Ingo Noka

Archive for July, 2013|Monthly archive page

Thailand Flight – Day 3 / 29 July 2013

In Aircraft, Airmanship, Equipment, Flight Log, Navigation on July 31, 2013 at 8:49 pm

9M-DRJ, a bit lonely at Hat Yai Airport, Thailand

On Monday, my short field take off skill was to be tested.  In a case like this, before you do anything else, you have to makes sure the weight and balance of the aircraft is acceptable for the runway you want to take off.  At a soft, grass field of 500 meters, that stuff really matters. Normally I take off from runways that are built for an A380, on which I have ample time to get up to speed or to abort if it is just not going to happen (the take off).

I couldn’t do  much about my own weight (which is embarrassingly high these days), so I made my plane as light as possible.  I had about 32 Gallons (87 Kg) of fuel and 25 Kg of luggage (mostly paper, iPad, laptop, handheld radio – this sort of thing).  Altogether, I and my plane were in good shape for a short field take off. (I did the calculation for takeoff ground roll and over 50 feet obstacle as well, which is a topic for another post.)

W&B for take off from grass field Phuket Airpark

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Thailand Flight – Day 2 / 28 July 2013

In Flight Log, Navigation on July 31, 2013 at 7:30 pm

Ingo at Patong beach – Tourist for one day

Day two was a non-flying day.  DCA Thailand does not allow any flights that are not explicitly mentioned in the flight permit. Otherwise I would have loved to fly around the beautiful islands of Phuket.  Since that wasn’t an option, I did the next best thing and slept long, had a one o’clock breakfast and a few beers watching the people at Patong beach in the afternoon.  None of this was very exiting or unusual, so I leave it at that before you get bored with me. Read the rest of this entry »

Thailand Flight – Day 1 / 27 July 2013

In Airmanship, Flight Log, Knowledge, Navigation, Uncategorized on July 28, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Pad James and Ingo at Phuket Airpark

Wow!  What a day. The weather in Singapore turned a  leisurely flight from Singapore to Phuket with plenty of breaks and buffer time into a mad race against time.

I arrive at about 7:30 am at the Seletar immigration checkpoint.  The METARs and the rain radar didn’t look great, but there was still room for hope that I could take off between 8 am and 9 am.  Later than planned, but still not too bad.  A front of early morning thunder storms moved from the North West down the coast to Singapore, but hadn’t made landfall yet.  I thought I could skirt the outer edges of the weather by flying inland rather along the cost to Malacca.  By the time I had the aircraft ready the situation was still borderline acceptable, so I asked ATC for clearance.  Surprisingly, they actually got it, but cautioned my that after Point XRAY the visibility would be so bad that I probably wouldn’t be able to proceed in VMC.  If you have half a brain left, you do not ignore a message like that from ATC, so I postponed the flight plan to 10:00 am. Read the rest of this entry »

Thailand – Live Updates

In Flight Log, Navigation on July 26, 2013 at 11:35 pm

9MDRJ Refuel Stop

I am ready to go.  Flight plans are filed, bag is packed and lots of paper printed out in the hope that I will find the information when I need it.

Live Updates will appear on Facebook and Twitter  and I will attempt to post a summary of my exploits every day, but cannot guarantee I will have enough energy left in the evening.

If the weather is VMC at Seletar tomorrow morning, I will try to take of by 7:30 am, so that I can be in Penang before noon and in Hat Yai by 2 pm.

First fuel stop is Penang, but I am not going to fill up to the top, because I have to buy fuel in Hat Yay in 100L increments.  I am hoping they will keep the fuel I don’t need tomorrow for two days, so that I do not waste too much fuel.

A new challenge – Thailand, Part III

In Flight Log, Knowledge, Navigation on July 24, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Saturday is getting closer and with this my flight to Thailand. I am so looking forward to an entire week of flying in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Apart from the Thailand flight, which has a fixed route and timing, I will fly wherever the wind takes me. Heaven …

The Thai flight permit came through last Thursday. That was surprisingly fast and without much of a problem. I am cleared for a flight to VTSS and VTSW on Saturday and back on Monday. I am allowed to postpone by up to 24 hours, after which I will have to ask for a new permit.

Phuket Airpark kindly sent me an invitation letter, which helped with the Thai VFR permit. They are a bit concerned with some guy they don’t know flying into their short, soft grass strip and I will certainly try to get my landing and take-off right to be welcome again at some time in the future.

The only uncertainty is now the availability of Avgas in Hat Yai. It would be extremely disappointing if I had to cancel at the last minute, because of that. Maybe I would just fly into Hat Yai and come back, which is short enough to get away without refueling outside of Malaysia.

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How much is it?

In Aircraft, Knowledge, Ownership on July 20, 2013 at 8:39 pm

Busy Senai Airport and Beautiful Flying Weather

Today we had beautiful flying weather and Senai airport was teeming with GA activity.  A heart warming sight after many weeks of being grounded because of haze and recently because of aircraft maintenance.

On a day like this it is bad form to talk about money, but anyway, today I picked up 9MDRJ  after the Annual Maintenance and paid a couple of bills, which prompted me to provide some pointers to the operating cost of small Malaysian registered GA aircraft.

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A new challenge – Thailand, Part II

In Navigation on July 11, 2013 at 11:01 pm

Penang to Phuket via Hat Yai

I am exited about my plans to fly into Thailand.  Wings over Asia is helping me with the flight permit and I hope I am not too late with my application.  They told me that the Thai ATC will need at least 5 working days to respond.

Initially I thought I would go the coastal route and refuel at Phuket International.  I was advised not to do that, though.  Apparently that airport has a bad reputation among private pilots.

So now I am thinking I should go to Hat Yai for refuel and from their to the Phuket Airpark via Krabi.  On the way I have at least Trang and Krabi as alternative landing sites in case the weather gets bad.

As far as I can see there are two obvious entry points into Thai airspace, which are defined by the intersection of the national border and two airways:

  • DUBAX for airway R325 (Alor Star to Phuket) – basically Kuala Perlis
  • TAMOS for airway A457 (Alor Star to Hat Yai)

I am planning to use TAMOS and entry and exit point, because that point is crossing the border on a direct line from Alor Star to Hat Yai.

The Thai AIP is very similar to the Malaysian one.  The VFR rules, for example, are basically the same.  Surprisingly, for Hat Yai and Phuket there are even VFR reporting points defined in the AIP.

I have updated the Google map with some Thai VFR reporting points here.

A new challenge – Thailand

In Flight Log, Navigation on July 8, 2013 at 9:56 pm

Phuket Airpark, short 500m grass runway

Unfortunately the flight to Bali, originally planned for the last week of July, has been postponed to August and I have already arranged all my holiday and travels and cannot change again.  So what to do?  I decided I will fly into Thailand.  Maybe it is too late to apply for the permission to fly into Thai airspace, but I will try anyway.  The plan is to fly from Singapore to Penang and from Penang to Phuket.  On Phuket I am asking the Phuket Airpark to help me with the logistics.  I hope there is Avgas available at Phuket airport and the Airpark owners let me park my plane for a night or two.  Depending on weather, I may stop over on Langkawi and in Ipoh on my way back.  ETD Singapore is Saturday, 27 July and return on 31 July or 1 August.  Maybe other pilots who also took a couple of days off for the Bali flight want to join?  Please let me know.