Heading home for the winter
Here I am back in Chiang
It was mentioned to me that I hadn't updated this webpage in a while.. Do you know how long this takes?
I will publish this and the maybe I'll edit it again and add some pictues that are on my iPad later.
2nd November: Test flight in the RV9A from Nok, San Kamphaeng Hot Springs.
3rd November: To Mae Kuang Dam, and then San Kamphaeng Hot Springs in the RV9A.
5th November: Up with Paul in the Allegro, Pattaya Eastern - Klaeng (touch and go) - U Tapao for two circuits - then stalls before landing back at Eastern.
8th November: Steep turns, slow flight, and stalls followed by 5 circuits at Nok in the RV9A.
Cathay Dragon Airbus 320
Enroute to Hong Kong
Inflight movie watching
Independence Day: Resurgence. Rubbish; a poor follow up to a very good original movie. *
Adult Life Skills. A nice film about life, trauma, and getting over troubles, it was good. ***
Star Trek Beyond. I photographed the location for this movie which was filmed in the blasting area in the Pitt Lake Parctice Area. It was okay. **
The Kodai Family. A day dreaming Japanese office worker's relationship with her company boss. He can read her mind. Very good. ****
Midnight Diner. Another Japanese film about life in a midnight diner, and insight into Japanese culture. ***
I arrived in Hong Kong for an
Like a native I took
the train and the MTR into Kowloon using my Octopus card
which is a super convenient idea.
For the first time in
Hong Kong I was royally ripped off!
I booked a room at the OM Guest House in the grotty
Chung King Mansion on Nathan Road through Agoda. It cost
me $301 and nothing less than the term "sh*t
hole" would describe it! I was paying six times the
normal price for this grotty room with its dirty drinking
mugs; one bed with a dirty sheet, and fortunately one bed
with a clean one... Never never never again! If I happen
to go through Hong Kong and cannot get a decent room due
to a period of outrageous over charging I'll spend the
time on a bench at the airport.
In the morning I met up with
Neil who is an old friend from Tiger Club days in England
in the 1980's.
It was soon time to go to the
airport and so I caught the A22 bus, swiping my Octopus
card as I entered... The bus was in traffic for a while
but soon entered the motorway for a fast trip to the
The Cathay Dragon Airbus
departed Hong Kong close to being on time, and was on
time arriving at Chiang Mai.
Fantastic cloudscapes are a feature of tropical skies. I'd never be bored flying this route.
Back home I washed and
cleaned the loo, and the floors. Made my bed, plugged in the
fridge, and went to Tesco Lotus for supplies.
I was picked up, went for dinner with Koi and his family, and then to the pub... Picked up my car, and drove home.. (I drank pop!).
Batteries do not last very long in the tropics and so the battery in the aeroplane needed replacement... In the meantime Michael swung and swung the propeller many times before the engine would start!
Airborne to check all systems in the RV9A
Beautiful weather in Northern Thailand
Thursday I flew from 12:40 to 13:50 local time in the
RV9Aand then rushed home, showered, and had a ride in a
TukTuk owned by a resident of my apartment building to
the airport to catch the 17:05 TG 613 (A330) flight to
works nearby too, and so we met up to go out for dinner
at the Saxophone Bar which is a short walk away.
In the morning NaRuk came over for breakfast and then she went to work, and I took the Rail Link back to the airport and caught the 120 Baht bus to Jomtien.
I had a few Briggs
and Stratton bits to deliver to Pattaya Eastern...
Unfortunately this time Gill was travelling the opposite
direction on her way up north, and so I drove her and
Alasdair's truck from the bus station...
Pattaya is known for it's
street life, old farang men with young women (and boys) are it's
reputation. This is true, but there are many exceptions though
it's not my favourite place.
But let's think about this.
Foreign men come here for a sex time, but then they get involved, they help their prostitutes out with money, set them up in a house or a flat, and sometimes they marry them!
What is the problem here? Is it perversion? Is it simply a need for sex? Or is it something different?
Western society has changed. Boys of my generation grew up usually with a mother in the home, sometimes caring, sometimes didn't care, and sometimes abusive, but she was there.
Now everyone works, a woman's career is important; more important than family. Family can wait and often for the woman in her late 30's it's too late.
Women in western society have adapted well to the new 'everyone in the workplace' lifestyle, but western men have not adjusted so well. So you see these guys, and they're actually not usually bad guys, taking care of the poor Isan girls who at first sold them sex, but in the end sold them necessity. These men feel necessary when they support a poor woman in Thailand and they often are ripped off by these women too...
So I wouldn't criticise these blokes as at heart they're often good souls. It's just that western society has moved on, and they have not kept up.
It was time to dust off the Allegro and go for a flight on Saturday 5th November.
Eastern is being squeezed as there is a concrete depot with a tall wall at one end, and a migrant workers accommodation camp at the other end. They have recently erected a water tower on the end of the runway to supply the migrant worker camp. There's no restriction on what people may build at the end of a runway.
The Allegro gets up and
goes and so the water tower is not a problem...
Klaeng is a narrow runway with trees at the north end... We did a quick touch and go and then headed west along the shore, passing the oil refineries of Rayong to join right base for a couple of circuits at U Tapao.
After two touch and goes we headed home to Pattaya Eastern.
Dinner was at the Pig
and Whistle, I had Chicken Kiev; everyone enjoying good
picked me up from the hotel in the morning and we drove
to a school where her niece had a music lesson.
We drove to the Khin Lom Chom Sa Phan restaurant by the Chao Phraya river for an excellent seafood lunch, and followed this with ice cream at Swensen's in a nearby mall.
I could not book a flight online within six hours and so we drove to Suvarnabhumi and I bought a 1,900 Baht ticket on Thai Airways back to Chiang Mai.
I've begun my early morning bicycle rides again... Get my morning exercise.
Monday and Tuesday each had
a flight in the RV9A... Today, Wednesday, I was rained on during
my early morning ride and I did not go to the airfield.
Instead I went for lunch with Daryl who is visiting from Vancouver.
VTCY, San Kamphaeng - Nok Airfield
Busy times in Thailand
As ever it's a
difficult decision deciding which pictures to display on
here, and then which ones should be small and which
should be larger. I have a lot of pictures!
11th November: Ban Thi - Nok (San Kamphaeng) VTCY to Bangkok Don Mueang VTBD. Takeoff 14:09 land 16:30 local time. Fuel used = 70 litres Avgas 100LL.
get a slot number Landing Permit to fly into Bangkok
Airport, and handling by a company such as MJets there.
I filed my flight plan with Chiang Mai and included the Landing Permit number.
went without a hitch, we were handed over to Tak approach
(Phitsanulok), then to Focal Military, and then to
There are many frequencies that can be possibly used and so I write them down on my pad and underline the ones I am called to use.
the axxera XGPS 150 E failed to work when it was needed.
Gerry said he had bought two of these units in his time,
and both had failed...
moved its facility to the south end of the field on the
west side, below the cargo terminal.
Heading towards Nakhon Sawan
Fitting in with the big stuff means doing what is necessary within safe bounds
I learned last time to expect the westerly departure
Bangkok to Nok 13th November
up at MJets where we were told that the CxA had expired
on our aeroplane... But we did the annual check back in
February. The new certificate was produced and this was
Boonying's office was in the building beside the aeroplane, he's in charge of maintenance of several Navajo aircraft operated by Budget Airlines. They have a Partenavia and a Cessna 150 as well. So we met briefly before my departure time.
Takeoff was at
10:44 after allowing time for the vortices from a
preceding A320 to dissipate. We were told to turn right
270 degrees climb to 1,000 feet soon after takeoff to
clear the airport to the west, and then vectors and
climbs 280/1,500', then 320 degrees, and cleared direct
TL. ATC requested our ETA at TL and at PSL...
Water at the heart of the Thai agriculture
The end of a lovely flight
Loy Krathong was originally cancelled while the Thais mourn the loss of the King
|Alasdair and Date (dat
tay, Japanese) are on a round Thailand flight in the
I've done this in this aeroplane too, it's a very reliable easy to fly aeroplane.
They were visiting Lanna
Airfield which is next to Nok and so I was able to catch
The floats in this year's Loy Krathong parade celebrated the good works of the King except for one which was promoting the Mitsubishi MRJ regional jet.
Visitor from Vancouver
change and filter change were completed and the engine
ground run to check for leaks.
We flew over the
Mae Kuang reservoir and then over the Hot Springs and did
a stall test.
Doi Inthanon flights
I took two people for a ride to Doi Inthanon followed by a low approach and go around at Chiang Mai Airport.
Doi Inthanon is the
highest mountain in Thailand and there's sometimes frost
and ice formed up there. The Thais revel in the cold in
December up on the mountain; they dress in winter gear as
if it was Whistler in the winter.
A view over Chiang Mai after the low approach
Towards completion of flying in the RV9A
The objective was
to do a final ten days trip in the RV9A before the
aircraft moves on to a new custodian.
Takeoff was at
12:10 in the afternoon (19th) and were were told to track
outbound on the 130 degree radial, 2,000 feet initially
and then climb... I requested 150 as 130 would take us
into the mountains... 150 was approved.
The axxera XGPS150E
- iPad Air - AirNav Pro combination was performing well
to Ayutthaya, and then failed enroute to the first
checkpoint and I didn't spot it quickly enough to realise
my intercept was taking me well off course. ATC then
helped with vectors.
I want to buy one of those ADSB kits which worked superbly with the same combination of iPad Air and AirNav Pro in England.
As usual we held at 5 NM West for a while before we could be fitted in to land on 21L at 14:35.
MJets crew were
ready to greet us at E17, drive us back to their posh
friend of NaRuk was to be married on that day, and so I
had invited myself to the reception.
The VFR procedure from the north takes you over the historic city
I knew what I was looking forward to
Bangkok to U Tapao for the Air Races
Supporting General Aviation
about these air races before many pilots did here because
it was not well publicised in Thailand.
hoped to see many small aeroplanes arrive in support of
this event... In the end only one turned up, the RV9A,
and then the Navy had us park a long way from the action
on the south end of the field out of sight.
NaRuk and I took
off from runway 21L at Don Mueang at 10:46 and were
routed to the west, crossing 21R, to be vectored down to
the sea, and across to U Tapao. Landing would be at
We were parked at the Navy end of the field, out of the way
||We were airborne at
16:40 climbing to 6,500 feet to cross the sea to reverse
our route back into Bangkok Don Mueang.
You can expect a few holds and
then some vectors to bring you in between the heavy
Landing was at 17:45, enough time ahead of sunset to be comfortable.
Handling at Don Mueang by MJets is very efficient, they are very good at their jobs, and the new facility is comfortable, and very posh. It is definitely worth the fees, and they gave us a heavy discount as a small flying club aeroplane.
F5s ready to line up
U Tapao again
U Tapao is
also known as Pattaya International Airport and is
becoming busy with commercial flights as well as military
MJets handle us here too but they do not yet have a swish facility like the one in Bangkok.
I sent MJets an
email with my flight plan. When you do this they provide
you with a package containing General Declarations,
weather, and NOTAMs.
The fuel truck was there ready to sell us 55 litres Avgas... I was anticipating buying a 50 litre drum at U Tapao so I wanted enough space in the tanks for this... As it was, U Tapao fueled the aeroplane from 200 litre drums using a metered pump so I would have had full tanks when I left there anyway.
It took 25 minutes between engine start and takeoff at 13:30 for the repeat flight, west crossing the runway, then vectors enroute back to U Tapao where we landed at 14:18.
Something was going on, as there were L39s, O-2s (Cessna 337), F5s, and F16s in abundance at U Tapao
I spent two nights at the Wave
Across the Beach Road
there were prostitutes every few paces... I wonder that
they have enough business, certainly not from me.
Since I was departing the next day back to Chiang Mai I moved hotels to the cheaper, considerably cheaper, quieter, Royal Phala Cliff Beach Resort and Spa in Ban Chang just a few minutes drive from U Tapao.
25th November. Solo flying back to San Kamphaeng - Nok VTCY
U Tapao to Nok 25th November
to be a long solo flight.
As I filed
a flight plan in the navy office I realised I was going
to become hungry on the flight back...
I flight planned via Khanong Phra in Khao Yai, a route that would take me well to the east of Bangkok's and Takhlis controlled airspaces, then up over Phitsanulok on a straight line to Nok.
Takeoff was at 11:35 with U
Tapao instructing me to fly outbound on the 030 degree radial to
avoid the parachuting at Nong Khor.
At 11:51 I was handed over to Oscar military who gave me traffic advisories, and then asked me if I had visual contact with terrain as I approached the mountains... There was a rainstorm on my track so I deviated to the east and asked for a climb to 4,500 feet (12:25).
North of Khao Yai Oscar asked me to call Focal on the same frequency... Thai military use 127.0 and most of the time they have you on radar.
At 13:10 I requested 6,500 feet with 65 NM to go to Phitsanulok, then back down to 4,500 feet while talking to Phitsanulok approach with 35 NM to run (13:25).
I was handed off to Lampang when 40 NM outbound from Phitsanulok, but the terrain means that you do not get them until you are within 30 NM or so as there are mountain ridges between radio stations. These ridges were easily traversed, and I was asked to pass the 225 degree radial from Lampang at 15 NM due to traffic. This was a deviation to the left of track.
I landed at Nok at 14:43 after 3 hours 8 minutes in the air, and phoned Chiang Mai Tower to report my landing time (closing the flight plan).
Wind turbines in the distance
Besides the highway from Lampang to Chiang Mai
To Chiang Rai 26th November 2016
Gerry wanted to
take the aeroplane to Chiang Rai the next day.
This is a scenic flight but we missed the White Temple on the way while the autopilot was explored.
The flight only took 48 minutes including a deviation and a hold for inbound airline traffic.
I've been very good,
checking NOTAMs before my cross country flights... Yesterday we
filed to go to Mae Hong Son with the intent to night stop there,
but it was not meant to be.
Operations at Chiang Rai phoned me in the morning as the rain was falling, (and I'm thinking of going nowhere in an aeroplane), to ask if I would be leaving soon as the Prime Minister was due in the next day.
VIP flights are a big deal here in Thailand, they are much bigger events than when the Queen of England flies... So when the weather turned good we were happy to oblige and filed a flight plan out of Chiang Rai.
Enroute to Mae Hong Son ATC suddenly asked if we intended to stay overnight... We did.
It turned out that there was a VIP flight due there the next day as well so we agreed to land, pay the fee, and flight plan to go elsewhere.
The favourite would be Mae Sariang, but this was closed as it was being used by military helicopters in support of the VIP flight.
We could go to Pai, but I thought we might be stuck with closed airspace with the VIP activity, and so we decided to fly back to Nok.
There was no NOTAM issued to the effect that there would be a VIP flight the next day otherwise I wouldn't have ventured there.
We landed at 16:18... A
soldier told us we couldn't park there, but we assured him that
we would be a few minutes, go into the terminal, pay the fee,
while I phone Chiang Mai and file another flight plan.
We took off again at 16:56, and landed at Nok at 17:45 whereupon I phoned Chiang Mai Tower to give them our landing time.
We had coffee at the Cat 'n A Cup Cafe in Chiang Rai
Living in Chiang Mai
The first week of
this month was without any flying at all.
It has been a year since I met NaRuk and so I invited her to Chiang Mai, bought her a ticket on Bangkok Airways, and took her to the Narittaya Resort for the weekend.
Krisdadoi Gardens are now open, free entry at the moment
There's food at two restaurants there now. We had cheesecake in the garden
Another resort has a 2-6-0 steam engine as a feature on the Samoeng Road
It was a good weekend, driving around in the little car.
NaRuk wanted Kao Soy, and we found it at the Riverside
Bar and Restaurant.
Mae Hong Son
Gerry invited me along for a flight to Mae Hong Son.
is normally aimed to the north of Mae Hong Son to descend
in the valley to arrive on a slant base for the runway.
landing and paying the landing fee we walked to the pond
in the town and I said hello to the lady at Piya Guest
house who is always pleased to see me.
The Virus is a fast
and efficient aeroplane for the cruise, but it's low wing
loading means that you feel every bump.
Mae Hong Son
Looking down Sun
So far this year the air
has been clear as the ground has been wet, but as it dries the
pyromaniac farmers are once again busy burning their stubble and
dead leaves to fill the blue sky with cancerous deadly smoke.
So I can not in good conscience recommend travelling to Chiang Mai for Christmas, and not until May at the earliest. They can not burn so much when the rains come, so rainy season is the best time, and a couple of weeks afterwards.
I myself have to consider moving south to the coast where the air quality is a little better.
I suffered badly ten years ago when I was in China. The pollution caused me to be very ill in June of 2006, and at that point I handed my resignation in to the flight school as my life would be short if I stayed there.
Now here it is the same. The smoke and pollution will kill me!
On arrival at Nok we had to wait until the Cirrus was moved off the runway
As I may be
travelling to Australia I have begun the long process of
validating my pilot's licence there.
The only signatory country of the 7th December 1945 ICAO conference that agreed that signatory country's licences would be recognised that actually goes with this is Britain. Most other countries, since they all invented aviation and know best, have various validation processes, and so far Australia appears to be the worst.
You begin by obtaining an ARN, Aviation Reference Number, from CASA, applied for online, and received within 24 hours. This is the number you use to identify your file.
Next, with this
number you have to apply for ASIC from Aviation id Australia with
a fee of $235 AUS. This is an aviation security check with a card
to be issued, valid for two years. They will check your criminal
background, whether you are a terrorist or not, and if you've
been good you might be allowed to fly in Australia.
I am told this process will take six weeks.
First you apply online, and then you print the pdf application and send it with copies of your Passport and Aviation documents (licence), and two recent photographs back to their address in Australia.
This was sufficiently important that I went to my favourite printers at Airport Plaza, put the package together, and sent it by Thai Post, EMS on Saturday morning.
Monday was a holiday here in Thailand so it was essential I do it then.
Finally I will
have to make an application to CASA for a licence validation...
All documents have to be notorised and there's a cost for this,
or you can go to an Australian Embassy or Consulate and have them
signed off there.
The issuing authority (Transport Canada/CAA/FAA/CAAC) will have to confirm that you are a pilot in good standing. I know that TC are not too fond of doing this, and the CAA have a fee for doing it.
The Australian process is the most involved one so far, so we'll see if it is possible and how long and costly it really is.
Flying to Tantawan
I'm late... On
time for 14:00, but the engine needs starting 10 minutes
before departure to warm up.
were airborne, only five minutes late on the flight plan
at 14:05 and heading for Tak, and then down to Tantawan.
We routed over Tak and then west of Takhli before turning to approach Tantawan from the west.
We landed at 16:23
after 2 hours 18 minutes.
Tantawan is a
mainly Thai airfield with just a few farangs like us who
evenings the flyers have a dinner at the airfield with a
few beers, or stronger, or water if you like.
There is accommodation on the airfield; my room cost 300 Baht with outside loo and shower... Gerry had the upmarket room with ensuite shower and toilet for 500 Baht a night.
Two parallel grass strips, hangars, and aircraft factory
On Sunday morning
the wake up call was by Zenair 701s taking off for early morning
bimbles around the field.
Here, most of the aeroplanes are "U" registered, Ultralights, and they do not fly very far from their home base.
Permits to fly cross country must be applied for.
There's a form of ATC with a controller using an ICOM handheld. Flight Plans are mandatory in Thailand, and here this is simplified with a blanket flight plan for aeroplanes from Tantawan to fly in the local area during VFR daylight hours.
It is easy in the spirit of flying for fun.
But still, they need the five year permits, CxA renewals, and pilot licensing, and these documents take time to renew, and so there are many aeroplanes grounded for months while they await the paperwork.
We were invited to
breakfast at Reggie's hangar/weekend cottage (with the red roof)
as Tum his wife produced fried eggs, sausages, toast, coffee and
Then we were driven to the local town, Phra Putabat, to pick up petrol for the Virus, and to catch the minivan to Mo Chit in Bangkok.
There was a
minivan waiting, and it was soon filled with Gerry and I crammed
on the back seat for the 2 hour 30 minute, 120 Baht ride.
If I had been quick I could have got off at Don Mueang Airport on the way... But I could not confirm the possibility of a meeting there and so stayed on to Chatuchak - Mo Chit BTS station.
It was only three stops on the skytrain (31 Baht) to Victory Monument, and then a short walk to the Victory Executive Residences hotel where it's my habit to stay when I'm in Bangkok these days. It's very convenient for NaRuk who works nearby. 1,400 Baht including breakfast, swimming pool, and rooftop view.
I'm reminded of the $45 taxi ride from St Andrews into Winnipeg, and the hotel cost per night there...
After work NaRuk
took me to Central Plaza for Japanese food followed by a very
naughty pudding at After You desert café.
After You is so popular you have to get a number and wait for a table... We had time to walk around before our number 169 was close... Some people don't turn up and so the next number is called, don't lose your place!
Monday was a
holiday, but NaRuk came for breakfast at the hotel and took me to
Don Mueang for my meeting... Some aviation business, but nothing
to get excited about yet.
I took the A1 bus from the Terminal to start my journey back to the hotel, 30 Baht to Mo Chit, and then 31 Baht to Victory.
It is cheap and efficient travelling in Bangkok where there is excellent infrastructure. Unlike Vancouver they anticipate here... There's a new high speed rail link being constructed to Don Mueang which is developing once again as a major airport hub after the construction of Suvarnabhumi Airport! The highway system is also being upgraded, and they are not slow.
Bangkok is definately 21st century, 1st world, and Vancouver has a long way to go to be able to call itself a world class city without telling a lie.
In the evening I went for dindins with NaRuk again at the nearby Baan - Ajarn Pub/Restaurant. It was good food.
Tuesday morning I met Gerry
on the platform at Victory Monument BTS (Skytrain) station at
We were to reverse our trip back to Phra Phutabat but with a little complication...
Mo Chit bus station is a long way from Mo Chit BTS station and so we took a taxi and this cost 67 Baht.
The minibus fare was 102 Baht each, and we left within minutes of arriving at the bus station.
The ride back took longer, around 2 hours 45 minutes, as the minibus made several stops to pick up and drop off passengers on the way.
At Phutabat there were two sorng taews waiting for any passengers like us. The driver who took us knew where the airfield was and Gerry asked to go via a 7-Eleven but somehow this was lost in translation... We were driven to the airfield, 100 Baht.
I still do not understand the
term "Microlight" or "Ultralight" as
many aeroplanes in this category look like light
aircraft, fly like light aircraft, and often out perform
their equivalent light aircraft.
A couple of simple Whittaker microlights here were formerly on the British register.
Back to Chiang Mai
The fifty litres
of fuel was added to the Virus, and some food was added to the
crew for a flight plan back to Nok, VTCY.
Takeoff was at 14:12 and Khok Kathiam was contacted shortly afterwards...
We transited the zone and entered the Takhli military training area... Takhli routed us well to the west of their field before we were told to continue our own navigation.
The whole flight was flown at 2,500 feet on the QNH until west of Lampang where we had to climb to cross the mountains.
Landing at Nok was at 16:41.
Lopburi has two circles like this
Limestone outcrops over the fields
I was showing some people pictures of the lock at Weybridge, but they have them in Thailand too
Same idea as the reservoir near Sukhotai
In the circuit to land on 16 at Nok
It's a shame, but for the foreseeable future I have nothing to fly.
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