Sunday, 15 April 2012

The Big Picture Downtown KL April 14th 2012

KL the big picture from 1500 feet

Thwarted by bad weather in Thailand I'm quite optimistic that today's attempt at some aviation will proceed as planned. I sent an email to the flying club at Subang airport about 4 weeks ago making arrangements for some dual flying. That was acknowledged and all was set, I just had to find away of getting there on public transport.  It's cloudy, but bright with reasonable visibility, a little hazy perhaps but that shouldn't be a problem, so long as I stay out of KLIA territory.

There are at least 3 bus area's around Chinatown, but finding the right one, that has buses in the required direction is something of a challenge. U81 is the bus number I need but noone has much of a clue. The best I could get was a finger pointing official, so I followed that finger! Towards the Central Market, although there isn't actually any market going on, and one street away from the Pasar Seni transit station. U81 is there ready to roll.  2.4 RM, air conditioning and comfy seats with TV screens. North towards Subang and it's mostly on motorways, very little traffic too, once away from Chinatown, which is just 5 minutes into the journey.  All seems very well organised - big roads of modern construction, with the odd hint of Britishness every so often, a far cry from M25 chaos!

Just 35 minutes and the bus pulls up just before the terminal building. The 'Skypark' it's called, the old international terminal 1 that now houses a couple of airlines offering a limited service using small aircraft. Subang used to be the KLIA until it all become to small. So now the Modern KLIA is more of a mega-city, an hour away, somewhere on the outskirts of town.

It's a nice enough place, quite modern with plenty of coffee, food, shopping and a handful of airline counters. No sign of a flying club though, thought they would at least have an office or a desk even. There's a sign to the viewing gallery, perhaps I might spot something from there. Not a lot to see with hangars obscuring views across the airport. Maybe there place is outside, better take a look before I give up. There is a guard booth next to the terminal, where the general aviation pan is. Ask there, perhaps they have an idea, and they do.  A tall chap comes bounding over and after a brief round of introductions, I can fly at about 1.30, with briefing inside the terminal, at the coffee shop!

Looks rather thundery out there, and no sooner had I thought it and the best lightening show for a while ensues. Not a big storm though, it's soon over thankfully and I can relax a bit with my Starbucks. Andreas, the instructor, the owner and everything else that a flying club needs to function, comes and finds me. All set to go, the storms are off the coast for now so we can fly around the city, no problem! I sign the passenger manifest, give my passport number and off through security, the full procedure since we are going airside at an international airport, yes there are flights coming here from across the globe, mostly private though. Adam, a PPL student is coming along fro the ride. He is Andreas's newest student and wants to learn from others mistakes! That's ok, after all that's the way I did it at Seething.

On the pan with 3 light aircraft, a couple of private jets and an airbus 400M, a military transport in development and about 15 years behind schedule. I haven't flown in a while and make Andreas aware of this as I proceed with the visual inspection of the aircraft, a Cessna 172. Everything in the right place, nothing missing, oil levels are good and fuel is sufficient for this trip. Everyone strapped in, cockpit checks completed, "clear prop", shouts Andreas and one turn of the key, the engine comes alive.

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