Ingo Noka

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”.

Paper Work on Departure

  • For Departure you need five General Declaration (GenDex) forms and one form that informs DCA that your flight is a non-commercial flight.
  • The first three GenDex and the “non-commercial form” goes to the Apron office, which is located to the right of the terminal entrance.  Go into the office and ring the bell if nobody is at the counter.  You will get one of the forms back with a big chop on it, which certifies you have paid for your passengers.  You have to pay the passenger fee of SGD 18 per passenger with a payment card (NETS, Visa etc.).  They do not accept cash.
  • Then you go into the terminal and hand over one GenDex to the security counter.  Put your luggage on the scanner belt and once you have collected it again you go to the immigration counter.
  • Immigration will get the GenDex with the chop from the Apron office.  Ask nicely whether you can go to put the fifth GenDex into the box that is attached to a door close to the scanner for entry into Singapore.
  • Now you go through the person scanner, and you are done.
  • Put on your safety vest and walk to your aircraft.

The Compact Parking Area for small Aircraft at Seletar

Paper Work on Arrival

  • For Arrival you need five GenDex forms and one form that informs DCA that your flight is a non-commercial flight.
  • Two GenDex go to immigration.  One form goes into the box on the same door you put your form on Departure, one form goes into a tray on top of the Arrival security scanner and the last GenDex goes to the Apron office (same procedure as on Departure).
  • Make sure you hand over you forms and enter your flight into the book.  The Apron people really check this and will come back to you if you have a departure without prior Arrival!

Start-up

  • If you are coming from the compact parking area you are allowed to start-up without asking ground control. If you think that there will be a delay, you can ask for start-up and hope ground control is telling you that there could be a delay.
  • If a jet is coming in, you better have air condition, because you are going to wait!
  • After start-up contact ground with POB and endurance and ask for ATC and taxi clearance.
  • More or less standard radio practice – very similar to Malaysia ATC.

Taxiing

  • There are two taxiways parallel to the runway: WP and WA. WP is closer to the runway and usually used for taxiing from North to South and WP is used for taxiing in the opposite direction (at least when 03 is the active).
  • The runway has three exit/entry points to the West apron: W1, W2 and W3. W1 is right at the threshold of runway 21 (i.e in the North). W2 is roughly half way between the two thresholds and W3 is closer to the threshold of runway 03, but even from W3 you have to backtrack to get to the threshold.
  • The connecting taxiways between WP and WA are called WC1, WC2 and WC3, in line with the respective runway entry points. In addition there is one more taxiway between WC1 and WC2, which is labelled WCX.
  • W3 and WC3 had been closed because of construction work for some time, but today (7 April 13) it was available.
  • The Singapore Youth Flying Club is located to the South of the West Apron and can be reached via WP and WS1 and WS2, but you are not likely to go there.
  • If you are coming from the Compact Parking Area (i.e. CP A2 or A3), you will exit the parking area into WP and track via WP to W2 for runway 03. At holding point W2 you will switch to tower and then backtrack on 03. How far you backtrack is at your own discretion.
  • At one time I was asked to turn from WP into WCX and go via WA to W1 to backtrack the entire length of the runway, because a plane having mechanical problems blocked W2. In other words, anything is possible, and my notes only cover the standard routine I have observed so far.

Taking off from Runway 03

  • If taking off on 03, you will have to backtrack from W2 or W3. The runway is long enough for an intersection take off, but there are high cranes and ships right in the approach path and you should reach 1,500 feet before you switch over to Paya Lebar. So I backtrack to at least the 1000 feet marker.
  • When taking off from runway 03, you will likely be asked to climb 1500 and to turn left.
  • Once you are airborne, keep flying the runway heading until you are over the water and then turn left (tower will say something like “set course to point X-Ray”). The threshold of the reciprocal runway is close to the water. You will either fly over the Seletar island or slight to the North of it. It is best to stay over the water, roughly half way between Singapore and Malaysia.
  • There are two reporting points: Point X-Ray and East of JB Town.
  • Somewhere between turning left and point X-Ray, Seletar tower will hand you over to Seletar approach (127.7). Switch over without delay, because you will stay with Paya Lebar for only a short period of time.
  • Do not tell them POB and endurance. There is no time for that. Maybe the altitude and a “good morning” or “good afternoon”, no more than that.
  • They will ask you to maintain your assign altitude (usually 1500) and to report over point X-Ray. Sometimes, Seletar is busy and they will hand you over quite late, when you are already close to point X-Ray. If that is the case, it is a good idea to tell Paya Lebar control that you are approaching point x-ray to save time.
  • Point X-Ray is located over the water, next to a shipyard, which is slightly to the West of the point where the extended centerline of runway 04/05 of the two runways of the Sembawang Air force base cross the Johor Straights. You can see the base quite clearly unless the weather is so bad that you shouldn’t be flying VFR anyway.
  • Paya Lebar will then ask you to track to “East of JB Town”. From point X-Ray, you just turn towards Malaysia. Most pilots will take a short cut and track North-West straight to Senai airport, but if you want to do this by the book, you should head toward the hill to the North-East of point x-ray. In any case stay East of the small river, which marks the border to airspace you should not go into. (New Reporting Points!!! See update above.)
  • In fact, both Seletar Tower and Paya Lebar Approach will tell you multiple times that you must stay clear of WMP 228. I have only one advice for you: stay clear of this prohibited airspace by a large margin and always read back the full instruction to stay clear of Whiskey, Mike, Papa 228. I’ll leave it to you to find out what or who is behind this airspace and why you will likely lose your license if you infringe on it!
  • At East of JB Town Paya Lebar approach will hand you over to Johor Tower (118.15). When you contact them you can now fall back into the old routine of telling them POB and endurance and give an ETA for East of Airfield.
  • Johor is going to clear you for East of Airfield and it is all standard procedure from there onwards.

Water Reservoir parallel to the runway

Taking off from runway 21

  • You will likely go to holding point W1 and take off without backtracking first.
  • They will ask you to turn right, climb 1,500, stay within Seletar Control Zone (i.e. over the water).
  • Just turn right and fly parallel to the runway over the water reservoir to Seletar Island.
  • Everything else is the same as for runway 03.

Return to Seletar

  • On return you will likely track direct from Senai airport to East of JB Town. When you arrive, you report position to Senai and get handed over to Paya Lebar Approach. they will either hold you there or clear you for Point X-Ray.
  • At Point X-Ray, Paya Lebar Approach will tell you what runway and joining procedure to expect.
  • Let Paya Lebar Approach at point X-Ray know that you have the Seletar airfield in sight. That saves time, because they will ask you anyway. There is some anxiety that you mistake Sembawang for Seletar, which would be bad for your license and future flights into Singapore.
  • The Seletar airfield is easily identified by the Seletar island and the body of water running parallel to the runway.
  • They will ask you to switch to Seletar tower when reaching the Seletar Control Zone.
  • Seletar will likely ask you to keep all turns within in Seletar control zone. This means your left hand downwind for 03 or right hand downwind for 21 must be over the water of the lower Seletar Reservoir (i.e. the water body that runs to the West of and parallel to the Seletar runway) and you should not go farther South than the SLE/TPE Expressway and the Seletar Flyover.
  • Don’t decent below 1,500 feet until tower clears you for final. Just West to the Golf Course on the West side of the Water reservoir is a small zone that you must not over-fly below 1500.
  • Because of the tight circuit, you will likely come in higher than what you are used to. I start my landing procedure abeam the threshold of 03 and pull out second stage flaps before I turn base. Most of the time I need full flaps to touch down before the 1000 feet marker.
  • If you are cleared for direct to right hand base of 21, you will be too high for a normal landing procedure, because Paya Lebar will hand you over to Seletar at 1500 or even 2000 feet when you have already reached Seletar Island. I suggest you either ask for over-head join and descent to circuit height by making a right hand turn into downwind over the runway, or you reduce speed as much as possible right after point X-Ray, pull power all the way back and get your flaps out as soon as you get cleared for base. I have seen pilots making descending 360 degree turns on base or even on final, which I think is a bad idea.

Additional Points to remember

  • Stay clear of WMP228 and read back instructions to do so in full.
  • After you have vacated the runway stop the aircraft and contact Seletar ground. Do not continue into WA, WP or one of the WC taxiways until you are cleared.
  • Wear a safety vest when you are walking on the apron. Do not take short cuts across taxiways, always cross at a 90º angle.

Interesting visitor on the West Apron of Seletar Airport

Note that the Singapore AIP has published VFR approaches that use overhead joins:

  • You start with flying to the threshold of the runway you want to land on at 2000 feet
  • Then you fly parallel to the runway and descend to 1,500 before you reach the other end of the runway.
  • Finally you turn into base and downwind, crossing the runway at the opposite end.
  • If that sounds difficult, just look at the charts provided in the Singapore AIP.

Radio Frequencies

  • Seletar Ground: 121.600
  • Seletar Tower: 118.450
  • Paya Lebar Approach: 127.700
  • Johor Tower: 118.15
  • Johor Ground: 121.800

Avgas supply at Seletar

  • ST-Airport Services Pte Ltd
  • Weekdays: 0730hrs – 2200hrs,  weekends and public holidays: 0830hrs – 1730hrs
  • Tel: +65 6481 1522,  Fax: +65 6481 2159, Ops Mobile: +65 9129 4161
  • Email: sab.stars@st-airport.com
  1. I heard about you bought a plane and now I read about your flying journal. Next I think u can give us a real demo of flying a plane?
    Fly, Ingo

  2. Ingo, thanks. Flew this route last week and enjoyed this as a first step to more challenging cross country sorties through Malaysia. Malacca next.

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