thing to be done was to give the aeroplane a full
inspection as it hadn't flown for a while.
The brakes had been serviced and the fluid level was low
and so this meant acquiring a syringe and some Fluid 4 to
top it up. The master cylinder is inconveniently placed
behind the blind flying panel...
The brakes were noted to be 'soft' but in fact they held
well enough and during the progress of our flight got
slightly better as perhaps tiny bubbles worked their way
up the line.
took off and tested the aeroplane. It was full with 85
litres of fuel, Alex, and me.
The aeroplane leapt off the 350 metre strip at Pattaya
Eastern easily and we climbed to 2,000 feet.
Stalls were at 43KIAS with no flap, and 38KIAS with full
flap (flaperon). This aeroplane has no vices and is easy
to fly as it has had a long development life, unlike many
of the other aircraft in its class.
Safe manners come at the expense of performance. This
aeroplane cruises comfortably at 85KIAS and 4,600 RPM,
it's not worth the extra fuel consumption to go five
Not as quick as some of the other LSA aircraft, but you
are a lot less likely to spin it in turning finals!
Bang Pa Kong ahead
routing took us past the following reporting points: Ban
Nam Peio, Ongkharak, and Hin Kong.
Radio reception became poor on 121.7 and so Bangkok QSY'd
us to 119.4 which was scratchy but fine all the way until
we cleared the Bangkok zone.
gauges are not so clear plastic tubes in the wing roots
and so I used a small torch to check their levels.
This was a long leg to fly and so at 14:07 I turned the
right tank off and now we were flying solely on the left
tank. If the fuel flow suddenly changed or the engine
spluttered I'd switch to the right tank and turn the left
I left it like this until 14:47 before turning the right
on and left off. Both were switched on on final.
Phitsanulok picked us up on the radio at 50 miles out and
we had an easy run the rest of the way. Landing was at
14:52, engine stop 14:58.
On the ground 51 litres 100LL filled the tanks, (total =
85 litres) after flying a test flight: 18 mins air time +
2 hours 56 minutes cruising at 4,600 RPM enroute to VTPP.
problem with such a rush is you need to give the
controller your radial outbound and your ETA... Both of
these I fudged badly... Partly because I'm used to adding
seven hours for zulu time (GMT/UTC) rather than
subtracting seven hours as here. My watch is 12 hours not
24 hours otherwise it would have been simple.
A while later I confirmed 90 minutes enroute and gave ATC
the actual radial I was outbound on, from the GPS of
course, no VOR in this aeroplane!
Busy day; 7th
how much one can get done in a day if one is lucky!
On Wednesday I was lucky... I went to the Immigration
office by Chiang Mai Airport to get an 30 day
extension to my 2 month tourist visa. You can do this
only if you have this visa, and you need photocopies,
a passport size photograph, and 1,900 Baht.
Often it takes time, 3 - 4 hours, but I spent less
than two and was issued my visa just as the office
closed for lunch at 12:00.
My next appointment
was at Sri Phat Rongphayaban (hospital) where I went
in and had an x-ray and a consultation with the
orthopaedic surgeon who had operated on my arm in
February. All is well and the bones are knitting
together nicely. I was lucky, the x-ray machine broke
down that afternoon and the doctor's previous patient
had been unable to get her x-ray done!
My Thai flight was
not too late leaving in the evening and I made it to
Suvarnabhumi only ten minutes late, but we were bused
from the aeroplane to the gate and this added time.
I'd packed for the EuroFox and so I had no 'checked'
luggage; this saved time.
It seems they are giving out their nice boxed snacks
on Thai on some flights, I didn't get one on my
flight back on Monday though.
Alex was there to
His truck was parked in the multi storey car park
which is still full of dusty dirty cars parked there
for the duration of the floods in Bangkok!
We drove down the M7 to Pattaya and booked into Baan
Khun Poh on Sukhumvit, a place I've stayed several
besides 34 road
is always around 6pm here in Thailand and so you have
to be going in a reasonable time.
Preparation and test flying had taken their time, and
so it wasn't until 11:56 that our wheels left the
ground enroute for a fuel stop at Phitsanulok.
We flew north over Bang Phra and contacted Bangkok
Apporoach on 121.70 who then cleared us via the VFR
route to the east of Suvarnabhumi (a long way east!).
You see strips from time to time as you fly about
Thailand, and I spotted one besides the south Bangkok
- Chonburi Road (Sukhumvit) as we approached the
first reporting point, Bang Pa Kong.
approached Tantawan I called Khok Kathiam (Lopburi)
as we enter their zone immediately on release from
I got through and we were cleared to transit their
Then we enter the big Takhli zone, this is a major
military base in Thailand, but got no reply on 124.0,
so I called the tower there on 133.25... No reply
from the controller even though we could hear him
talking to other traffic.
It's common in Thailand to lose contact and sometimes
this is difficult for us.
We carried on northbound at 2,000 feet with the
transponder replying mode S, and staying 25Nm east of
the Takhli aerodrome.
was running out of battery and so I plugged it in when I
went into the terminal to charge for 25 minutes while we
sorted fuel and landing fees out.
I wrote our arrival in the movemnets logbook which is in
the terminal and then went to the airport office to pay
the 85 Baht landing fee.
We bought some drink and sandwiches in the terminal
before proceding back to the aeroplane.
Time was moving on, and we must land before dark... A Nok
Air 737 was loading... I suggested we get going ASAP and
try to get off before the commercial aircraft as this
would have delayed us for a while!
controller told us to wait for taxy, the 737 was to go
first... I told her of our time critical situation...
Then the Nok pilot chirped in in Thai and suggested we
could go first to the controller.
We got our clearance and I noted the engines firing up on
the 737 so asked for and intersection departure from
India rather than taxying behind the jet to the beginning
of the runway.
I thanked the Nok Air pilot and we were off five minutes
after engine start; taking off at 15:42.
Garmin 296 has an inset that shows the yellow and red
colours denoting high terrain as we fly along.
I of course have a map in my lap, it's an old one,
but the terrain hasn't changed.
This was Alex's first encounter with the mountains as
we cross a couple of ranges enroute to Chiang Mai.
It's always a concern the first time one flies over
high terrain, but for me it's normal, and I reassured
him that we wouldn't hit any mountains, and we
Initially we flew at 2,000 feet then up to 3,000 feet
and then to 4,500 feet over the mountains.
Phitsanulok handed us off to Lampang Approach who
then passed us to Chiang Mai Approach.
at Chiang Mai International at 17:27 and were instructed
to park at stand number 9.
The other aircraft which had flown in earlier from Chiang
Rai were over on 11 and 12.
The bill would be paid the next day, but there was
concern that we must be off that stand before 13:30 when
Lao Airlines would arrive to use it.
three aeroplanes had flown from Pattaya and Bang Phra on
a trip around northern Thailand and had flown around the
east and then to Chiang Rai before arriving at Chiang Mai
where we were to meet them.
was arranged by Fernando (Spanish, CT LS) and Dr Rolf
(Remos), and Alasdair and Gill were along in their
Ed was going to join them together with a couple of
pilots from Nok Flying Club for dinner at a Tapas bar in
Chiang Mai. I hitched a ride with Ed.
There was no need for me to stay in a hotel in Chiang