Life in Thailand

My time since arriving in Chiang Mai has been taken up with the house in Doi Saket, driving around stores looking at tiles and furnishings.
You can get everything you need here with many large stores selling good quality household items.
The house is being let for a further 8 months and so there's no immediate need, but it is best to know what is available and to plan for next September.
Meanwhile I am completely at home in my little room in Nonghoi, 3,500 Baht a month plus electricity and water, and nice and warm whilst missing the cold spell in England and the rain in Vancouver.

Daren had not been to Chiang Mai Air Sports field and so we took a drive out there.
The microlight operation has a couple of Quicksilver aircraft with which they fly tourists early in the morning and late in the afternoon when the air is less bumpy.
We were a bit late for them but a private owner kindly took Daren's son for a quick flight in his microlight. This was much appreciated and was within the spirit of what we do.

Forced Landing Practice


A few years ago, pre-Covid, I went flying with my former PPL student Ed in his Malibu JetProp to practice some upper airwork, (steep turns, stalls, slow flight etc), and to do a couple of VFR style Practice Forced Landings.
Last month Ed asked me if we could repeat the forced landing practice, and of course I'm always ready to help.
I was enlisted to make the radio calls on this trip, and this included explaining what we wanted to do, to the air traffic controllers. Here in Thailand ATC can be very accommodating providing you are clear in your requests and so negotiating a power off approach from the top of descent (TOD) was not a problem.
This time the idea was to practice a forced landing from the TOD which was Flight Level 150 (15,000 feet on the QNE).
At 90 KIAS in the glide the JetProp loses around 600 feet per minute (fpm), and so it is easy to plot required heights flying close to the Standard Arrival Routing (STAR) to the Final Approach Fix (FAF) and thence to the runway, adding a few hundred feet at each position for comfort.
The engine was reduced to idle, and the propeller feathered to reduce drag. It's neat that you can keep a PT6 engine running while the propeller is all but stopped rotating.
On the way down, with so much height to lose, we experimented with both 90 KIAS and 100 KIAS glide speeds. At 100 knots the VSI indicated just over 600 fpm,and at 90knots it was just under 600 fpm. Timing from 9,000 feet to 6,700 feet took 3 minutes and 42 seconds or 622 feet per minute at 100 Knots Indicated Airspeed. My timing at 90 knots was not as accurate, (I neglected to use the timer on the transponder). I'd need to do this exercise again.
The FAF is 6.2 NM (4 minutes) from the runway threshold and we needed at least 2,500 feet to hope to reach the runway at this point, we passed it at a comfortable 3,300 feet, whereupon the gear was selected down, followed by flap in stages to land on the runway at a comfortable distance from the beginning.
There is a procedure turn from our approach to get to the FAF and we passed it's start point with enough altitude to fly out and then around a shortened turn to reach our target altitude at the FAF, in this we try flying out a third of the excess height, and then turn in (another third) to reach the FAF at the completion of the last third of the procedure turn. The bank angle can be varied to steepen or make a more shallow turn as we estimate our height loss.
Ed was very pleased. It is an easy exercise to plan a descent to a runway in a power off glide by working backwards beginning at the FAF and back along the arrival procedure with target altitudes at each point.

With the runway 'made' the engine was spooled up and the propeller unfeathered for a go around... It is very very important that you apply Power, Control The Aeroplane, Gear Up, and take the Flaps Up In Stages as a rate of climb is achieved. That sinking feeling is to be avoided.
We went around and climbed to 3,500 feet to do a second Practice Forced Landing from the downwind. The JetProp manual recommends the circling High Key - Low Key method, and this we did... The final approach was slightly different to my ideal: gear down on final, runway easily made, but apply the flaps in stages, observe the Point Of Zero Movement, (ideally the aiming point on the runway), and apply the flaps as necessary to arrive comfortably into the runway. Dumping the flaps full down and worrying the approach lights is not ideal. It was okay, but needs some more practice.
When we do these exercises we expect a few errors, and this is not a bad thing, as it is important to know how you correct or cope with them.

Refueling, and lunch was carried out at Phitsanulok, and I paid the landing fee, 170 Baht (3.85p).
We flew back to Nok at FL160, and tried another PFL from 8,000 feet in the descent. For an easier spool up 150 pounds torque was selected to simulate zero thrust and the propeller was not feathered this time. We do it differently when we do not have the luxury of a very long runway.

Of course this is the time of the year for the Yi Peng lantern festival, and the Loy Krathong festival where you float your hopes and troubles down the river on little rafts containing flowers, a candle, and burning incense.
There are parades, fireworks, and lantern hot air balloons.
This year more people complied with the ban on launching these hot air balloons in the city, they are a hazard to aircraft flying in and out of Chiang Mai Airport.
This year one 'illegal' hot air balloon set a city market building on fire.
On the ground there were fireworks, and one particular group of Russian teenagers were launching rockets low across the river at passing boats and at people on the iron bridge... Immature people with fireworks, beware!
Doi Saket is outside of the banned zone and so there were hundreds of these lantern balloons launched from there as we celebrated Yi Peng.
There was Thai dancing, and a couple of beauty contests... One was for young men from university, and one was for very beautiful
lady boys. A girl from Australia could not believe it when I told her they were born as boys.
For Loy Krathong night we took a TukTuk into Chiang Mai where there was a parade.
I left the car because I expected huge traffic kaos, but this year they had closed and pedestrianised roads and it was a lot better. The TukTuk in and out was still a good idea.


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Every year at around this time Fernando organises a Northern Tour departing from Bang Phra in Chonburi and flying to airfields up here in the north.
Usually four or five aeroplanes start the tour and these are joined along the route by other private owners who are along for a few legs of the trip.
Fernando has hotel connections everywhere and so ovenight accommodation is organised. It's a brilliant annual social event.
If your aeroplane has a Rotax engine, or in the case of Fernando's DA42, diesel engines, then fuel is easy enough to get anywhere.
If you fly using Avgas 100LL it becomes a little difficult as there are too few airports with this available.
And so it was we had two aeroplanes drop by Nok to replenish their tanks with 100LL from 200 Litre drums.

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After a delay due to my medical not having been processed (authorities are short staffed these days), CAAT are issuing me with a Validation of my Transport Canada Licence (hopefully this will be valid for a year from my medical check (to 1st July 2024).
'Trouble is that you need a validation for each club you wish to fly at, and each validation costs 2,000 Baht. The club for which my current validation applies does not have any aircraft for rent, and so I am hoping to get another validation on the back of the first one for a club that has.

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