the aeroplane thoroughly: the brake fluid level was good,
but the spare brake fluid we'd brought with us was
leaking... I put the bottle in two plastic bags for
Mai Airport information Kilo, at 04:00 zulu, expect radar
vectors to runway 36, runway in use 36, QNH 1017
visibility 10 kilometres, few at 3,500 feet, temperature
27 dewpoint 19 "
were in more haste and so they spent a long time waiting
at [F] for an intersection departure.
This is a busy commercial field with airliners coming and
going and this together with five minute separations
between the departing light aircraft means a long time
idling the engine in the heat of the day! More haste,
We waited until HS GIL received its takeoff clearance
before we started the engine at 11:19.
Takeoff was at 11:32 and so we had a reasonable idle time
on the ground.
As usual the
Cumulus clouds had built up over the first ridge of
mountains and so we threaded our way between them, GPS
on, and my finger still on the map!
The others had gone at 8,500 feet, and were going to fly
overhead the airport then spiral down... There are more
efficient ways of doing this trip I think!
At 25Nm outbound we were handed over to Mae Hong Son
Approach who of course were out of our range, though we
heard the others communicating on the frequency... Later
I relayed a position report via Alasdair in HS GIL but it
wasn't until we were 15Nm from Mae Hong Son that I
managed to talk to approach directly.
I am very familiar
with the route to Mae Hong Son...
South of Pai we descended to 4,500 feet and then a little
lower to use the lift generated on the mountainsides.
This is fun flying but you have to be certain of your
engine and always have a place in mind for engine
Distinctive landmarks are always
Rather than end up
high overhead and take ages to spiral down I arrange to
descend in a valley north of the airport to end up slant
downwind for the runway.
11 at VTCH is a one way in one way out runway.
Entering the valley I asked Alex to descend to 2,500
feet, 'but I can't see the runway!'.
Often this will be the case, so know where you are, and
know your routing into the field. There are many
'invisible' airfields in this world.
|9th December 2011
We all met up at
Chiang Mai Airport's domestic terminal around 10:30am...
I was the first there and paid 1,886 Baht for the landing
fee (650 Baht) and for the parking overnight.
Chiang Mai had imposed mandatory handling for private
aeroplanes but since they hadn't published it yet Khun
Worawoot of the Thai Flying Club had negotiated this out
of our transit costs! When it is published Chiang Mai
will be a more expensive place to visit for us.
But nevertheless an AOT pickup truck gave us a ride to
the terminal after we arrived, and then when we were
departing gave us a ride to the aeroplane and helped us
to put the tie-down weights we'd used back to where they
had come from.
I waited for the others to
arrive in the Black Canyon coffee shop... When Alex
arrived I was able to start briefing him on mountain
flying techniques, but was not able to finish as everyone
else was in a rush to go.
To get to the aeroplane one has to go through security
upstairs in the departure terminal like everyone else,
then we go downstairs again to airside and are driven to
Especially after the rush from Phitsanulok and my
tongue-tide mess of things there I wanted to take my
One's supposed to fly a Chipmunk
from time to time
northwards on runway heading to Mae Rim and then
turned while still in the climb enroute to Mae Hong
Passing 3,500 feet I noted full throttle gave 5,200
RPM and the indicated fuel flow was up to 21.9 litres
The aeroplane has a fuel flow meter which is alright
but, I suspect that due to some fuel return, is
reporting a slightly higher fuel flow than is being
used by the engine.
TOC, 6,500 feet was reached at 11:43 (we were cruise
climbing at 70KIAS), 12.5Nm on the 318º radial from
I saw this Chedi level through the
window of a 737 once, we were low, too bloody low!
That time I wanted to go to the
cockpit and teach the pilot how to do a proper circuit!
Our landing was
a good one at 12:25.
There was some
confusion as the others had paid our landing fee and
it was a lot more than the usual 85 Baht.
The answer was that Mae Hong Son Airport had
collected the landing and parking fees for Mae
Sariang as well and so we were prepaid :)
We didn't stop
long at Mae Hong Son, we walked to a local food place
and had Thai food... The others wanted to be at Mae
Here at Mae
Hong Son I learned of some trouble between me and one
of the others... I'd told a pilot I have been flying
with about his aeroplane having had an accident... I
was inspecting it closely to see what the repairs
were. Of course the purchaser said he wasn't aware of
the damage history and the vendor was one of our
group on this trip! I don't like such atmospheres and
so I talked it over with the person concerned. He
assured me the purchaser was aware, and the work was
written in the logbooks for all to see. Disputes like
this are not my concern but I will inspect an
aeroplane before I fly it.
If you are on a journey with people it's always best
to resolve differences if you can, it makes for more
pleasant time afterwards.
There are shallow ponds beside the
terminal and this snake was swimming in one of them.