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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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