Ingo Noka

Tioman Checkout

In Flight Bag, Navigation on July 23, 2012 at 11:26 pm

Ingo and Saddiq after Tioman Checkout

Pulau Tioman was the last island with a usable airfield around the Malaysian peninsula I hadn’t been to.  One reason is that I was busy exploring the other places along the East and West coast, and the other reason is that you need to get checked out by a flight instructor first before you can fly there on your own.  The FRAS checkout consists of three successful landings with a flight instructor.

My first attempt failed.  Last weekend, I stayed a couple of hours at the club hoping that the weather would clear enough to have a good chance to return to Johor, but no such luck.  This weekend, the weather was better.  Lots of CB with a base of about 2000 feet and nice blue sky in between.  On Saturday, I practices a couple of landings and on Sunday Saddiq was available and the weather still held, so we took off at around 13:00.  With a tail wind of 10 to 12 kts, we arrived at Tioman a bit after 14:00.  Saddiq did a good job briefing me about the approach and I managed to slam the piper into the runway with lots of room to spare.  I had the same problems as in Pangkor – too slow on approach and not enough flare.  Nevertheless, I did two more landings to satisfy the club requirements and we went back with no drama.  Now I am signed off for Tioman and hope to get back there on my own soon.

For the readers of my blog, I have drawn a little map and provide a couple of notes on the procedures to approach and land in Tioman.  You can download the Tioman map here.

I am not going to say much about the flight from Johor to Tioman, because it is the standard cross-country flight to Mersing with an additional leg of about 30 nm to get to Tioman.  At Sidilli Besar I usually report an estimated arrival time for Mersing and Tioman, because there is a good chance that I will lose contact with Johor shortly after Sidilli.  As the turning point towards Tioman I use the Mersing airfield, because that is a well-defined point.  That means the course to Tioman will be slightly more Northerly than what the flight log says.  From Sidilli, you can ask for higher altitude if the cloud base allows it.  Johor usually gives you 1,500 feet till Sidilli and might be inclined to allow higher afterwards.  The switch over from Johor to Tioman radio will usually take place at Mersing.  It is unlikely that you will have contact with Johor tower at Mersing, so submit blind once and switch over to Tioman Info.  Tioman Info will clear you to the island and ask you to report sighting of the island.   If Tioman is not visible from Mersing, you can aim for Pulau Rawa, which is almost on a straight line from Mersing airfield to Tioman.  Tioman will appear bigger than you expect, so watch out for that dark “cloud” at the horizon, it might just be Tioman.

Tioman runway (from Wikipedia)

My procedure for the approach and landings looks like this:

  1. Course from Mersing airfield should be around 034°
  2. Langkawi will likely ask you to report sighting of the island (not the airfield!)
  3. Once you report sighting you may be cleared to join the circuit
  4. Likely next report is Runway 02 Right downwind or base
  5. From the direction of Mersing, Tioman has two distinct mountain tops
  6. Initially aim a bit to the left of the left mountain
  7. Look out for Berjaya Resort with red roof tops
  8. Aim to arrive at 1000 feet abeam the resort
  9. Now look out of the jetty, marina and tower
  10. The tower should be visible before you see the runway
  11. Call downwind if previously asked to do so
  12. Establish stable approach configuration (70 kts), keep descending and lower flaps to stage one
  13. Look for the threshold, it should be visible now
  14. Look for a large sign at the side of the mountain (to the left of the threshold)
  15. Turn towards the sign
  16. The turn should be done at 500 feet
  17. Fly towards the sign, lower flaps to stage 2
  18. Call tower if previously asked to do so
  19. Turn into final
  20. The turn should be done at around 300 to 350 feet
  21. Decide whether you are too high – initiate a go around early!
  22. (Go around by turning early to the right)
  23. If height is ok, continue approach and lower flaps to maximum if necessary
  24. Look out for some high trees and a fence just before the threshold
  25. Aim a bit further into the runway (but not too much)
  26. Taxi into apron or ask for backtrack (there is a turn pad at the end of rwy 02)

Tioman Approach and landing procedure

  1. I’d be happy to share what I know about our PPL.

    The syllabus is almost the same as that in Malaysia (we both follow the UK CAA), except that no Navigation component is conducted due to lack of airspace. Hence the Singapore licence issued is termed as PPL-R (Restricted PPL), which entitles one to fly on Singapore registered aircraft as PIC but within Singapore only. This course can be done at one of the three private clubs in Singapore, Seletar Airport, namely Republic of Singapore Flying Club (where I’m at), Seletar Flying Club, or Discovery Flying Club. Rates are more expensive than in Senai, of course, and you can find these on their respective websites.

    After obtaining the Singapore PPL-R, some people, like me, head over to Senai (I did mine with Elite) to do the Navigation Training component in order to lift the Restriction and obtain a ‘full’ Singapore PPL. This can only be done after approval by the CAAS and DCA prior to commencing training in Malaysia.

    Hope this clarifies things. Drop me an email if you’d like more info!

    • That is very helpful. Thank you very much for the information.

      I am planning to do a full blog post on the topic.

      Is it a problem to get approval from CAAS and DCA, and how do you ask for approval?

      Are there many Singapore registered aircraft available for rent?

      • The process comprises an application form for DCA validation and security forms, and endorsement letter by CAAS. The main issue is the processing time taken by the Malaysian authorities, can take 1-2 months at least to get the DCA Certificate of Validation (enabling Singapore PPL to fly under training on Malaysian registered aircraft). I went through my club (RSFC) in Singapore to get the forms / paperwork settled – they have an arrangement with EFC.

        Less options than at Senai; though our 9V- aircraft have a high level of serviceability. At RSFC we have a TB9 and at SFC they’ve got a C172. DFC has one of the yellow PA28s. Couple of other N-regs available.

  2. Hello Ingo,

    I believe I heard you on Johor tower flying from Kota Tinggi to Sedili at 1500ft. Was on the way back on 9M-ADA after my checkout at Tioman! Flew over you on the reciprocal at 2000ft. Not sure if you recall. Enjoyed your blog entries.


    • Hi Bertrand

      I did hear and even saw you passing around 5 nm off Sedili. You went there with Captain Ridzuan, didn’t you? You are correct about the altitude clearance. There is a good chance that you get cleared for higher than 1500 ft after Kota Tinggi. I once received clearance for 4000 ft with the request to change transponder code and switch to mode Charlie, which was a bit embarrassing, because I initially didn’t know what that was. Thankfully I remembered and even managed to configure the very old transponder in the club Cessna.

      • Yup I was flying with Capt Ridzuan. We even had a discussion about your blog Fly in Asia there and then while looking out for you. Had a great time doing my navigation training in Malaysia to unrestrict my Singapore PPL. Hope to see you around.


        PS Sorry to hear about the accident on EYM.

      • Bertrand

        I am getting lots of questions on Singapore PPL and know next to nothing about it. If you have time and interest, I would appreciate if you could give some pointers I could publish on my blog. The readers usually want to know where to get a Singapore PPL and whether it is true that one can only get a restricted PPL because of the lack of airspace for cross-country navigational flights.


  3. Congratz on the sign-off Ingo!

    – Alvin

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