Sunday, 15 April 2012

The Big Picture 2 Downtown KL April 14th 2012

The Big KL at 1500 Feet..

Andreas makes the radio calls as I advance the throttle - "its runway 15 and taxi to hold Foxtrot", are the instructions from air traffic. Passing the executive jet and taxiing around the Airbus 400, carefully following the taxi line out of the pan onto the airfield.Its a long runway as we sit at the hold. If 33 was in use then its quite a considerable distance down to that holding point.Power checks - RPM 1700, mags etc and the controls. Reminds me of a training flight where I didn't check the controls properly. The instructor showed how it should be done and that was the end of that flight - the controls locked, wouldn't budge. No such problem this time and with everything in order take-off clearance is obtained. Its a crosswind, but not much of it, about 7 knots, still have to put aileron into wind says Andreas as I advance to full power. Off we go then, rolling down the same runway jumbo jets used just a few years ago. "Left turn to 1500 feet, contact departure", says air traffic. Andreas gets permission to operate over the city for the next 30 minutes, and makes me fly East. It's hazy, but still a reasonable viability, enough for our purpose anyway, not to bumpy either which is surprising given the tropical climate and a nearby thunderstorm. Already I can see the Petronas Towers and the  KL tower, the two most famous landmarks in Malaysia. "Have to maintain 1500 feet and not get too close, certainly resist the temptation to fly between the towers", says Andreas jokingly. And its an amazing sight, a sight to behold actually as Kuala Lumpur passes below. Adam is with the camera  snapping merrily away for me, as I concentrate on the flying, occasionally dipping one wing, then the other to get the best view.

"Now lets go and see a cave", says Andreas and he tells air traffic our intentions. The Batu Caves are inside a limestone hill and have been made into a temple for Hindu worshippers. Its easy to spot, being the only major hill in the city area and a golden statue gives us a point to head for. Spotting a little cave entrance from 1500 feet isn't easy - and I didn't.see anything at all. Back over the city centre for one more look, again resisting the urge to swoop down between the skyscrapers. Back to the airport then as the sky darkens and it begins to rain,.not much though, its not a storm. A slightly different runway approach than what I've been used to in England .Its high and converging rather than a rectangular pattern, Something I'm not comfortable with so Andreas helps, just a little bit! too high, too fast as the plane floats on, and on, oh well. Down in one piece and able to walk away so that has to be good. Taxiing back to the parking spot, again avoiding the Airbus and a few private jets. Andreas kindly offers to drop me back into town, at the towers, this time for the ground up view.

An amazing experience - flying myself over the big KL getting a birds eye view of those famous landmarks.

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