In orbital mechanics, a slingshot or swing-by manoeuvre describes the altering of the course of a spacecraft through the gravitational force exerted by a planetary object. On the Malay Mission, on a far smaller scale enterprise than involved in, say, lobbing Voyager 2 to the edge of the solar system, that object is Singapore’s Changi airport.
Suggested song: Singapore Slingshot by Simone Sciumbata
However, there is a slight course correction necessary before even getting to Singapore. A six hour flight to Doha, Qatar brings the first layover: Flight time 6h, with a connection time of just over two. So, nothing much to do on the Arabian peninsula. This first stop should be massively unexciting: getting into Hamad International Airport, getting off the plane, wandering into the transit zone and reboarding should do it nicely.
A very brief layover there and a change in trajectory are planned for the next stage of my trip, at Singapore. Now, this gets a bit more exciting: Flight time just under eight hours, with a layover of just two before – hopefully – catching the connection to my final destination for the day: Yogyakarta on the Island of Java. Now, you might say: ‘That’s not a bit more dramatic than the layover at Doha!’ But you would be wrong! Here, a bigger feat is required, hence the moniker: Singapore Slingshot. The reason, you ask? Well, simple: I have to deplane, get through immigrations, get back to departures, find the Air Asia counter, check back in, get through immigrations again, clear security and board. Now, this could get exciting… and reactivate my floundering metabolism by a hefty infusion of adrenaline.
A mere two hours and ten minutes after take-off at Changi International Airport, crossing the South China Sea and the Java Sea, I should be at Adisucipto International Airport, Yogyakarta. Deplane, clear immigration and customs, find the taxi queue and off it is to the Hotel — which should bring a beer, a bath and a bed, for a relaxing epilogue to the day.
So, this, at least, is the plan; let’s see how all of it will work out!