We saw our favourite RSAF fighter pilots take to the skies for Singapore's National Day Parade (NDP) on 21st August 2021. The pilots, one of which was Muslim pilot Major Muhammad Iskandar, wowed Singapore with various Muscle Climb and Bomb Burst manoeuvres - all in delta formation - on Saturday. This is the second time Major Muhammad Iskandar has been part of an NDP air showcase. However, the 33-year-old says that while this year's NDP will be smaller in scale due to COVID-19, it is no less important.
With both passion and skills driving his career, Major Muhammad Iskandar's achievements and journey are no doubt impressive and filled with many invaluable lessons. If you'd like to find out more about Singapore's very own Muslim pilot, here are 5 things you didn't know about Major Muhammad Iskandar!
Singapore's Very Own Muslim RSAF Pilot
1. He learned to build a control-line airplane from scratch in secondary one
Major Muhammad Iskandar's journey started back when he was in secondary one, where he was part of his school's Aeromodelling Programme. It was there that he learned to build a control-line airplane from scratch, sparking appreciation and awe of flight mechanics.
P.S. If you're looking to fly off, check out whether you're eligible for Singapore's Vaccine Travel Lane!
2. His journey started as an SAF Scholarship Recipient
After secondary school, Major Muhammad Iskandar went on to be the recipient of multiple scholarships such as the SAF Academic scholarship. After being one of the top graduates for his class in the University of British Columbia, Canada, he received two other scholarships: the UBC Premier Undergraduate Scholarship and the Wesbrook Scholarship. This made him the first student in Singapore to receive those awards.
Credit: RSAF on Facebook
What's even more impressive is that with his scholarships and B.A. (Honours) in Political Science, he went on to be yet again awarded the SAF Overseas Masters Sponsorship and the University of Oxford Scholarship. With this push, he continued to pursue a Master in Public Policy at the University of Oxford.
He also topped his class in the Officer Cadet School (OCS), Basic Wing Course (BWC), and many other flying courses. Deservedly, he was awarded the Best Fighter Pilot Award in 2012!
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3. Achieving his dream to fly was filled with turbulence
Joining the 138th Basic Flying Course, Major Muhammad Iskandar learned the theory behind flying operations and how to fly the PA-28 Piper Warrior. He was then selected for and went on to complete his Private Pilot License in 2006, which only further cemented his passion for flying.
Credit: NDPeeps on Youtube
However, this was not without its challenges. During his PPL studies, his brother was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Major Muhammad Iskandar had to spend hours in hospitals, all while juggling his studies. However with support from his loved ones, he successfully completed the PPL programme and his GCE 'A' Levels.
P.S. Did you know Muslims can pray on a plane?
4. He's learned to stay calm under pressure
Despite all challenges faced, Major Muhammad Iskandar has learned to stay calm under pressure. Now a fighter pilot with the RSAF, he leads and executes multinational operations and exercises.
According to the Straits Times, Major Muhammad Iskandar recalled flying over the Singapore skyline during sunset and being inspired: "To me, the Singapore spirit is a dare-to-try attitude, and I draw strength from that."
5. Teamwork makes the dream work
Major Muhammad Iskandar does not believe in being the best if all your peers are struggling. A staunch believer in helping others and teamwork, he understands that the objective is to develop and excel together, ''because at the end of the day, we are fighting on the same side''.
With such an inspiring journey on his side, and we look forward to hearing more about Major Muhammad Iskandar's achievements and celebrating them with him as one of Singapore's very own heroes! ☺️