Looking after visitors and doing another border run
I think my days as a pilot
and flying instructor are coming to a natural close as life seems
to be guiding me away from it, but where to next?
Something ends and something else begins, I don't know what this new beginning might be, and it is not easy for me to release myself from my passion and what I have done for most of my life.
In Buddhism you live for the now, but I can't help wonder about the future. Though I travel like this, because this is what life permits, I am concerned about my tomorrows.
Everywhere I look recreational aviation is in decline. Everywhere I go there's the sense of the effort it takes to do what we do as regulatory issues become more complex, and operations become more expensive.
I find nobody like me, enthusiastic, with the urge to ensure visitors who show up at 'my' flying organisation get to go flying. I have always been positive and encouraging to people who showed up at my door with an interest in going flying.
There seems to be little salesmanship in aviation, with sufficient enthusiasm to ensure newcomers are welcomed into what we do.
Khun Gun is an author in Thailand, as well as being a teacher.
Digital photography is not
nearly as good as medium format film photography of the past...
Cameras do not last as long either.
The Voigtländer 35mm camera I have still works, and so does the Hasselblad 500CM I bought new in 1986, but I believe the sensor in the Canon G1X I use now is probably not as good as it ought to be after being used in the light so often. The Samsung Galaxy S4 phone I use provides better images in some respects, though I hate zooming into pixels... Bleh!
I am always having to use "Sharpen lightly" with my images.
Time to replace the camera again if I ever have sufficient money to do it.
I still have the reliable Canon G5, and the unreliable blotchy G9 camera... In the digital world you can not buy a camera that will last as long as an old 35mm camera. The sensor life is definitely longer than the life of a roll of film, but even so it has a life and deteriorates over time.
Russ comes from Squamish, British Columbia
The restaurant here is now open on the Samoeng loop, Chiang Mai
I have had a few visitors
from British Columbia these past months, and it is a shame that I
am unable to take them for flights.
Though I have a Thai validation of my Canadian pilot's licence there is some unfortunate malice in aviation and so I am prevented from flying in the Chiang Mai area.
Bangkok and down
My Cirrus student has been
unwell, there was a dose of Dengue fever going around. I count
myself as lucky that I seem to have missed out on this since I
was there at the time the others were catching it and I didn't.
Perhaps the particular mossie didn't like me?
Even though our meeting was cancelled due to Dengue I was booked on a no refund flight so I took the opportunity to fly south.
Besides, based on this plan I'd booked a flight out of Suvarnabhumi Airport; I needed to do a border run as my Thai visa would expire.
'Spent the night in Ban Saen to wake up to this view.
Below the crab catchers had sold their freshly caught crabs to people in the early morning.
Thai Flying Club used to be the go to place for visiting pilots such as me. I did my first flying in Thailand from here, and now it ticks over with a couple of flights each weekend day.
There has been much
background nasty rumour stirred by a person in Thai aviation who
has taken a dislike to me... Here at Bang Phra I learned some
more about it from the owner of this propeller.
He was told that I had told the CAAT about the background to the subsequent demise of this propeller; I am accused! This was untrue.
What was true was that I had witnessed a seriously dangerous act, an unskilled person repairing this propeller. I was asked by the pilot how to balance it as he was daubing resin onto it and filing it down.
One leading edge had been removed and then refitted with, I understood, home made rivets... What should I say? What should I do?
I have discussed this with others in the Thai aviation scene, people not associated with the CAAT, but maybe one of these people relayed the story. Aviation is a small world, and word gets around, but it doesn't mean I myself went to the CAAT and told them about what I had witnessed.
In my life as a pilot I have witnessed many dangerous things, so should have been far more assertive and told the pilot not to fly this aircraft, I might have prevented an accident.
Propeller overhaul and repair is highly specialised. If a piece of propeller comes off in flight the imbalance can take the engine off the front of the aeroplane very quickly. You must respond immediately, magnetos off, and point the nose high, raise it up and up to reduce the airspeed quickly and stop the propeller's rotation. Pitch the nose down, reduce the G, and she won't stall.
I told the pilot what to do if the propeller came apart in the air... I don't know whether this saved his bacon or not.
Last year I had occasion to
visit CAAT to sign for the Type Certificate for a Bölkow Junior,
and to ask about the Five Year Permits for it and another club
My office at Don Mueang Airport was conveniently close to the CAAT office. I went to the office and did the business I had been asked to do, and nothing more.
I saw the person who has taken a dislike to me on that visit, I remember saying how I liked the improvement in service from CAAT, he disagreed.
It seems this chap told the owner of the propeller that I went there to tell CAAT about it! I did not.
It seems this person is also the origin of some of my trouble in Chiang Mai as the owner of some aeroplanes there was told I had been negotiating with CAAT on his behalf; also untrue.
What I did do on behalf of this person is to obtain the Type Certificate for the Super Cub. I had been asked to sign for this too, later on, but then the accusations came through from the owner of the Super Cub and so I did not deal with CAAT for this one.
So there's a trouble causer in my life in Thailand at the moment, and flying for me in Thailand is at an end.
What such people do not understand is that when we attack each other in this business, we damage recreational flying for everyone. Who wants to join a situation involving nastiness?
Even CAAT will notice. As the DCA they were already unfortunately involved in a conflict involving the person who banned me, went to court! This trouble was everyone's trouble.
In my life I have always done my best to make a positive impact on aviation wherever I happen to be, so I am extremely offended by the defaming remarks a certain person has made about me, and his action, banning me from the place I fly based on lies. It seems these lies have their source in one person who saw me at the CAAT office and made allegations based on this.
I have worked in the background to do my bit to try to make flying safer in Thailand with its abysmal safety record. I have seen so many unsafe acts, and until now I have not published any of these on here or on Facebook. Now it seems the unsafe people have the upper hand.
The Super Cub was a
favourite aeroplane of mine, but a few years ago it was involved
in a serious accident and flown after this, twice, with the rear
fuselage twisted five degrees to port, the tailplane and fin too.
Highly unsafe, I was shocked and surprised the pilot 1. didn't inspect the aeroplane after what must have been a violent accident, and took off, and 2. flew the aeroplane back from its destination after seeing the damage.
A new rear fuselage was welded to the undamaged front fuselage... It would be dodgy flying this aeroplane since the weld repair, was it done correctly(?), and as far as I know it has not flown in the past three years.
Three accidents, one after an unskilled propeller repair, one after a sharp turn with the tailwheel going into a hole and twisting the fuselage, and a third where an aeroplane supposedly collided with a cow on landing, breaking the propeller, damaging the cowlings, and taking the right side footstep off the side fo the fuselage.
The third accident involved
me in sourcing parts for the owner. I had these sent to me in
Vancouver, but had to return them when the owner ordered a second
tachometer from the manufacturer who had to make it on special
order, now they made two! The owner declined the rest of the
approved conversion kit, and so this certified aeroplane has not
been modified in accordance with the manufacturers'
This deal involved me in a lot of effort, and cost me $200 or so in shipping fees. Fortunately the supplier did not charge me a restocking charge! I forgave the owner the expense as he had kept me in flying from his airfield for many years. Now he defames me.
I have to find a job,
knuckle down and earn some money for my pension and my old age.
Flying in England is going to be difficult. The CAA have had my documents and money for several months now, and I am waiting to learn what I would need to do to be able to instruct in England.
Regardless, it seems it will be expensive, and probably the return on investment at my age will not be worth the outlay, especially if I have to do a whole Instructor Rating course again.
So I will have to find some sort of job to earn a living, and a few people are encouraging me to go back and work for the Post Office.
In need of money I have worked as a Christmas Relief postman twice, and once I did a couple of months in a sorting office.
I was saved the first time I did the postman job when I took a job creating Computer Based Training lessons for airline pilots, a bit more intellectual, and more in line with my knowledge.
It isn't easy for me to do a survival job to pay the rent as I soon get bored.
With this in mind, and with
the need to do a border run if I am to spend some more time in
Thailand, I decided to do my border run to Brisbane where my
I am unlikely to have this opportunity again in the future.
First airfield I visited
was Redcliffe where there is a flying club. The people there were
pleasant, but busy with office work.
I was allowed to make myself a cup of tea... I spent some time scanning the maps and procedures posted on the walls to get an idea about flying in this part of the world.
On this trip I also had a quick look in at Caboolture.
My nephew is learning to
fly at Archerfield and so I went there with my sister to book his
Archerfield has a few movements, but this past "Australia Day" weekend was pretty quiet in comparison with such places elsewhere in the world.
Flying training is a bit more complicated in its route through a recreational licence to a PPL. They say the student saves money this way...
The school opens at 05:00 to make use of the cool mornings, and usually shuts down at 15:30 as the heat and thermal turbulence is too much.
My niece showed me around
Brisbane a bit. It seems the public transport, and overall feel
of this town is better than Vancouver. The climate is certainly
I was warned that Bull Sharks do come up river, so you must be careful in the water, but I also note that the college has a rowing club, Oxford and Cambridge style.
Rates are not cheap here in Australia
Back at Archerfield on Saturday where Oliver went out for his lesson.
There's a Warbird company offering rides in various aircraft
Saturday afternoon I went
with my brother in law to Heckfield which is an airfield in the
classic sense, with an open clubhouse for visiting pilots. This
was fortunate as there was nobody there in the afternoon and I
needed the loo.
Found life in one hangar where a couple of chaps were assembling a new Super Petrel with the 912iS engine. One is the dealer for this type of amphibian here in Queensland.
Decided to go for a beer at Jacobs Well beside the sea... The pub there was belting loud shouting music and so we settled on an ice cream instead.
Boating is popular, I suppose it's not so regulated, and so relatively inexpensive for the locals.
Did this fly two years before the Wrights?
On Sunday I went to
Caboolture with Rod and Melissa who I had met on a beach near Hua
Hin a few years ago.
We went to the WWI museum first where they have a nice collection of aircraft.
The walls have an alternative history of aviation in which the Wright Brothers are shown to not have been the first to demonstrate powered flight. I agree with this; being catapulted into the air with an engine that at best sustained the glide a little longer is hardly the same as an aeroplane taking off under its own power.
The museum flies a couple of its aircraft behind the Gnome Monosoupape engine. Originally good for 80hp I was surprised to learn it went up to 160hp during the war and was even used into the 1920's.
The Sopwith Triplane uses the local Rotec Radial engine.
Two years ago I thought I would come to Brisbane, and so I contacted Paul Strike who operates the Flying Signs business at Caboolture. He has a Super Decathlon and so I have booked a flight in it next weekend. Half an hour will eat up over $200 so it is going to hit my budget.
There is the possibility of
validating a licence here for a year.
You need to be security cleared, and this is done by obtaining an Air Side Identity Card (ASIC). It cost me about $700 to get this nearly two years ago. It will expire next month.
You need to show the last three pages of your logbook, and have three scanned copies certified by a JP (Justice of the Peace) trained and certified individual. If you only keep an electronic logbook this may be a problem as in Australia you are required to have a paper one. Copies of licence, ratings, and medical certification are also required to be scanned and signed. You then create .pdf files of these and the online form and submit the whole lot by email to CASA in Canberra. The fee is $150 AUS.
On to part two