Ingo Noka

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.

As things are getting more serious now, I studied the Thai AIP more closely. The general rules of the air are exactly as defined by ICAO. The respective Annex is just included by reference.

Thai ATC apparently tends to use VOR Radials and DME distances for VFR reporting. This is not written anywhere I could find, but I have heard it from many pilots that had been in Thailand before.

I bought Air Nav Pro for my iPhone and iPad hoping it would show radials, but it doesn’t. In fact many applications and handbooks use the word radial for both bearing to and radial from the station. I will have to use the KLN89B that is installed in my aircraft. It’s going to be interesting for a pilot who hasn’t yet done his IFR license.

To be extra sure, I have a lot of redundancy in my navigation setup. KLN89B, two nav radios, iPhone with AirNavPro and MotionX, iPad with the same, compass and maps. Of course the maps are the usual combination of 30 years old ONC maps and screen print outs from Google maps or Skyvector ;-).

The remaining rules are very similar to what I am used to. Here is a summary of the most important rules:

– Separation from clouds:
— Generally: 1500m horizontally and 1000 feet vertically;
— in class B: just clear of clouds;
— in class F and G below 900m AMSL: just clear of clouds
– Visibility:
— below 10,000 feet: 5,000m
— Above 10,000 feet: 8,000m
– Landing/take-off minima: 5,000m visibility and 1,500 feet ceiling (special VFR, at least 1,500m visibility)
– NO VFR flights permitted at night
– Minimum altitude above congested areas is 1000 feet over the highest obstacle within 600m of the aircraft
– Special VFR need to be requested by the pilot
– Standard circuit height is 600 feet for aircraft with less than 130 knots TAS
– Circuit joining procedure: join at a 45 degree angle mid-downwind
– ATC Procedures:
— In the circuit: call “downwind” at mid-downwind, “base” after turn into base and “final” after turn into final (no more than 4nm final), call “long final” 8nm from threshold
— Departure: Contact ATC before taxiing
— Arrival: 10 minutes from control zone boundary
– Flight Plans:
— File at least 1 hour before departure
— Send delay message if departure more than 1 hour delayed (automatic cancellation otherwise)
— Flight plan addresses for Phuket flight
into Bangkok FIR: VTBBZQZX
into Hat Yai TMA: VTSSZPZX
into Phuket TMA: VTSPZPZX
into Trang: VTSSZAZX
into Krabi: VTSPZAZX

  1. Sounds like a great adventure. Hood luck and take care

  2. With radial tracking, remember this rule of thumb, ” Pull the tail & Push the head”. Tail being the end of the VOR needle & head being the VOR pointer which will be pointing to the VOR station that you have tuned into. Your aircraft position with respect to the VOR station is indicated by the tail of the needle.
    Also, to make sure you’ve tuned to the correct station, check the morse code identifier transmitted on the same VOR frequency, this should correspond to info in the AIP or The navaid charts that you’re referring to.

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