Ingo Noka

Pulau Rawa

In Flight Log on October 15, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Pulau Rawa

A while ago I wrote in my Post “Nothing to see” that the weather foiled our attempt to take some photos of islands along the East coast.  On the 15th of October we made another attempt and this time we had beautiful weather and good visibility.We took off into a blue sky with puffy white clouds, a weather that is rarely seen so close to the equator.   On the way to Kota Tinggi, Nicolas noticed that the danger area is clearly marked by a difference in vegetation.  There is a sharp line between palm oil tree plantation and rain forest (or what’s left of it).  Next time I won’t have to look at the GPS to get around that airspace.

We didn’t go all the way to Mersing.  Instead we turned towards Tioman at the Mersing (WMAU) airfield.  There are a few pictures in the picture gallery and the video shows it as well.  To land on this airstrip will be one of my next flying projects.

The air above the water was smooth and the Piper basically flew itself to the beautiful islands dotted along the East coast of Malaysia.  Only a few seem to be inhabited or have any kind of accommodation for travelers.  Pulau Rawa is the exception.  There are two resorts on this island (WikiTravel: Lang’s Rawa and Rawa Safaris).  Since I have only seen the island from the air, I have no idea what is going on this island and how one would get there.  I suppose there is a ferry from Mersing.

We spent about 15 minutes flying around the islands without ATC bothering us.  Later, when I tried to call Senai tower I discovered that the radio transmission was intermittent to say the least.  It maybe that the hills (Gunung Panti) was between us and the tower station.  When you look at the track on the map, you will see on the way back we turned toward Kota Tinggi a little bit earlier than usual, which may have created the problem.

The flight back was uneventful.  The landing ok, if not a bit slow.  Nicolas (who has a French PPL) looked a bit nervous.  I agree with him that I should have been a tad faster, but I think I was safe with about 60 knots.

  1. I have a question regarding your reference in the first paragraph about the danger area marked clearly by a difference in vegetation. What is the danger area?

    Thanks

    • There are three different types of areas in Malaysian airspace: prohibited, restricted and danger areas.

      Aircraft can fly in danger areas, but need to be aware of the danger and act accordingly. The danger areas to the East of Senai airports have the designation WMD230 and WMD231. They extend from the ground to 2000 feet (but can be extended to 9500 as notified at least 48 hours in advance). The danger in those two areas is described as “artillery firing range”. What complicates things is that the danger areas also sits right under the Senai airport terminal management area (TMA), which starts at 1500 feet.

      Strictly speaking, flying over the danger area above 2000 feet (AMSL) should be ok, but Johor ATC will likely ask you to avoid the area, which they can do, because at that altitude you are in their TMA (and because you would be I’ll advised not to follow ATC requests regardless of the airspace you are in). In fact as far as I understand the rules, you could even fly through the danger area below 1500 feet without talking to ATC since you wouldn’t be in controlled airspace (a topic for a another post). But this is theory. In practice I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of a conversation with an ATC controller who you have chosen to ignore.

      I’ll leave the restricted and prohibited airspaces for another time, other than to say that there is one prohibited airspace above Johor Bahru, from which you must stay away at all cost, because flying into it will cost you your license.

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