Malaysia gained independence from the United Kingdom on August 31st, 1957. The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF or in Malay, TUDM – Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia) was formed on June 2nd, 1958 but was then known as the Royal Federation of Malaya Air Force (RFMAF). Prior to this, the Malaysian Auxiliary Air Force operated within the Royal Air Force (RAF) units based in Malaya and then in the 1940’s to 1950’s Malayan personnel served in the Malaya Volunteer Air Force (MVAF).
Post independence, the RAF continued to provide air defence for Malaysia and it was not until 1962 that they began to hand over airfields to the RMAF. This was following the end of the communist insurgency during the Malaya Emergency (1948 to 1960). The RMAF title was applied with the formation of the Federation of Malaysia in 1963.
The first aircraft of the RMAF was not a combat aircraft though. It was the aesthetically appealing, 1950’s era Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer CC Mk.1 Series 3 transport with a high wing, fixed undercarriage (with wheels that look so small!), triple fin tail and twin 640 hp Alvis Leonides 531 engines. The first transport, named “Lang Rajawali” by then Prime Minister Rahman was delivered to Malaysia on January 16th, 1962 with the first 5 delivered within 2 days.
The “Twin Pin” offered great Short Take Off and Landing (STOL) performance which was ideal for getting into semi-prepared air strips in the jungles of Malaysia. They could operate in a space of just 30 metres x 275 metres! The type would be in RMAF service with No. 1 Squadron until 1974 (they operated 14 in total – 4 of which would later end up in civilian hands in Australia).
Two Twin Pioneer survivors were on display in Malaysia, but unfortunately, as mentioned in my earlier Douglas A-4PTM Skyhawk post, the RMAF Museum in Kuala Lumpur has been closed down (apparently a new museum is planned to open some time in the future). So I did not get to see FM1001 (c/n 529) there, but I was wandering about the city when I randomly came across FM1064 (c/n 583), which is displayed outdoors in Transport Square in Malacca!
FM1064 was delivered on January 18th, 1962. The aircraft is part of the Muzium Pengangkutan Melaka / Museum of Transport collection.