A Fortnight in Thailand

Mike phoned me on my birthday just as I was publishing the last update of this website.
He was enquiring as to where I was as he had sold the Stinson and he needed someone with experience to fly with the new owner to check him out and to fly the aeroplane to Best Ocean.
He was delighted that coincidentally I had just returned to Chiang Mai.
But I have been banned from Nok Airfield, plus I feel threatened as I could be in trouble doing what I do, and not having a work permit to do it.
This leaves me in a real quandary as above everything else I put safety, and so what do I do?
So I refused, told Mike I can not do it, first because I can not go to Nok Airfield, and secondly because I feel threatened by the airfield owner there. This did not go down well...

The next day, I am being appealed to again, but this time Mike said that he could fly the aeroplane into Lanna for me to fly with the new owner from there.
I phoned Robert who operates Lanna Airfield and he said yes of course I can fly from his runway, welcome!

The briefing was to fly to Lampang for circuits and landings with a bit of airwork on the way and then return to Lanna and do a few stop and goes on the shorter runway.

Takeoff at 14:30 was dodgy. One stage of flap was recommended for the short field... I did this takeoff, and she was a dog, very poor perfomance, and so I aimed for the tree tops ahead.
If I can see them I can dodge them.
She slogged through the air feeling very heavy, but began to climb quite well as the flaps were slowly retracted.
Clouds prevented us from climbing to the ATC cleared 5,500 feet so we leveled at 4,800 feet.
Once over the mountains we were told to contact Lampang Approach whereupon I requested clearance to do some steep turns and stalls in the present position, for ten minutes...
What we found was that the airspeed indicator was slow to rise to a believable indication. So Attitude + Power = Performance, fly the aeroplane.
Stalls were gentle and viceless.

We were in a hole between the clouds for our exercises... What we didn't know was that just beyond the cloud to the east it was clear blue sky.
Decending eastwards we were cleared to join final for runway 18 at Lampang and with the runway in sight we contacted Lampang Tower and requested circuits.
We did six: The 1st was with one stage of flap, together, 2nd 3rd and 4th were done by Khun Faay. All with one stage. On the 3rd and 4th goes we stopped and tried takeoffs without any flap set, and she took off very quickly. On number five, we tried a takeoff with one stage of flap and she was once again a dog, much longer takeoff, and slower climb. So from now on zero flap is to be used for short field takeoffs.
Landings five and six were also full flap... We were warned this blanks the tail somewhat, but she felt normal with no exceptional problems, and the rollout was short even without applying the brakes.

Don't be too low on final approach, let's make it to the field if the engine quits

We stopped and went into the terminal to pay the landing fee, 170 Baht
Bought some iced green tea, fresh squeezed orange juice, and the tasty local rice biscuits

Sunny days with cumulus clouds, clear air, the rainy season
The cowling is open to let the 6 cylinder Franklin 165hp engine cool

Khun Faay has tailwheel time and is himself an instructor here in Thailand so there wasn't much work for me to do.
But his original tailwheel instructor only taught him to do wheel landings... Easy to do, but also quite hazardous too.
I said that we would only do three point landings in this aircraft today, and it turns out the Stinson is a natural three pointer, very easy to do. It is even fitted with slots in the wing leading edges to ensure gentle low speed handling when holding off to three point.
Why waste the slots by wheeling?

The flight back to Ban Thi - Lanna

Takeoff from Lampang was at 16:52.
The brakes were applied and the control wheel held back as full throttle was applied. Power was confirmed, the brakes released, and the control wheel placed in the elevator neutral position.
Rather than lift the tail this method is minimum drag with the elevator in line with the tailplane. The tail will rise on its own and the aeroplane will lift off in the minimum distance. With the flaps up and this method the aeroplane was airborne in 1300 feet.
Yes you can move the control wheel forward to lift the tail earlier, and accelerate tail up, but it takes energy to do this, and energy is drag. There's not much in it either way.

We flew back at 3,500 feet via Mae Tha.
Back at Lanna the briefing was for three short field landings to a full stop, backtrack and a short field takeoff each time.
The brakes are very good and we were warned they'd easily put the aeroplane on its nose, and so careful use was made of them during the rollout. I wanted to ensure Khun Faay could keep the aeroplane straight on the smaller runway.

Turning downwind at Lanna. South side of Chiang Mai where I live, in the rain, Doi Suthep in the sunshine

We did two full stop landings, and decided against a third as the storm was approaching with shifting winds expected.
Khun Faay needed to take the aeroplane next door to Nok Airfield for the night.
I was happy enough, and so I stepped out on the runway and let Khun Faay fly solo back to Nok to land on 34 there. It was 17:30.
Mike watched the solo landing at Nok, and it was nicely done I am told.

The heading picture is of Khun Faay departing Lanna on his own... For whatever reason I look at this shot and think of the free flight rubber powered and glow plug powered model aeroplanes of my youth.
It's like I just launched it by hand.

We all met up at Wine Connection in the Promenada shopping mall for dinner. Very social and enjoyable.

The next day Khun Faay flew the aeroplane south to Best Ocean.

Half way along runway 27, Ban Thi - Lanna, VTCM 17:33 28th June

30th June, taking a drive in the countryside

I love this time of the year, it's not too hot, and there's considerable advantage to the rainy season with the clean air.
The pyromaniacs have trouble lighting things to fill the sky with smoke as they do January to May.

I need to exercise, I am in danger of getting fat, and so I went for a 3.7 mile walk around Wiang Kum Kam (3rd July)
There's a lot of development going on, and perhaps these walls are flood prevention?
Wiang Kum Kam is known to flood, and was replaced in 1296 with a new city, Chiang Mai

On Friday I head off to Vancouver for five weeks and so I am unlikely to update this website again during that time.
I need to fly; to once again practice the skills I have in flight instruction, before I stop again to earn a living in England.
The plan is to return here in August for a week or two, and then carry on to England where I should find a job, and once again earn the money to do a Flying Instructor Rating.
Aviation qualifications from one country are not recognised by another country, so one has to go through expensive processes to carry out one's profession in another place.

Verdant fields and mountains, Thailand is a beautiful place


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