After a short test flight in marginal VFR with an Iraq style bad weather circuit, an ILS approach in shitty weather in Dresden and a nice night flight from Arad with a textbook approach over nightly Ankara, safely in my hotel bed, ready for the Turkey project.
Wish me blue skies and glitch free equipment!



1976 Piper Chieftain PA31-350


Total time


Right Engine

Type: LTIO-540-J2BD

TSMOH: 1903 (2160 TBO)
Serial No.: L-2040-68A

Left Engine

Type: LTIO-540-J2BD

TSMOH: 988 (2160 TBO)
Serial No.: L-8078-61A

Type: Hartzell HC-E3YR-2A

Right: 147
Left: 147


Garmin GNS430

Garmin GTX330D Transponder
Garmin GMA430 Audio
Bendix/King KX-165A COM 2/NAV 2

Bendix/King KR-87 ADF

Bendix/King KN-64 DME

Century Flight Systems Type 41 Digital Autopilot

Fuelscan 450M Fuel Computer

Kannad 406AF ELT
Encoding altimeter


2008 White & Green paint
Good condition 8.5/10


Dual floor hatches:
Front: 50x50x21cm (round)

Rear: 57x51x21cm (square)

3 x integrated Bose ANR plugs


Nayak auxiliary nacelle tanks 2 x 27USG

BLR vortex generators – MTOW 7368 lbs

Full De-Ice

Electric trim

Avionics master

OY-CKR data sheet.pdf

If anything

My experience with RW showed me that I really have to post more on my blog. If I don’t, the website that he made and posts multiple fake reactions with WordPress accounts he made up on, gets a higher ranking than my own!

Since January I have really ignored him completely and that will be what I will do from now on.

If anyone at all is reading this, haha, please just leave a small comment below so this blog gets boosted above. Even if it’s just a dot.

One of the reasons that I haven’t posted much is ironically the reason why his fake website is on top, to not put everything online publicly. What I didn’t want to do is put random articles about aviation because there is enough of that already.
I will try to make some posts about my career which is progressing at a nice rate, but I might be vague about who I work for or what registration the plane is for the privacy of my clients.

Thanks all for your trust and cooperation. Anyone who knows me doesn’t have a doubt that the first search result is a page full of digested food.

Let’s get cracking!

Back in the saddle, FAA licensed!

A month ago I found myself travelling halfway across the world again. This time just sitting in the back for way too long on the way from Europe to sunny California.
I picked a school in Yuba City. Not a very interesting place compared to what’s close by but I was there for my FAA license and not to go sightseeing.

The first day I went to a fingerprint collector in Sacramento because that process takes a while and you need them cleared before commencing training. The guy told me, to my surprise, that it could take up to 7 days. Normally it’s more like 3 but there were a few holidays that week and they were generally busy as the aviation sector is picking up again.

On the second day I was here I went for my FAA CPL written. Not really that difficult if you prepare a bit by learning the National Airspace System and reviewing the basics. Of course my question app helped a lot after doing all the questions in study mode, which doesn’t just show you the answer but also explains it briefly.
After a week of study and waiting for my TSA clearance to come through, I finally got my first flight done. The Duchess there could be in a better state but the engines sounded OK and she flies really well. The counter rotating props make it a stable plane and she is very light on the controls. During my training we had to swap the GPS back and forth between planes which is kind of funny but oh well, not a big issue.

The guys here in Yuba City are really nice. Chances had it that 3 fellow Belgians are here at the same time, albeit for other reasons (initial CFI).
It’s a really constructive exercise when you put pilots with various backgrounds and different goals together. I learned a lot about the FAA regulations just listening to their briefings, chiming in the conversations and asking questions.

The second week wasn’t really productive but things happened fast in the last week. Unfortunately, due to some scheduling changes and me having to do 2 instead of one checkride, I had to buy another airline ticket set for a few days later.

My first checkride was the initial CPL ME. I was obviously nervous but both the ground portion and practical test went really well. Once again I got complements on my SRM and flying style so that was a real boost for my confidence.

However on the IR addon checkride 2 days later I got confused on the VOR approach. I was mentally set up to do one holding pattern and go for the approach. However just before the beacon the examiner said “Just do a procedure turn”. I wasn’t really sure what he meant and I was thinking to go outbound and do a 45/180. I guess that would have worked out but then I initiated the turn to the right instead of left. Darn.
Then after passing the VOR inbound I descended a bit too slow and I was too high on the MAPt, but I guess that’s not really wrong, just a waste of fuel 😛

My second mistake was the dumbest one. After doing a nice ILS and established on the back course heading out after the missed approach, I briefed a parallel entry into the hold, as I should. However, on reaching the fix I immediately turned right instead of flying out for 1 minute. No idea why I did that after briefing and preparing for what I should have done but, it was a bust. He obviously disapproved.

The feeling when you get back is horrible. You know perfectly what you did wrong and what you should have done, yet you didn’t. You feel so stupid and frustrated.
It took a while and couple of beers to accept reality. Luckily I was able to schedule a recheck with another examiner in Chico the day before I left. Again the pressure was on.

However this time, all went well and again the examiner complimented me on the same things. We didnt have GPS and only 1 non-slaved VOR to do all the approaches but they worked out very nice.

And that was that I had my FAA CPL ME IR!! I’m so happy! Finally I can fly twins again and this license is so much cheaper and easier to keep current! Opportunities arise but I had a job waiting for me anyway.

3 days later and completely ridden of my stress from the last 3 weeks I was on an A330 again heading to Dubai.

After landing in Dubai around midnight and dead tired I drove straight to Abu Dhabi and crashed. The next day brought the first flight in the Cessna 401, without any survey done however, and a day later a flight in the AC690.

Progress is slow as we are having massive thunderstorms, very unusual for the region. Hopefully by Friday we will be back in the sky taking pictures of this ever changing landscape as they build like madmen around me.

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One last push

I slept well and woke up in time to a nice blue sky. A thunderstorm had just passed Kota Kinabalu and left the streets clean and shiny.

While the handler was taking my flightplan to the briefing office (nice service), I did my preflight inspection. All ready to go, he met me at the plane just to tell me ATC was still waiting on the Philipines to give me the OK to cross the border.
30 minutes and a few ATR departures and arrivals later, I was all good to go. Taxi and departure were done without any delays this time and I was soon cruising to my intermediate stop of Puerto Princesa. Technically an unnecessary stop but I was told by the client customs wanted to inspect the plane there.

Shortly after taking off the 4095m high Mount Kinabalu quickly dominated the view, towering above me. It’s located right in the Kinabalu (world heritage) national park.


2 Islands later I entered the country containing my destination. But not before I did one more takeoff in this fine lady. One green lush island with stunning white beaches followed the other.


Nice beach there on the other side!

I could swear I was looking at heaven (at least for a while) when passing a  small banana shaped island with a white sandy beach in the hollow and lush forest on the other side. A morning swim was almost worth a ditching but I opted against it in the end 🙂


The flight was only 2 hrs and 30 minutes. Soon after passing the first mountain range in Palawan I started a slow descent to come down lean and fast. There is not that much traffic so I was able to fly straight to a left hand base. I made it nice and short still buzzing along at 150 knots a few miles from the field. Throwing out the gear and first stage of flaps is like a parking brake and as I turned short final I selected full flaps. 2 minutes later I was on my parking stand on the north end of the apron.

I calculated I could reach Manila without refuel but alas the ordered, but still sealed, barrel of fuel could not be refunded. So we filled her up under the cool shade of my multi-functional umbrella and put the rest in the empty barrels I was carrying. Surely the client will be able to use it later on a remote island somewhere.

Just as I wanted to depart again the tower was unable to give me clearance and asked me to call her. Turns out that Manila does not accept IFR flights below 180 knots (I’m flying about 135 KIAS). VFR traffic is only allowed in during 2 time slots per day, one in the morning and one in the late afternoon. The next one was at 4 PM and it was now almost noon. The flight there is 2 hours so I decided on brakes release at 1:45 PM.
I went to wait in the VIP area but I was chased out after an hour due to some statesman passing through later.
Half an hour of a boring wait later I gladly went to sit under my greenhouse windshield to depart again. It was getting really hot outside already but the Bonanza didn’t really seem to bother much.

For the very last time I heard the engine roar to full power again, right on time. The scenery was pretty much the same and so was the weather. The line of convective weather was left behind me somewhere in the south and nothing seemed to initiate in my vicinity.


Strange isolated line of clouds











On the way I had some trouble receiving the approach frequencies around me because of my low altitude. In this case I usually make some blind transmissions every 15 minutes or so.
When flying in area’s like this (limited coverage) it’s always a good idea to ask for your next frequency before you leave the range of your last station. Alternate between blind transmissions on both frequencies until the next frequency is able to pick you up. If you hear another aircraft, note the call sign and try to get it to relay a position report for you (and return the favor when someone asks you).

Manila approach picked me up quite early and for about 45 minutes I got to listen to what seemed to be a very busy airspace. I was guided down in steps and about 30 NM out I was order to do a 360, one of many to come it turned out. After completion I was cleared down to ‘traffic altitude’. I had no idea what that was and I tried to ask but either he didn’t hear me (3 times) or he was too busy to be bothered with small traffic. Logic defines that altitude to be circuit altitude so I just descended to 1000ft and was soon very close to the airport when approach told me to ‘switch to tower for monitoring’. Monitoring? I called tower and again I didn’t receive any clear instruction on what to do, what runway to land, what sequence I had or where the other traffic was. Now I was really close to the airport and I can’t press ‘pause’ like in flight sim, so I opted to start doing 360 on a right base position for the main runway. One airliner after another landed as I was circling and circling. I tried to get an EAT (expected approach time) like a boss, but she just told me (and other traffic) to keep holding. Indefinitely, I suppose.
about 20 minutes later I was suddenly cleared to ‘cross the runway’ so I guess I was going to land on the small runway. I flew over the threshold of the main runway onto downwind for the small one and was told to ‘hold’ there once more. 2 orbits later I could proceed to base and hold there. Wow, this is quite a non-standard circuit 😛
After one hold I was cleared to land and told to expedite. I came in fast and low, slowing down right at the end and stopping very short to vacate.

Up to now I thought I was going to the south of the airport (as was agreed) so I turned right per instructions until I came face to face with an A320. Ground told me to hold as they coordinated with Philjets. Soon after I was told to turn right again and taxi back to where I came from only to find myself in a line of 5 aircraft. I felt like a big boy holding to takeoff at New York. It took about another 20 minutes to cross the runway and finally taxi through the ‘delta gate’ into a narrow taxiway (more like a street). On every corner there was a marshaller. 3 guys later I reached my final destination, the Philjets hangar. The prop wound down and the gyros slowly came to rest. Here I am.

It’s over.

They put the plane inside and I removed everything I could find from the interior. All the documents were handed over and I reported the small snags.
After collecting and packing all my stuff it was time to say goodbye and go to the hotel.



I spent the night with the agent I ended up organizing most of the trip with and who was my direct contact. We went to a french bar where they served, to my surprise, many Belgian beers including my favorite (Omer!).
The next day we also spent together to figure out all the receipts and do the final inspection. I booked my ticket home for the next afternoon.

Before I realized it was in a huge 777 reflecting back on this epic trip. Not many people get to do this and even though I had my troubles I was given the opportunity. More on that in my next post.

The Bonanza and especially the magnificent IO-550, the best piston in the world, took me 14250 km crossing 3 continents in roughly 60 hours. At this point I had more than enough time in single pistons but a trip like this I could do a few times a year and still enjoy it. There is something about flying you cannot capture with words. This trip made the world seem very small and even though I did not get to spend much time on the ground I did see some amazing things. Never forget that people around the world, be it in Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India or any other country, all want the same. To be happy, to be safe and to help his fellow man. In 2016 try to remember the good in people and be positive. Chase your dream and treat other as you want to be treated, and good things will come to you.

I hoped you enjoyed this trip report and I look forward to writing many more. When I get back from the UAE I will process my videos and post them one at a time. Be sure to check in every now and then.

Thank you for reading and see you all on the next one!