Ingo Noka

Archive for April, 2013|Monthly archive page

LIMA 2013 – 9MDRJ amongst Russian Fighter Jets and USAF Transport Planes

In Flight Log on April 25, 2013 at 12:58 am

Ingo and Max at Lima 2013

Flight Summary
Engine Time 10h 04m
Landings 5
Fuel total 90 Gallons
Fuel per hour approx. 8.8 Gallons
Pictures Click here

For the second time, I participated in the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition. I took 9M-DRJ to Langkawi on March 28, 2013 with Royce and my son as passengers. It was also the first time that I flew direct from Senai to Penang. The flight time is three hours and thirty minutes and basically a no brainer for the Piper endurance.

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Exhilarating and scary – VFR around Monster Thunderstorms

In Airmanship, Flight Log, Navigation, Weather on April 22, 2013 at 12:17 pm

This is not how a straight in approach to Seletar is supposed to look like

As the saying goes, pilots start off with a ton of luck and no experience and hope to gain enough experience before their luck runs out. I used up a good portion of luck and learned a lot of things yesterday.

On my way back from Kota Bahru, an uneventful three hour cross-country flight was crowned by one and a half hour of the most challenging and scary flying I have ever done.

Within 30 minutes, a couple of rapidly growing and fast moving thunderstorms put Johor, Seletar, Subang and Tioman into IMC – all at the same time.

Mind you, I am not talking about a bit of bad visibility that is crappier than what we normally deal with in South East Asia. I am talking about the big black impenetrable blanket that cover large junks of the land.

While orbiting next to one of those monsters my ground speed in one 360 degree turn varied by 70 knots! The aircraft was going up and down so rapidly that the AP disengaged, my headset flew off and I banged my head into the ceiling so badly hat I saw stars in the clouds. (Advice from the “Been there, done it” department : truly tighten the seat belts and do not just chant this point on the check list. )

If you know the layout of the airports in Malaysia, you will also know that there was literally no viable option to land anymore and I was at the end of a 3 hour flight with about 2 hours endurance left if I would have flown the tanks empty.

So I was flying up and down the East coast between Sidilli Besar and Desaru to find an opening, but every time I thought I had found something, ATC told me that the weather radar looks even worth where unwanted to go.

Eventually, ATC negotiated with Singapore a 4000 feet climb and track to VJB, which is the VOR station there. With the up- and down-drafts yanking me around like mad I even had problems to remember what a VOR was, let alone how to track to one. However, many hours of lonely flying in my new airplane with plenty of time to play around with the avionics paid off.

I managed to go in the right direction, but lost my nerves close to Kota Tinggi, where I descended to 1000 feet again to track the ground.

Again, many flights to Mersing in the past gave me the confidence to navigate by ground features alone. I was even able to identify the danger areas by the the change in vegetation, but why I bothered to avoid the areas when I thought I might not make it to the airfield is one of those mysteries…

Finally I had the airfield in sight and what a beautiful sight it was! I guess this put me into such a calm and relaxed Zen state that I did one of my best landings ever – an absolute greaser. (Good landings only happen when nobody else is in the aircraft to witness it. But whether you believe me or not, I know what I saw… Or maybe my butt was just desensitized. )

After big thunderstorms the view is often gorgeous, with unlimited visibility and haze rising out of the jungle in columns. And that was the sight Mother Nature greeted me with on my flight from Johor to Seletar in cool air and just the slightest drizzle. Maybe it was an apology for her earlier misfits?

Two Countries in Ten Minutes

In Flight Bag, Knowledge, Navigation on April 7, 2013 at 9:55 pm

9M-DRJ in its parking spot at Seletar Airport (Compact Parking A2)

5 April 2014: Note that for flights between Seletar and Senai airport the first reporting point in Malaysia after Point X-Ray is not the small hill (East of JB town) anymore.  The new reporting points are now Tebrau City Mall and Felda Ulu Tebrau. I have updated my VFR reporting point files (click here)  and you can also have a preview on Google Maps (click here).

1 May 2013: Updated the process to file general declaration forms for departure.  It is now necessary to bring three GenDex forms to the Apron office.  Apron will keep two forms and hand back the third one with a big stamp on it that proves you have paid the passenger fee or that you do not have passengers.  The GenDex with the stamp need to be handed to the immigration officer.

Since I started to fly 9M-DRJ, which has a parking space in Singapore, Seletar airport, I routinely fly between Singapore and Johor.  The flight is very short (15 to 20 minutes) and I think it is pretty cool that you can hop over to Johor for a quick chat any time you want to.  Of course, flying to any other place in Malaysia is also more convenient.  The immigration and customs control in Seletar is very fast, friendly and efficient.  From leaving home (East Coast) to taking off can be accomplished in less than an hour.

Before I started flying from Seletar I heard stories about inflexible ATC procedures, but I have not experienced this.  Of course, safety is paramount, but within the confines of the procedures Seletar tower is very accommodating and flexible.  If they can make it happen without compromising security they will.  Just asked nicely and with proper radio protocol and you will be fine!

I only know ground operations West of the runway. The assumption in my post is that you will fly between Seletar and Senai airport. For Tioman and other directions over the Malaysian peninsular, just change the reporting points after “East of JB Town”.

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