residents. At heart, it is a rustic place, and even on the highway, animals own the road. So, let them pass unhindered if they appear.


Be cool.


The runway is angled at 03/21. This means that for the morning displays, the best vantage points are on the side if the runway opposite the control tower, if you want the sun to be at your back. I have designated these as Site A, Site B and Site C.

If you have never visited LIMA before, I would make a beeline for Site A.

Quite simply, it is spectacular, as it is a panoramic lookout point halfway up a hill about 100 metres above runway level, allowing an unrestricted view of the entire runway from an elevated position, which is such a rarity as airshows go. The hill on which  Site A stands is also used as a turn point by display aircraft and a navigational landmark, so if you have not experienced a Su-30 MKM whizzing past at full military power, close enough to almost touch, this is the place for you! That said, this is the vantage point farthest from the runway, so you do need a long lens and steady hands to make the most of this site. On a clear day, however, the view  from here is hard to beat.

If you are a hard-core aviation buff, however, go to Site B. 

That us where you are closest to the heavy metal, and where you will get the most bang per mm of telephoto. 

For aerial displays starting in the afternoon, sites at the same side of the runway as the control tower are best. I have termed these Site D (apron at the exhibition site proper) and Site E. Site E is just spectacular, as I will later show. Standing there with few others for company is just like having your own private airshow playing out in front of your eyes.

LIMA is the only airshow I know if where the best views are not to be had at the normal crowd line, but from outside the airfield altogether!

Of course, pray for clear weather and blue skies. As the humidity is high, watch for aircraft streaming vapour trails and vortices during tight turns at corner velocity.

Colour photography is about colour and shape. You cannot obtain the desired colour without the proper light, (which means you have to be at a certain place at a certain time), and you cannot obtain the shape without a sufficiently long lens, or a standing position close enough. This blog will try to enlighten you on the place and the time. The rest is up to the Weather Gods, your gear and skills, and the amazing pilots who will pose their million-dollar machines for you, hopefully in front of a brilliant blue sky. Be there, and stay attentive. Expect the unexpected.


You really want to photograph the static display on the trade days, and avoid the apron during the last two public days.  The reason is that there are far fewer people to block the view, and the crowd barriers are not erected till the public days. So you can go in, sit in cockpits, pick up whatever souvenirs you want, at a leisurely pace. So, you need a Trade Pass.

To apply, go to:


It costs RM 50, and is money well spent.

I will usually collect the Pass on Tuesday 26th March after I witness the show at Site A, and spend the afternoon walking around the static display parked on the apron. In 2011, they did a really strange thing as  they closed the static display area off to non-VIPs on the second and third trade days as security for these exulted people, so get in the photography soonest, when the weather and circumstances permit.  If you have excess time, head out to the naval display at Awana Porto Malai (see below).

This is why you need a trade pass. Sometimes, you have the apron all to yourself!


This is held at the Mahsuri International Exhibition Centre (MIEC), which is separated from the main Langkawi Airport building by the Hotel Helang. To get there from the airport. turn left (bearing 210) as you leave the airport buildings. The public carparks will be on your right, and the MIEC will be on your left. Only official cars will be allowed to enter the carparks within the MIEC, so leave your rental vehicle at the public car parks and walk across the road to get into the grounds.

Admission is only starts at 1000, which leads to some difficulties as detailed in the section on PUBLIC DAYS below.

This is the only place where there is any air-conditioning, so head here if the sun has gotten the better of you. There are stalls selling refreshments and meals, at various price points. Some of the 5-star hotels around the island have set up stall, so you may expect great 5-star meals too, at 5-star prices.

There is free Internet access at PCs located around the Hall; no WiFi, though, in 2011. Toilets are also located within the Hall.

If you want photos of equipment sans people, just wait till near closing time.

Flags flying at the main entrance:

What you see of the MIEC from the road:

What you see as you pass the main entrance gate:

Airside view of the MIEC

Inside the MIEC:

F-15E high-resolution simulator

The maritime booths were once at a separate site at Awana Porto Malai, but since 2009, they have moved to the MIEC as well. The ship models are pretty fantastic.

A gallery can be found at:



This is located at the apron between the MIEC and the runway. The list of participating aircraft is here:


This gets updated as the show date gets nearer.

So far, 75 aircraft (12-2-13) will be attending. As usual, the entire hardware of Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) will be there. As the RMAF and other airwings of the Coast Guard and Police fly a selection of British, American, French and Russian machines, quite a selection of aricraft, both fixed wing and rotary, will be on display.

Most of the display aircraft are parked on the apron for the duration of the airshow. However,some (like the RMAF C-130s) fly in and out at dawn and dusk, and in 2011, the Eurofighter Typhoon was based at Butterworth AB.

The majority of the aircraft coming have been displayed before, but these are new:

1) Boeing E-7A Wedgetail AEW (RAAF)
2) KT-1B Woong Bee (Indonesian AF Jupiter aerobatic team)
3) KDC-10 (Omega Refueling Services Inc)

I hope more new hardware will exhibit by the time the exhibition opens.

Full scale replica of Eurofighter Typhoon

Sikorsky S-92

Aermacchi MB-339CM and BaE Hawk Mk 208

Front end

Back end

Business end

Within the bowels of the C-17A

A rare sighting of a RMAF RF-5E Tigereye at LIMA 2009

A gallery can be found at:


On a Public Day, the view is rather different:



LIMA opens with a BANG: Simulated ground-attack run by two F-5Es starts off the first aerial display on 6th December 2011

Scheduled once a day during the trade days (scheduled 1230  till 1400) on 26th, 27th and 28tth March 2013, and twice on the public days (1000- 1130, then 1430 till 1630) on 29th and 30th March 2013. Hence, 7 flying displays spread over 5 days.

The display on the first day is always  special- something like the opening sequence in a Bond film. In the past, it has included massed paradrops, a B-52 flypast, and an airfield attack run by F-5s in 2011.

The flying display list is not out yet, but I am eagerly waiting to see what's going up.

The Russian Knights seem to be coming:


They are such a rare sighting, a trip to LIMA 2013 is worth it just for their appearances alone.

The Indonesian Jupiter aerobatic team is listed in the Static Display list above, so I presume they will be displaying.


Just like in years past, I presume the RMAF Smokey Bandits (MiG-29N) will put in their normal appearance. They are scheduled for retirement in 2015.

The Eurofighter Typhoon is to display again.

It would be great if the RTAF Gripens could put up a display, rather than just sit on the flight line in static mode. I caught them below as they were returning home.

RTAF Saab JAS-39 Gripen

The Kris Sakti team managed this superbly on Day 1. On other days, the cloud cover obscured the pattern, or the smoke generators did not operate as planned. A suggestion: coloured smoke can be useful!

The main purchase the RMAF has to make is the MiG-29N replacement, of which 4 aircraft have been shortlisted: the Typhoon, Rafale, Super Hornet and Gripen. As such, expect some spirited performances as they press their case.


The display is sited at the Star Jetty and the Awana Porto Malai. Forget about getting a room here; it is block-booked solid from the day LIMA is announced.  The link to the Google Map is as follows:


Awana Porto Malai hosts the maritime half of LIMA

The Awana is a pretty hotel!

The gallery for The Awana is found here:


 A list of ships attending is already up, at:


Essentially. most types in service with the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) make an appearance, including the submarine (KD Tun Razak) moored at the Jetty. If onboard visits are allowed, visiting vessels  will berth at the Star Jetty. They will allow you to board  different vessels each day, Makes life interesting, shuttling between the maritime and aerospace display sites, to make the most of this. Ergo, you need a car, as time is tight.

KD Tun Razak.at LIMA. No visiting allowed!

KD Jebat (FFG 29)- a FS 2000 class frigate. Flagship of the RMN

Silos for Vertical Launch Seawolf SAMs on board KD Jebat

RSS Supreme, the sixth and last of the RSN's Formidable-class multimission stealth frigates

Agusta AS-365 Dauphin II of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency inbound to display at LIMA 2011

Aboard PNS Saif. Note the ASW mortar launcher in the bow.

There are also synchronised displays by the Navy, Special Forces and the Coast Guard and Marine Police daily, viewed from the boardwalk of the Awana Porto Malai. This is an airshow totally separate from the one at the airport, and you need to turn up at least once to take some great shots.

Ferries transfer crews from the Jetty and the naval vessels, and if you ask nicely and do not look like a threat, you can get on board one of these for a cruise round the participating vessels. This is great for getting close-up views of the warships. I do this during the trade days. I presume this does not happen during public days, for security reasons.

If you are still undecided as to whether to visit, have a look at the photographs I went away with in just an afternoon, at:


The islands offshore are reminiscent of the scenery around Halong Bay in Vietnam- what an awesome backdrp!


The airshow is open to the public  on Friday 29th and Saturday 30th March 2013. The strange thing is that the organisers do not allow admission until 1000, so there are long lines snaking into the MIEC from 0830 onwards. It becomes unpleasant at the head of the crowd, if it gets packed. Also, one is exposed to the sun, and, God forbid, the rain. One year (2007), it got particularly hairy as they opened just a small entrance to let the multitude in, and a tragedy could have occurred in the crush.  All told, not a good place to be at opening time, especially with kids. That was the year I vowed that I would never risk life and limb trying to compete with the hoi polloi for entrance at 1000h.

In any case,

1) The sun is against you for the morning flying display, so it is much better to spectate and beat the crowd at Sites A, B or C, where the photography is a lot more rewarding

2) For some unknown reason, the organisers start the first aerial display at 1000, when everyone is still queing for tickets outside. So, much better you are at Sites A, B or C at that time, unless you just want to experience the noise of the display, without the visuals.


Only available at Site D, so visit the loo before you set off for displays at Sites A, B, C and E. (and restrict your water intake until egress). Take note of the petrol stations en route, for these will be a godsend. A particularly vital one is situated on Jalan Chandek Kura, just 50 metres from its junction with Jalan Padang Matsirat. This essentially covers Sites A, B and C.


Enterprising stallholders have set up stalls for light refreshments and nibbles at Sites A, B, C and E
Site D is served by official caterers.

Malaysians never let an opportunity for a good nosh pass by.

There are also souvenir stalls (for jackets, T shirts, camo gear, aircraft models etc) at the car park at Site A. Great for getting wide-brimmed hats, if you have forgotten yours.


While I admire the fellas who arrive in T-shirts, shorts and slippers, I am afraid my melanin levels are never up to the amount of intense sun Langkawi can dish out. And in this type of photography, the more sun the better, as long as it does not result in too much heat haze. My suggestion:

1) Quick-dry longsleeved shirt-and long cargo trousers-  you will appreciate not being drenched in sweat, and the flexibility lots of pockets gives you.

2) Sensible shoes- Site B can get wet and slippery, and Site E entails a walk of a kilometre to the runway fence, then up some earth mounds to get an elevated view.

3) A wide-brimmed hat ideally with a flap to protect the back of your head and neck, as the sun can beat down pretty hard, and there is nothing as uncomfortable as a sunburned neck.

4) An umbrella. Both when the sun gets wildly hot at show end, and also at those times when unwelcome precipitation arrives.

5) Camera rain sleeves/ waterproof covering for your camera bag or rucksack. (Better than having to dry everything out).

6) Earplugs, to prevent cochlear damage from engine noise

7) Toilet Roll. You never know when this will come in handy. Useful for cleaning off sweat, rain, dust and other things. Never leave home without one in your camera bag.

8) Water.

Sensible guy:

Below is an example of various clothing styles and lenses as used by a group of Japanese photographers, seen heading back from Site B after the display ends.


Well, here it is. The places where I think it is best to stand and photograph the show. If you are serious, I think Site A and Site B offer the best experiences. In particular, Site A never gets old. It's why I return to Langkawi repeatedly.

View of airport complex from Gunung Machinchang, showing the 5 main photographic vantage points for LIMA. The breakwater protecting the airport runs offshore.



This is the scenic lookout site (Pemandangan Indah) halfway up Bukit Cengkuan. This is what makes LIMA so special. As the planes swoop over the airfield, you are at Eye Level!

However, as this is the spot farthest from the display axis, this is also where you need the longest lenses. 

Even with a 600mm equivalent, you will find it hard to take frame-filling shots of trainer aircraft , helicopters and small jets like the F-16.

But for casual spectating, this is hard to beat.

Eurofighter Typhoon at LIMA 2011

This lookout point is indicated by the green arrow on the Google Map below:

This is a video of the site:

You can see the entire airport and runway below you, with the backdrop of other hills to the North. The hill slope to your rear and the trees behind will block off some visibility.

Aircraft take off from the right on Runway 21, and roll down the runway towards the sea to the left.

If you strain, you can see all the way to the end of runway 21...

This is a magnified image of the take-off point as seen from Site A

Five RMAF MiG-29Ns (Smokey Bandits) taxiing to start their display

I was told that the trees below the lookout point are specially trimmed just before LIMA so as to afford spectators an uninterrupted view of the runway. I trust they will remember to do this in 2013, too!

This is Site A as viewed by the less fortunate down at the airport at Ground Level...

Site A with Gunung Raya in the background

A closer view of Site A. Its bearing is 110 as measured from the Airport Control Tower.

There are two  rectangular gazebos where you can shelter if you are unlucky enough to encounter a rainstorm.

Site A when LIMA is over

Site A when LIMA is over

Site A when LIMA is over

Directions to get there if you are driving westwards from Kuah Town:

1) Drive West towards the Airport along the main central highway through the island, which is Jalan Padang Matsirat (112 on the Google Map above). The lookout point is 13 km from Kuah town.

2) When you are approaching the airport, going uphill, you will see this sign:

 3) When you see this sign, you have arrived:

You will see a line of cars parked on the hard shoulder. Either park behind them, or in front of them. If you arrive late, the small dedicated car park reached by small access road on the left, is likely already full.

4) If you zoom past this, you have gone a bit too far!

5) After you have stowed the car, climb up the pathway that leads to the Lookout Point.

Well, actually that's the scarier path, with a steep drop to the right. (if you leap from the guardrails). If you are wobbly, there is a gentler stepped path that starts from the bottom of the car park.

When you reach the top, you will see a tiled, decorated  observation area that always makes my heart beat faster whenever I am there.

You may want to move a bit lower down, to escape all those people in front:

Once up there, enjoy!

 Bombardier Aerospace CL-415 banking over LGK

Two galleries can be found here:

LIMA airshow 2011 Site A  6-12-11    1120 - 1320h
LIMA airshow 2011 Site A  8-12-11    1030-1300h


Site B is located outside the airport perimeter fence, opposite the control tower.

This is indicated by the green arrow below.

There were indications in 2011 that they were about to raise the fence somewhat; this would be a pity, as it would block some of the take-off shots, which are to your right.

Here are two videos of Site B:

This is where you are, staring straight at the Hotel Helang across the fence, with the sun behind you. Pick your spot properly, and you will have 360 degrees of visibility.

Directions to get there if you are driving westwards from Kuah Town:

1) Drive West towards the Airport along the main central highway through the island, which is Jalan Padang Matsirat (112 on the Google Map above).

2) You will reach the junction marked "Kedawang" on the left, 11.8 km after leaving Kuah town. Turn left here into Jalan Chandek Kura (116 on the Google Map). The petrol station which serves as a very convenient loo stop is on your right as you turn in.

3) Keep going another 1.7 kilometres until you reach a T-junction

4) At that T- junction, turn Right into Jalan Padang Wahid (156 on the Google Map). It is a dead-end road, which extends forwards for another 0.8 kilometres,

5) At the end of the road, park the car, get down, and choose your spot to stand.  The road ends right at the Perimeter Fence of the airport.

6) It is quite a large area, with some water features behind you. Numerous stalls with snacks and drinks. No toilet, though.

Pick an elevated spot, and bring your chair if needed.

You are backed by some "lakes"...

This is what Site B looks like, viewed from Site D (ie at the static display site, across the other side of the runway):

Just a bit further on,  some residents have set up tents. All the comforts of home.

This is how Site B looks, viewed from the lofty perch that is Site A. Look for the water features, and Site B just in front of those.

F-18 lands right in front of Site B:

Sometimes it is empty...

... and sometimes the place gets crowded.

And this is what everyone is here for. Aircraft screaming directly towards you from Show Centre.

Three galleries can be found below::

LIMA airshow 2011 Site B  7-12-11    1120-1330h
LIMA airshow 2011 Site  B   9-12-11  1015-1140h
LIMA airshow 2011 Site B  10-12-11  1005-1145h



Site C is at the sloping field in front of the Department of Civil Aviation's staff quarters.

This is indicated by the green arrow on the map. It is at ground level, north-east of Site B, on the same side of the  perimeter fence at Site B. Because of fencing and terrain, it is not possible to walk  the 400 metres  between the two, close as they may be as the crow flies.

Here is a video of Site C:

You can't miss it; the field is where the white  "Langkawi" airfield sign is.

This is what Site C looks like when viewed from Site D:

Directions to get there if you are driving westwards from Kuah Town:

1) Drive West towards the Airport along the main central highway through the island, which is Jalan Padang Matsirat (112 on the Google Map above). You will reach this roundabout, which is just before the airport.

2) Take the first road on the left, towards Kampung Bohor Chempedak:

3) This will bring you parallel to the airport runway on your right, travelling along the perimeter fence. You will pass all these as you drive further on:

4) You can stop at any point (note the ubiquitous fixed and motorised outlets for food and drink)

5) But I suggest you drive right on till you reach the Department of Civil Aviation's Staff Quarters right at the end of the road:

Sign at entrance to DCA quarters

Drive up past the open gates and up the road

5) Park the car somewhere within the compound. Then, walk down to the large field in front of the staff accommodation. The sloping field affords an  elevated view of the runway from the take-off point to your right (here, an Air Asia Airbus A320 awaits clearance for take-off)

6) The view extends to the main airport buildings till just past the midpoint of the runway. The trees and rocks on the left block access to Site B, which is just a bit farther on to the left.

In the morning, the sun is nicely at your back, lighting up the aircraft beautifully as they rotate for takeoff, traversing the runway from Right to Left.

Sometimes, it gets pretty crowded here!

This is what Site C looks like, viewed from above from Site A:

At Site C, you are staring straight down a main taxiway!

Dassault Rafale B on a demonstration flight

The day after LIMA, Site C is deserted. And the forestalled rain showers come down.

A gallery link is found here:

LIMA airshow 2011 Site  C  7-12-11    1400-1445h


This site needs no introduction- it is at the apron in front of the MIEC where the static display aircraft are parked, where one can catch a very good view of the air display. For most visitors to LIMA, this site is the only one from where they will experience the aerial display.

One word of caution- there are two morning displays starting at 1000 am here on the public days. The problem is:

1) The light is against you, and the aircraft will be backlit

2) They do not allow you to buy tickets till 1000 am. So by the time you buy your tickets, clear security and enter, you will have missed a large chunk of the air display.

So, save yourself the bother, and view the morning display from Sites A, B or C instead

The afternoon display should be quite well-lit and ideal for photography. Unfortunately, if the morning has been very hot,  cumulus can build up leading to afternoon convectional showers,  muting the second session as far as photography goes.

Contrast severely reduced under cloud

I know which shot I prefer.

The light can also be harsh and way too vertically overhead, leading to highly-shadowed aircraft. But given other elements coming together, the shot can be very acceptable. You have to think artistically, rather than in terms of record shots now.

The light direction may not be optimal at points, thus leading to excess contrast and blown highlights. You cannot use automatic metering here

All in all, this is the site for which I cross my fingers most of all. However, this is the usual and only place where the normal casual airshow crowd go to, thus missing out on plenty of spectacular action better viewed from elsewhere.

The location of Site D is indicated by the green arrow below.

Here is a video of Site D:

Directions to get there if you are driving westwards from Kuah Town:

1) Drive West towards the Airport along the main central highway through the island, which is Jalan Padang Matsirat (112 on the Google Map above). You will reach this roundabout, which is just before the airport.

2)  Go straight across the roundabout (ie second turning on the left) following the sign towards the airport

3) You will reach another roundabout. Same instructions as for the first roundabout.

4) Go past the airport terminal access road, passing the Hotel Helang on the left.

5) This will take you to the designated parking spaces opposite the road from the MIEC, Just park, and enter.

This is the view of Site D as seen from Site B:

This is Site D from Site A:

If it gets really hot, find the aircraft with the largest wings!


This is what everyone came for:

RAAF F-111 performing a "Dump and Burn" at LIMA 2009, with Site A in the background

Taxiing back to the allocated parking slot

A gallery can be found here:

LIMA airshow 2011 Site D  9-12-11    1430-1615h


Site E is at a golf driving range opposite the Police Training Centre Langkawi (hence the pathogmonic blue - and - white livery of the buildings).

This was inaccessible until 2011, due to tall trees and underbrush (unless you wee armed with a machete). This is what it looked like in 2009:

This is what Site E looked like in 2011, as seen from Site A. The trees have been totally cleared!

The location of Site E indicated by the green arrow below.


These are two videos of various points in Site E:

At the edge of the field, you have unobstructed 360 degrees of visibility.

At some points, you seem to be walking on ash. I presume this means that the remains of the trees felled underwent incineration on site.

Site E is actually the field in front of the Blue-and-White buildings of the Police Training School, so we shall use those distinctive buildings as the landmark.

Directions to get there if you are driving westwards from Kuah Town:

1) Drive West towards the Airport along the main central highway through the island, which is Jalan Padang Matsirat (112 on the Google Map above). You will reach this roundabout, which is just before the airport.

2)  Go straight across the roundabout (ie second turning on the left) following the sign towards the airport

3) You will reach another roundabout. Same instructions as for the first roundabout.


4) Go past the airport terminal, Hotel Helang and the MIEC (road 168 in the Google Map above) on your left.

5) The road will end at a T-junction. There, turn left (onto road 115).

6) You will reach these buildings, which is part of the Police Training Centre. The entrance to the field is opposite this cluster of buildings.

View looking towards the direction of the airport

7) The field has been levelled to turn it into a Golf Driving Range.

Luckily, not too many people are shooting balls on LIMA Airshow Day, so you can safely walk across the field (which is rather uneven), Tread softly, and try not to sprain your ankle.

8) This is what it looks like at the start of the walk across the field (about 500 metres in a straight line). The sun is nicely behind you, in time for the afternoon's  flying display. Bukit Cengkuan (the hill where Site A resides) and Gunung Raya are to the fore.  Note the golf balls dotting the terrain, and the beautiful direction of the sun.

9) After a while, you will reach the perimeter fence, This is a view down the runway to the right (ie out to sea). The police buildings are quite prominent.

10) This is a view to the left, back towards the airport terminal buildings and the MIEC. If you stand on the artificial mounds of earth, you will find yourself above the barbed  wire atop the fences. But aircraft will be airborne by the time they reach you. Note the cloud directly over the airfield. Just your luck.

11) This is the view looking directly backwards towards the entrance to the field, and the police training centre. I presume the makeshift flag is the target all the golfers are driving at.

What a desolate-looking place, But this is the place where you can approach the runway closest. The RMAF Su-30KM pulls out of its Cobra maneuver right in front of you.

The C-17 lumbers into the air right in front of you:

The F/A-18F Super Hornet banks into a climb on full power:

And the Smokey Bandits go wheels-up right before your eyes.

Recovery happens right in front of you, too.

This being the last flying display of LIMA 2011, there was a 3-ship BaE Hawk flypast:

All-in-all, Site E is the FIND of the year, a great site for shooting ground-to-air. I got to know about it from a bunch of Germans who stumbled upon it the previous day, many thanks to them.

There were very few others standing by the perimeter fence, save this Japanese, who came well prepared with a ladder. Ah, persistence.

I really have no idea why all those concrete blocks have been placed there, but I sure hope I can access Site E for LIMA 2013!

A gallery of photographs can be accessed here:

LIMA airshow 2011 Site  E  10-12-11  1420-1630h


Sites A till E essentially covers all the sites on either side of the runway around crowd centre. There are other sites, of course. The rest of the perimeter  around the airport is generally accessible (look at the Google map), apart from an area stretching south-west of Site B  where there isn't a road.

The sites at either end of the runway are thus accessible, but offer limited views of the action, due to their distance from crowd centre. You can catch planes on their landing approach at the southwestern tip of the airport, but the fence here is so high, you cannot take good photographs of the actual touchdown. In my opinion Site E is much better.

The seaside location, however, is a joy in itself

(I'll modify this when I figure out how to stitch them together).


Airshow photography is a combination of the technical aspects of photography, ie the classic interplay between ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture values and camera gear, together with the artistic aspects of photography.

Many commentators have touched upon the former, and it is not my intention to go over that ground. Just Google "Airshow Photography" to find out what other pundits say, and adapt the methods to your own personal quirks.

A great take on the artistic aspects of photography can be found at:



This round, I am taking two APS-C bodies: a Canon 550D, and a 650D. Three lenses make up the vital glassware- the Canon 100-400 mm f4.5 - 5.6 L IS, the 15-85 f3.5 - 5.6 IS EF-S, and the Canon 10-22 mm f3.5- 4.5 EF-S.

During the aerial display, the first two lenses are mounted by default. If aerobatic display teams get really wide, or if there is a particularly interesting jet smoke trail in a vertical climb, the 10-22 gets mounted.

The 100-400mm debuted in 1998, and has been a staple of airshow photographers since due to its combination of light weight, small size and image quality. Nothing has bested it for 15 years!

A good review is at:


The 15-85mm is much newer, and a good review is at:


My main grouse about this lens is its irritating tendency to zoom creep. If this can be cured, I'd be a very happy man. This means that every time you use it, you will have to reset it to the short end, as it inevitably extends to the 85mm end as you wear it round your neck.

The other problem is that it has oodles of barrel distortion and vignetting at 15mm. The solution? Crank it only as wide as 24mm, and those problems disappear.

The 10 - 22mm is the ultrawide angle lens of choice for APS-C. A good review of the 10-22mm is at:


For a lens this wide, it has almost no barrel distortion at the wide end! It is also very light and small, for an ultrawide. Highly portable, and  doesn't kill your neck. How can it be improved? Add Image Stabilisation.

During the static display, the 10-22 comes into its own, to achieve compositions impossible otherwise, and to obviate the problem of other spectators blocking your view. The other lens I mount is the 15-85 mm for picking out details, and the 100-400 mm really gets little exercise.  Combined, the three lenses cover a full-frame equivalent of 16 - 640 mm.

There are advantages of shooting in APS-C - you are using the sweet central spot of the 100-400, and you are really stretching its effective focal length. Plus, there is a weight, cost and size advantage. For the time being, APS-C stays in my arsenal.

I really do not know how Nikon shooters do it. The nearest equivalent long lens, the 80-400 mm f4.5 - 5.6 ED VR, has focussing too slow to keep pace with airshow movements:


(a newer version was launched in April 2013. That's just in time for LIMA 2015) 

A review is at:

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/80-400mm.htm and


The problem is now cost: the Nikon lens costs USD 2700, which is way over the cost of the Canon 100-400 (USD 1,700). That's progress for you.

It will happen to the Canon 100-400 as well. It is pretty old, and its design will be refreshed, at a huge cost to the fellas who want to upgrade. That's tech obsolescence for you.


I have been using my eyeballs so long, I trust them above any lightmeter. Of course, you also have the LCD monitor and the histogram to correct any exposure defects on review.

A advantage/ disadvantage is that Langkawi offers very high ambient light levels on a bright day.  Even a dull Langkawi day often exhibits brighter  light levels than many a bright European day!

I do not see any difference in the product from ISO 100, 200 or 400, so I normally select the ISO 200 or 400 setting.

On a bright day:

ISO 200 f 6.3 1/2000s
ISO 400 f 7.1 1/3200s

There is no way you cannot freeze jet plane movement, and the IS also helps if your panning is a bit suspect.

The problem is when photographing prop planes or helicopters, you really do not want to freeze the propellers or rotors. As such, you need a slow shutter speed of 1/200s or less.

The problem is that Langkawi light levels are so bright, you need to restrict both your ISO rating as well as increase f-numbers to really high numbers eg

ISO 100 f20 1/200s

The slow shutter speed will magnify errors in tracking and panning, so you will get many less "keepers" compared with  jet photography.

The other problem is that the heat provides the side-effects of heat haze and shimmer, and aircraft can become very contrasty studies of light and shadow unless the lighting direction is just right.

However, all of these can be overcome. The only thing to be wary of is overexposure. You can rescue underexposed shots, but detail in overexposed shots is often irrecoverable. Err on the Dark Side.


I let the camera and lens autofocus as best they do. Only rarely do I have to intervene. One rather common  exception are the really "wide" shots, when the camera really does not know what to lock on to- especially when the centre is filled with blue sky or featureless white clouds. In such cases, just manually focus to infinity or the hyperfocal distance for the aperture selected, and shoot with Manual Focus enabled.


Place it on "Sunny" for those sunny days with blue skies, and all will be well.  "Shade" for those days with 6 okta cloud cover.  I set the Picture Style to "Landscape", as I appreciate the way it accentuates the blue in the sky. And I really like a great Sky Blue. Some shades take your breath away.

Even then, you may need to take a reference picture for white balance every now and then. Finding white objects is not hard. The control tower really stands out, and pictures can be matched for the white there:

The MIEC is white, as is the Fire Station:

Some planes are gloriously white:

It makes life so much easier during post-processing when you know how white things should be.


Really, all the pictures need post-processing. I used to rely on Photoshop, till I decided I needed time for the rest of my life. I don't mind taking photos, but I really hate using my time to post-process things. Unfortunately, all airshow shots do need post-processing, if only for straightening, sharpening and cropping.

Nowadays, I just use Picasa. It saves such a lot of time once you have a template from before, and I have various templates that work wonders for most types of shots.

There are still problematic shots that cannot be corrected automatically. Like when you have a blue-painted plane against a blue sky. This just drives Picasa nuts. (and any other photo-editing software, for that matter). Then, you have to go back to the old archaic ways and adjust Levels and Contract manually.

For the same reasons that I need a life, I just shoot JPEG. My intention is to get the shot looking as "Right" as possible when I capture it, obviating most of the need for head-cracking during post-processing.

Have a great time in Langkawi, and take home lots of great pictures.


The main business of Langkawi is not hosting airshows, however that may seem during LIMA week. It lives on tourism, with gorgeous beaches and resorts, seasports and boating. The whole island  is a duty free zone, with the cheapest booze, cigarettes, chocolates and cars in Malaysia.

It is pretty near Penang, and many visitors decamp there after a spell in Langkawi. If the food in Langkawi were as good as in Penang, Langkawi would have it made. The beaches on Langkawi beat the beaches on Penang hands down, especially those on the northern part of the island. And you will not find a resort like The Four Seasons outside of Bali.

Langkawi is an exceptionally beautiful island, especially on a blue, bright sunny day. I've been here several times on holiday, when the attractivenesss of the place really hits you. However, during LIMA time, I spend my time hanging by the perimeter fence or within the airport. Even outside show hours, LGK is an active airfield, with plenty to see.

There is one attraction you really need to visit, however.

That is the Cable Car up to Gunung Machinchang (marked below on the map by an A), which is 8 kilometres northwest of the airport.

The Machinchang Geopark is the oldest part of Malaysia- it is the first part of Malaysia to have risen out of the primordial sea, 550 million years ago, made of sandstone.

The drive, however is approximately 16 km, taking a half hour. The Cable Car Station is at the Oriental Village.

The Cable Car station is marked "A"

Gunung Machinchang as viewed from Site A

To reach this destination via the airport, leave by turning left along the airport terminal access road (168 on the Google map). Pass the Hotel Helang and the MIEC on your left.

At the end of the road, turn right at the T-Junction.  Head up Jalan Kuala Muda (road 115). Drive past the Perdana Beach Resort and the Langkawi Lagoon Resort on your left. This is a pretty coast road, with views of the breakwater protecting the airport from the tides.This rather long road ends at a T-junction. Turn right onto Jalan Kuala Teriang (road 115).

After 250 metres, turn left into Jalan Pantai Kok (road 114). There is a huge signboard here to guide you. This is another long road that takes you through the Berjaya Burau Bay Resort and the Tanjung Sanctuary Resort on your left. After another long leg, you will  reach Telaga Harbour on your left, which is pretty area with rest stops, petrol stations,a nice marina and the newly-opened Hotel Danna, which is pretty grand- a newly-built hotel made to resemble a classical European establishment.

Telaga Harbour is Langkawi's answer to Portmeirion in Wales (the place they filmed The Prisoner starring Patrick McGoohan).  Just tells you how old I am!

The Danna:

Jalan Pantai Kok ends at Telaga Harbour. At the T-junction, turn left onto Jalan Pantai Yu (road 113), which continues forward as Jalan Telok Burau.

You know you are getting close if you see scenery like this looming ahead!

After 1.5km, the road bends  right onto Jalan Telaga Tujuh (road 272). Once there, proceed 300 metres to reach the turning for the Oriental Village and the Langkawi Cable Car Station on your left. Turn left here, and proceed until you reach its car park on your right. This is almost the end of the road here!

There may be a line to buy tickets, and the operator may suspend operations if there are high winds. Once inside the cable car, be prepared for a magnificent view down  Langkawi Island, the airport complex and the surrounding ocean and hills.

These are two other sites about the Cable Car:



This is an extraordinary video regarding the Cable Car and other beautiful places on Langkawi:


Sometimes, it seems all of Langkawi is here, queueing for tickets. So, arrive just that bit earlier..

Ascent from Cable Car Station, Oriental Village

The first length of cable car takes you here to the midlevel station, where you ride  a second stretch of cable car upwards.

This takes you to the highest viewing platform, at 710 metres AGL

Telaga Harbour and The Danna from Gunung Machinchang

SkyBridge walkway above the sheer hillocks.

Wide angle view showing Telaga Harbour and the airport breakwater

Ultrawideangle view showing Telaga Harbour, the airport breakwater, together with the midlevel cable car station

The low hills framing the airport on three sides means that takeoffs use Runway 21, and landings are along Runway 03.

If you ascend Gunung Machinchang, choose a cloudless day!

I have not tried to photograph the aerial display from Gunung Mechinchang, even though it may offer a very unusual perspective

The reasons are:

You can really only shoot the afternoon displays if you want the sun behind you.
The distance to the airport is 8 kilometres; below is a shot taken at 200mm. (on a 1.6x crop camera).

Even if you are packing a 600mm, the angle subtended will only be reduced to

...which means the aircraft will be essentially flying flyspecks. Unless you are shooting an A380 or a B-52. However, I must admit that filming a Smokey Bandits display ought to be thrilling! And you can see the full vertical display at essentially eye level.

Also, during the afternoon displays, you will have to contend with convection-induced cumulus formation which can disrupt your view of the airport, as in this worst-case shot below. Then, you can essentially view most parts of Langkawi, excepting the airport!

The other problem is heat haze in the afternoon.

So, if anyone were to shoot the display from Gunung Machinchang, please post it on Youtube to allow us to enjoy the experience!


There were a total of 7 aerial display segments. There was one display per day on the trade days (6-8 December 2011, 1130- 1300) and two displays on each of the public days (9-10 December 2011; 1000- 1130 and 1430 – 1600) The diary below is a rundown of what happened.

Most aircraft displayed on each of the seven display sessions; excepting the Rafale which displayed once a day, and the C-17 which went airborne on just 3 occasions. Aside from the display aircraft, there were movements of civilian aircraft, and helicopters displaying at Awana Porto Malai, and other military aircraft

Tuesday 6th December 2011

Cloud cover: 4-8 Oktas. Rain in afternoon

Came up on the coach from JB, arrived at .0430am, took a taxi driven by a very chatty elderly Indian gentleman to KL Sentral, boarded the LCCT transfer bus and arrived at 6am. Had just half an hour to kill before luggage check-in, so had breakfast at Marrybrowns and bought a paper. Check in was at 9am, and the 0935 Air Asia flight from LCCT left on time, arriving at 1030 at Langkawi airport. After that, if was a dash to hire a car (a manual Proton Wira that had obviously seen better days). Onto the Pemandangan Indah on Bukit Cengkuan (Site A) for the first airshow between 1130 till 1300 hours.

The weather forecast was for the best weather on Wednesday, with deteriorating conditions (ie rain and thunderstorms as the week went along), so obviously I was quite amped to get as much photography done before the day was through. As it was, at least half of the sky was covered by cloud, so it was a matter of timing the planes as they flew through patches of blue sky. The light was strong, however, throughout the display, which was a relief.

As this bonus show ended, dense cloud cover flowed over and blanketed the airport, making a go at the static display quite difficult, in the grey conditions. However. some golden evening light broke through and I managed some nice shots.

Wednesday 7th December 2011

Cloud cover: Minimal all day

I had feared weather deterioration, but it was not to be. A look out the window at waking time displayed essentially clear skies. In fact, the minimal  cloud cover by the 1130 commencement time of the aerial display had cleared up quite nicely, and the photography was even more gratifying than Day 1. I spent the morning at Site B.

I headed down to Site C as the official air display ended, and was treated to an unofficial continuation of the display, with multiple fixed and rotary wing movements.

In the afternoon, with the blue skies overhead, I entered the static display line to do the necessary, but was stopped at the fence by the air force elite guards (PASKAU), saying that the powers that be had suddenly decided to close the static display the whole day because some mega-VIPs were visiting (read Royal Families, all of them). This was confirmed by an official at the LIMA organizers office, who said that the organizers had no control on whoever was allowed into the Static Display area, and that the whole security procedure was coordinated by the military and the police.

BTW, the Static Display was also closed the next day as it was reserved for members of the Armed Forces only to visit the parked aircraft. Wish they’d had told us this in the fine print, beforehand. Anyway, it would have been a spectacular day for apron photography, but I spent it instead in the MIEC Hall.

Sadly, the total floor space for exhibitors seems to have shrunken, as the air and naval exhibitions had been amalgamated (In many of the previous outings, the naval section had their own exhibition halls at Awana Porto Malai). This year (as it was for the last edition), the static display at the Awana had shrunken to zero, with very few naval craft on display at the berths adjacent to the Hotel. The Awana used to be crawling with naval personnel in editions past, but not so much in evidence in 2011.

Thursday 8th December 2011

Cloud Cover: Minimal all day

Even better weather at the aerial display, which I witnessed from Site A. Due to the closure of the static display, I gave the MIEC a miss and headed to the marine section at the Awana Porto Malai, and went aboard the two ships on open day, ie the KD Jebat (Malaysia) and the PNS Saif (Pakistan). I also went on a ferry which cruised around the vessels on display. The weather was hot, the sky was blue, and the pictures were fantastic.

Friday  9th December 2011

Cloud Cover: Minimal in morning
                      4 Oktas in afternoon. Minimal rain at 2pm-2.30 pm

Even better skies during the morning display, which I spent at Site C. I then entered the MIEC to document the static display, and was dismayed by some of the black clouds that had suddenly accumulated overhead. 

Heavy black clouds and RAAF KC-30A

As expected, some rain marred the start of the afternoon display segment, which was shot from the apron in front of the MIEC (Site D). Miraculously, however, the weather cleared away, and intense sunshine broke though, with the clouds retreating. 

There was a concert to celebrate the closing stages of the airshow in Kuah, complete with the requisite fireworks display.

Without a tripod handy, however, the fireworks photographically went to waste (for me, at least, anyway.)

Saturday 10th December 2011

Cloud Cover: Minimal in morning
                      4 Oktas in afternoon

Clear blue skies during both air display segments. I spent the morning at the Jalan Padang Wahid site (Site B), and the afternoon at the Driving Range site (Site E) I discovered when speaking  to some German photographers I met in the morning. The latter was right under the turn point for the jets displaying (ie the edge of the display box), and produced amazing shots. It is also near the “wheels up” point for many aircraft, and you also could see all the way down the runway at the muster point for takeoff. As the finale, there was a final item- three-ship flypasts of RMAF F-5s, Hawks and Hornets.

The night ended with a total lunar eclipse!

Sunday 11th December 2011

Cloud Cover: 7-8 Oktas. Heavy rain in afternoon

Time to leave Langkawi. Interestingly, this was the first day since Tuesday 6th December that the morning was not marked by blue skies early on, and even bluer skies later. Grey from end to end. The inclement weather that had been threatened and forecasted for the whole of the LIMA week rolled into Langkawi, at last. At 1430, when my flight departed Langkawi airport, heavy rain started falling. Just offshore from Langkawi, the Airbus flew into dense, grey low cloud. But for once, the weather has held when it was necessary. Mission accomplished, photos achieved. Happiness level sky-high. Viva LIMA!!


RMAF Su-30 MKM at LIMA 2011

Eurofighter Typhoon at LIMA 2011


Dornier Do-228-212 New Generation at LIMA 2011


RMAF Smokey Bandits aerobatic team (MiG-29N) at LIMA 2011

The Smokey Bandits drivers, and friend at LIMA 2011

Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet at LIMA 2011

RSAF F-16C Fighting Falcon at LIMA 2011


Krisakti 1Malaysia aerobatic team (Extra-300L) at LIMA 2011


Eurocopter Tiger HAD at LIMA 2011


Dassault Rafale C at LIMA 2011


Dassault Rafale B at LIMA 2011


Boeing C-17A Globemaster II at LIMA 2011



Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency Agusta AS-365 Dauphin II at LIMA 2011

RMN Westland Super Lynx Mk.100 at LIMA 2011

Dassault Falcon 7X at LIMA 2011

RMAF Casa CN-235 at LIMA 2011

Firefly Airlines ATR-72-212A (500) at LIMA 2011

Air Asia Airbus A320-216 at LIMA 2011

Malaysia Airlines Boeing 737 at LIMA 2011

RTAF Saab JAS-39D and JAS-39C Gripen at LIMA 2011

Canadair CL-600-2816 Challenger 601-3Ra at LIMA 2011

RMN Eurocopter AS555 Fennec at LIMA 2011

Royal Malaysian Police Hawker Beechcraft King Air at LIMA 2011

RMAF Lockheed C-130H Hercules at LIMA 2011

EuroALA JetFox 97 at LIMA 2011


1 Su-30 MKM                            Royal Malaysian Air Force
2 Mig-29M                                 Royal Malaysian Air Force (Smokey Bandits aerobatic team)
3 Extra 300L                              KriSakti 1Malaysia Aerobatic Team
4 C-17A Globemaster II             US Pacific Air Force
5 Eurofighter Typhoon               Royal Air Force
6 Dassault Rafale                       French Air Force
7 F-16C                                      Republic of Singapore Air Force
8 F/A-18E Super Hornet             Boeing
9 Dornier 228-212                      Ruag Aviation
10 Tiger HAD                              Eurocopter


1 Su-30 MKM                           Royal Malaysian Air Force                                       3
2 F/A – 18D                              Royal Malaysian Air Force                                      1
3 MiG-29N                                Royal Malaysian Air Force                                       7
4 Hawk 108/208                       Royal Malaysian Air Force                                       1
5 Mb-339 CM                            Royal Malaysian Air Force                                      1
6 F-5E                                      Royal Malaysian Air Force                                       1
7 Pc-7 MkII                               Royal Malaysian Air Force                                       1
8 CN-235                                  Royal Malaysian Air Force                                      1
9 SK-61                                    Royal Malaysian Air Force                                      1
10 Extra 300L                           Kris Sakti 1Malaysia Aerobatic Team                      4
11 Super Lynx                          Royal Malaysian Navy                                             1
12 Fennec                                Royal Malaysian Navy                                            1
13 Agusta A109                        Malaysian Army, Air Wing                                      1
14 Aw139                                  Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency              1
15 Dauphin                               Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency              1
16 Cl-415                                  Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency              1
17 Mi-17                                    Fire & Rescue Department, Air Wing                    1
18 Mi – 171                               Fire & Rescue Department, Air Wing                    1 
19 Learjet                                  Department Of Civil Aviation, Malaysia                 2
20 Eurofighter Typhoon            Royal Air Force                                                     2
21 Rafale                                  French Air Force                                                   2
22 Gripen                                  Royal Thai Air Force                                             2
23 Kc-30A                                 Royal Australian Air Force                                     1
24 P3C  Orion                           US Navy                                                                 1
25 C-17 Globemaster II             US Pacific Air Force                                               1
26 F-16D                                   Republic of Singapore Air Force                           1
27 F-16C                                   Republic Singapore Air Force                               2
28 S -70B Sea Hawk                 Republic of Singapore Air Force                            1
29 Avanti Ii                                Piaggio Aero                                                          1
30 F/A-18E Super Hornet         Boeing                                                                    2
31 AH-6I                                   Boeing                                                                    1
32 EC-145                                Eurocopter                                                             1
33 Tiger HAD                            Eurocopter                                                             1
34 T129                                    Agusta Westland                                                   1
35 Aw149                                 Agusta Westland                                                    1
36 Dornier 228-212                  Ruag Aviation                                                         1
37 Eurofighter Typhoon           Eurofighter (Replica)                                              1
38 G550                                   Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation                        1
39 Aludra UAV                         Composites Technology Research Malaysia            1
40 S-92                                    Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation                                  1
41 At – 4                                  FRAS Flying Club                                                    1 
42 At – 4                                  FRAS Flying Club                                                    1
43 Pa – 28                               FRAS Flying Club                                                    1
44 Pa – 28                               FRAS Flying Club                                                    1
45 C-172                                 FRAS Flying Club                                                    1
46 UAV                                    WB Electronics Plc                                                   1
47 Jet Fox                                EuroALA Industries                                                 1
48 S100 Camcopter                 Schiebel                                                                  1


Australia                                                                                       HMAS Glenelg

Bangladesh                                                                                  BNS Dhaleshwari

Brunei                                                                                          KDB Darul Ehsan

Indonesia                                                                                     KRI Todak

India                                                                                            INS Kora
                                                                                                    INS Baratang

Pakistan                                                                                       PNS Saif

Philippines                                                                                   BRP Bacolod City
                                                                                                    BRP Emilio Jacinto

Singapore                                                                                    RSS Supreme

South Korea                                                                                ROKS Kang Kamchan
                                                                                                    ROKS Chun Ji

Thailand                                                                                      RTN Chon Buri

United States Of America                                                            USS Curtis Wilbur

Royal Malaysian Navy                                                                 KD Lekiu
                                                                                                    KD Jebat
                                                                                                    KD Mahawangsa
                                                                                                    KD Selangor
                                                                                                    KD Kelantan
                                                                                                    KD Laksamana Tan Pusmah
                                                                                                    KD Laksamana Hang Nadim
                                                                                                    KD Mahamiru
                                                                                                    KD Perantau
                                                                                                    KD Pendekar
                                                                                                    KD Ledang
                                                                                                    KD Tun Razak
                                                                                                    Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB)
                                                                                                    Zodiac F-470

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency                                    KM Langkawi
                                                                                                    KM Marlin
                                                                                                    KM Siamil
                                                                                                    KM Mulia
                                                                                                    KM Malawali
                                                                                                    Fast Interceptor Craft X 4
                                                                                                    Bot Petir X 4
                                                                                                    Rescue Boat X 4
                                                                                                    Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat X 6

                                                                                                   Interceptor 40 - Leisurecat Sdn Bhd
                                                                                                   Patrol Boat P46 - Ppc Marine
                                                                                                   Patrol Boat P56 – Ppc Marine
                                                                                                   Maqpro 92 - D’aquarian
                                                                                                   Air Fish 8 - Composite Technology
                                                                                                   Research Malaysia

The big... and the small. C-17 Globemaster vs Dornier Do-228 at LIMA 2011

Kris Sakti break at LIMA 2011

MiG-29N firing flares, with Gunung Machinchang in the background, a LIMA 2011

Per ardua, ad astra.


Royal Malaysian Air Force list of aircraft assets

The best Malaysian aviation blog

A Malaysianwings forum entry about Sites A and C

The RMAF website

Aircraft photo websites


LIMA airshow 2011 Site A  6-12-11    1120 - 1320h
LIMA airshow 2011 Site A  8-12-11    1030-1300h
LIMA airshow 2011 Site B  7-12-11    1120-1330h
LIMA airshow 2011 Site  B   9-12-11  1015-1140h
LIMA airshow 2011 Site B  10-12-11  1005-1145h
LIMA airshow 2011 Site  C  7-12-11    1400-1445h
LIMA airshow 2011 Site D  9-12-11    1430-1615h
LIMA airshow 2011 Site  E  10-12-11  1420-1630h

Static Display LIMA airshow 2011

LIMA Maritime display 2011

MIEC Indoor Display LIMA airshow 2011

Langkawi Hotel Galleries

Langkawi Tourist Attractions


Eurocopter HAD

A intro via Youtube to Langkawi. Unfortunately, it can get quite time-consuming to dig farther in!


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