Getting behind on the updates now. The past few days have been long except for the Rayong – Kuala Lupur leg but then I enjoyed my rest (whatever was left after planning).
Anyway, this day took me from Dhaka early in the morning. They told me to come to ‘Terminal 2, gate 6’ the day before but I didn’t really find that straight away. I know what those 2 things are, obviously, but even so I wasn’t too sure where he meant and I din’t see him anywhere.
I got someone to call him and after standing around for 10 minutes he showed up. This is how delays start…
Luckily the process of getting the stamp and going to the plane was quite straight forward so we were there within 15 minutes. I had hoped they planned ahead and the fuel would be waiting, but it wasn’t, and I immediately regretted not refueling the day before.
After some time they showed up and we could finally begin. Until I tried to open the barrel, since they weren’t really engaging. Turns out they didn’t bring the tool to open a barrel. I don’t carry one myself because I assume that people who sell barrels can also open them.
Anyway, they had to drive all the way to the fuel farm again to fetch it. That took another 20 minutes and by this time I was nearly an hour late.
The problem with that was, like I said before (I think), Thailand only accepts me when I fly during the day (even IFR), and I wanted to get 6 hours of flying time to Rayong. If I leave here late and I can’t make it to Rayong, I have to fly from Chiang Mai (after landing) to VTCT because they don’t allow me to park overnight there. So enough to worry about.
They don’t have a pump in Dhaka so after they arrived and we finally opened the drum, we had to use my little plastic Chinese hand pump to get the fuel in. Needless to say, that took a while. As if things weren’t going slow enough, the tube from the pump that goes into the barrel suddenly fell off. Some dudes left to search for another hose we could connect to it. However I didn’t feel like waiting another 30 minutes and just tilted the barrel a bit and fished for the darn thing until I got it out. For the left tank we used a bucket and funnel to refuel once the barrel was light enough to handle.
After 1 hour and 15 minutes delay I was once again happy to be rolling towards the runway.
Pretty soon after takeoff, I broke the inversion and left most of the moisture and pollution below me, heading southeast into Myanmar.
Because the Thai CAA feared for my safety, I had to make a detour south along the coast to avoid a mountain range there (weirdly enough in Myanmar), and then directly east towards Chiang Mai for my thirsty Bonanza, and self.
The weather was much more clear from Myanmar onwards, a nice change from the constant haze and smog that started in Karachi. The downside is that with every degree southwards, the sun got stronger and stronger. I haden’t really required the air con until now. Lucky I even had one. I remember all the liters of sweat I felt running along my back and legs in Africa. A lot of 210’s in Namibia probably still have my sweat stain 😛
Fortunately I was granted a small shortcut, heading east a bit earlier than planned. A bit inland as I approached the Thai border, a bit of towering cumulus started. Nothing to really write about, just natures’ gift to keep me awake (with turbulence).
Approaching Chiang Mai under vectoring was a breeze and I ended up doing a visual. I didn’t really know what to expect but the airport was very modern. To my surprise they even parked me right at the end of a runway parallel taxiway. I could just start up and practically be on the holding point already 🙂
Except for me not taking my passport with me so us having to drive back to the plane again to get it, things went very smooth again. Inside the terminal I felt like I was back in civilization. They even had a Starbucks so I didn’t pass up the chance to get a choc chip doughnut!
This airport also has an AVGAS fuel truck, a nice change from barrels and hand pumps.
Before I knew it I was already on the road again. Weather seemed to have settled down so I could just read my book as the autopilot did it’s job, just having to switch tanks and check the gauges every now and then.
From the dry land of India I was now over wet rice fields in central Thailand as I approached Bangkok. There didn’t seem to be much else below. Then again, Belgium also looks the same in 80% of the country.
The sun was settling for the night slowly when the city of millions appeared in front of me, with some very photogenic clouds around. Oh yes, and jets flying left and right.
Soon after passing Bangkok it was time to start the descent, togheter with the sun. I felt accomplished during the smooth ILS approach in the Rayong sunset. This time I fuelled the plane before heading out. They had very cute 50L barrels of AVGAS (and lucky for me an electric pump) that you can easily carry in the cabin, so I decided to buy 2. Fuel in Malaysia was going to be a problem. Up to that point I wasn’t aware of AVGAS in any place on the island. A problem yet to be tackled. It turned out the barrels were very cheap too, 1.5 USD/litre including the barrel!
Here we didn’t even have to pass security. I could have had a bag full of AK47’s and no one would notice. Hmmm, maybe I shouldn’t advertise.
After settling in the room and a shower it was already late again. No time to go out and explore the beach resort but instead go to the restaurant, send and check the planning and go to bed. No time for blogging 😛