Former Smokey Bandits Leader Now RMAF Chief

Change of leadership, Roslan (left) handing over the job of PTU to Affendi.

SHAH ALAM: The former leader of the Smokey Bandits aerobatics team, Datuk Seri Affendi Buang has been appointed as the Chief of the Royal Malaysian Air Force. Following his appointment as the top airman, Affendi, 54, was promoted as general.

He received his fourth star at the farewell ceremony of his predecessor, Jen Roslan Saad at the Subang airbase today (Dec. 21, 2016). Affendi was appointed as the RMAF deputy chief on Aug. 21, 2015.

Jen Affendi Buang, the RMAF chief.

Sarawak-born, Affendi joined the RMAF in 1981 and completed his flight training in 1983. Apart from the Mig-29 Fulcrums, Affendi callsign Apai initially flew the Aermacchi MB-339A and the Douglas A4TPM Skyhawk.

Jen Affendi receiving a flight helmet as a memento from 19th Sqn CO Lt Kol Sebastian William (right) in May, 2015. Picture from Kelab Penyokong TUDM Facebook.

On March 25, 1988, Affendi who was then a Lieutenant ejected from his A-4 Skyhawk jet fighter over the jungle in Kuala Lipis, Pahang. Affendi were among the four pilots who were part of the Mig-29 Fulcrum project team which include former RMAF chief Tan Sri Rodzali Daud and its current Air Operations commander Lt Jen Datuk Seri Ackbal Abdul Samad.

Lt Jen Ackbal, the RMAF Deputy Chief.

Following the promotion of Affendi, there are also changes to the RMAF’s leadership. Lt Jen Ackbal is taking over as the Deputy Chief. He is a graduate of the International Test Pilots’ School. After graduating as a test pilot, Ackbal joined the Fulcrum project team.

As the Fulcrums joined RMAF service, Ackbal became the second CO of 17th Squadron, where he was also responsible for the setting up of the Fulcrum simulator. Later, he became the project director for the Su-30MKM Flanker.

Lt Jen Mutalib, the RMAF Air Operations Commander

The new Air Operations Commander is Lt Jen. Mutalib Wahab, who was the Air Support Commander. Mutalib, who started off as a Caribou pilot later flew the Hercules. He walked away from a PC-7 Mk II trainer crash in 2006. He was the mission commander for Ops Pyramid in early 2011. Ops Pyramid was the operation to evacuate Malaysian students from Egypt to Jeddah,Saudi Arabia following the chaos of the Spring Revolution.

Lt Jen Wan Normazlan, RMAF Air Support Commander.

Meanwhile, Mej Jen Wan Normazlan Che Jaafar will replace Mutalib as the Air Support Commander. Wan Normazlan, a Nuri pilot, was the Assistant Chief of Staff, Human Resources at the Air Force headquarters. He is promoted to Lt Jen following his promotion as the Air Support Commander.

* An earlier version of this post stated that Lt Jen Ackbal graduated from the Empire Test Pilots’ School. He had infact graduated from the International Test Pilots’ School.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2205 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Congratulations to all involved. May the airforce go from strength to strength with the new appointments.

  2. Why there’s only malay top brass? Where’s the chinese, indian, even native sabahan/sarawakian?

    It’s like they were never considered beyond mid-ranked officers

  3. Something must be wrong somewhere with the new line-up

    ONLY if Malay is the minority here in MALAYsia

  4. Choon. Do your homework first. Lt Gen Affendi is a native Sarawakian and he is the present Chief of the Air Force. Must a native Sarawakian named Choon?? Come on. Wake up and get over with your racial attitude

  5. The Royal Malaysian Air Force is always helmed by the cream of the crop. There is no need for any racial or political insinuations. Congratulations to Gen. Appandi and Gen.Akbal. May your tenure bring RMAF to greater heights.

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