Ingo Noka

Have a look at Pulau Rawa

In Flight Log, Navigation on February 27, 2012 at 12:07 am

Flight Log Pulau Rawa on 26 February 2012


Today I went to Pulau Rawa (a little island East of Mersing) and since I have now done it twice, I thought I would give some advice to fellow pilots who want to fly this beautiful VFR route.

Some basic information about this route:

  • Distance: 144 nm
  • Realistic time with about 5 to 10 minutes over Pulau Rawa: 1 hour 55 minutes
  • AT4 fuel usage: 38 liters
  • Flight log: download link (Apple Pages Format, this link is not going to be updated!)
  • Flight plan: download link (Apple Pages Format, this link is not going to be updated!)

As I mentioned before, Pulau Rawa is a small island roughly half-way between Mersing and Pulau Tioman.  What makes the island somewhat special is that it is home to an island resort with a few cottages.  The other island (some of them bigger than Rawa) a just rock, trees and beaches.  Rawa is nowhere near big enough for an airfield, but I suppose one could go to Mersing (there is a little grass strip) or to Tioman and get a boat to Rawa from there.  I guess a sea plane would be handy in that part of the world.

Anyway, the one for pilots is the flying, so what we are after are some nice steep turns around the island to have a look at it from above.

The usual VFR route takes you from Senai airport to Kota Tinggi and from there to the coast at Sedili Besar.  From Sedili Besar you can either just follow the coast line (maybe  above the water to get the smoother air) or take a straight line until you hit the Mersing airfield.

The only challenge you may face on your way from Senai airport to Kota Tinggi is the danger area WMD231.  ATC will ask you to avoid this area.  This requires that after take off you set a course of  050° for 8.5 nm (which is 5.5 minutes at 90 kts) until you join VFR lane Charlie, and then you set a course of 076° for 7 nm (which is about 4.5 minutes at 90 kts).  You can recognize the border of the danger area by different vegetation.  The danger is covered by some sort of rain forest whereas the surrounding area is all oil palm tree plantations.

Navigating Danger Are WMD 231

To be consistent with the position reporting  you can use the bridge over the Johor river.  The Sungai Johor goes into a prolonged river mouth towards the South and is easily recognizable.

Another river that can help with navigation is the Sungai Sidilli Besar, which is joining the see in the East exactly at the next reporting point and should be visible half way between Kota Tinggi and the river mouth.

Once you set course to Mersing you will soon lose contact with Johor Tower.  Therefore when you do your report over Sidilli Besar, it would be a good idea to report estimated times for Mersing airfield and Pulau Rawa as well as the estimated time for operation over Pulau Rawa.  Also if you want to operate below your cruising altitude to get a closer look at the islands, now would be the time to ask for that too.

Starting after Kota Tinggi you could ask for a higher altitude. If you have a typical CB 6/8 cloud cover, the base should be around 1,500 to 2,000 feet and 4,000 should put you on top.  I have received clearance for higher than 2,00 feet  only once (with a special transponder code and switching to mode Charlie).  I think that is because many commercial flights coming from the North into Singapore will descent along the coast line and I believe the airspace controlled by Singapore starts at 5,000 feet (only hear-say!).

The next reporting point is Mersing airfield (WMAU), a small grass strip to the South of Mersing.  It runs parallel to the coast and is quite close to it too.  On the South end of the strip you will see a few small houses with blue roofs. According to the latest Malaysia AIP, the airfield is operated by University Technology Malaysia.  Its runway numbers are 15 and 33. The strip is about 500 meters long and 30 meters white. There even is a DVOR (VMR, 116.8 MHZ CH 115X, Coor 0223.3N 10352.4E,).  Since PPR (Prior Permission Required) is not mentioned for this airfield, I assume you could land there without asking anybody.  However, ATC has asked me in the past when I file a flight plan to Mersing, whether I intent to land there or not.  I have to say yes to that next time to see what would happen.

From Mersing airfield, Pulau Rawa lies 10 nautical miles from the coast on a course of 035°.  You have to fly between a bigger island to the right (Pulau Babi Besar – There must have been pigs on that island, because babi means pig in Malay and Besar means big, which refers to the island not the pigs I presume) and two smaller islands to the left (Babi Tenggar, means middle and Babi Hujung, means end) to the left.  Pulau Tioman can be seen in the distance, almost on the same course.

BTW: If you do not like the weather towards Mersing, you could ask to operate around Sidilli Besar, which is the area  between Sidilli Besar and Sidilli Kechil.

Note that the GPS track has a gap on the return flight from North-West of Sedilli Besar to Nort-East of Kota Tinggi.  I didn’t take a short cut!

GPS track Senai to Pulau Rawa

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