Mark Daniels is a Biological Engineer who has his FAA Private
license, his Thai validation, and his Thai PPL. Mark is the
chairman of the Aeronautical Archaeological Society and has an advanced
degree in Aviation Hieroglyphics. "I didn't know it until the first time I flew it, but the Wilga is the
reason I wanted to learn to fly. It is loud, has a powerful radial engine, is designed
and built by the same people who produce
perhaps the world's best sausage. The funny looking gauges and the air-driven prop, as well as the bizarre starting
procedure gives me the sense that when I climb in I am passing through an elite ritual of the
truly eccentric in a bid to enter a sort of crankcase nirvana. It has a rumble that makes a Harley seem like an espresso machine. And it is hard
to fly. My legs are still sore from using the rudders two days ago, and
that's the way it should be. The plane has
almost no brakes and a very high center of gravity. It may look like an insect, but it is the kind of insect you would find around Chernobyl. It
is about as forgiving as Lewis in the 8th round, and although I don't know for sure, I would imagine that if you make a mistake with this one,
you will end up as chicken food chop-quick. Highly recommended."
Email Mark (phone:
0818834819) Things Mark has
learned while flying the Wilga
|Azusa Oshima is 75 years old. He was a navigator during
World War II in a Japanese "Tokai" submarine patrol aircraft. He
started flying at age 18, and today, he has a total approximately 1,500
hours. The "Tokai" had a cockpit like a helicopter with all
around visibility, and Azusa San used to fly in this at 50 meters above
the water searching for submarines. He enjoyed flying the Wilga, and he
said that when he was learning to fly during the war, his instructor
taught him the danger was to fly in clouds or too low to the ground (no
escape). Azusa San is the President of the Chofu Aircraft Owner's Club in
Tokyo, Japan. // Oct 2009 update: Ozzie San is now 83 years old and still
flying strong // Nov 2013 update: Ozzie is now 87 years old, still flying,
and has recently been awarded the "Air Sports Medal" from Federation
Aeronautic International on 20 Sep 2013. Congratulations Ozzie San --
|Dougie Cairns (on left) was a fund manager. He started flying
in the RAF, but then had to stop flying when he was diagnosed with
diabetes. This did not stop his dream to fly. He was able to obtain an FAA
private license in USA, then a Thai validation for flying in Thailand. He
then quit his job, and he is now planning to fly a Baron
around the world. His website www.diabetesworldflight.com
will follow his progress. He thought the Wilga flew like a helicopter.
|Iain Morgan works all over the world on ships conducting
seismic research on the ocean floor. He owns a house in Phuket, and when he is not
exploring the depths of the sea, he wants to fly in Thailand. He had 16 hours flying experience
when he decided to fly the Wilga. "Flying the Wilga is definitely far above flight
training aircraft such as a Cessna152. It is more challenging to fly, but
not difficult, and has a few extra considerations due to the tail wheel,
variable pitch prop and sensitive power. I think it is very unusual to
have a chance to fly something like this, and to top it off, it’s the
same price as a Cessna 152 in the UK. Fly the Wilga and learn why the
original pioneers of flight had such ambitions to conquer the sky." Iain has
very natural flying ability, and he is intending to get his Thai PPL
license in Thailand. Email
|Wayne "Red" Graham has been a member of the
Thai Flying Club for many years. His father has a Cessna 180 on their farm
in Manitoba, Canada. Red has his pilot's license and loves to fly when he
can. He is a natural in the Wilga. Red is currently working to
set up a Flying Club near Phuket. They are looking for some
land to build a grass airstrip away from Phuket International airport and
to encourage sport aviation and general aviation in Thailand. If you are
interested in becoming a member of the Phuket Flying Club, or if you want
to buy some property in Phuket,
|Khun Jatuporn is a very keen photographer who is
quite new to flying. He has enjoyed flying the Wilga, because he
appreciates the new and different perspective that it gives him on earth.
He has learned that "earplugs" are an essential element for long
flights in the Wilga, and his assistant, Ple, has braved two flights in
the backseat of the Wilga.
|Dr. Ramorn has been practicing medicine for several
years. She has a high interest in adventure, and she thought she would
like to try to fly the Wilga. She brought her two friends to join her on a
trip down to Pattaya, and she handled the Wilga with the same gentle care that
she says she gives to her patients.
|Captain Gillem from England comments, "You need to wear special pants to fly this. The noise alone will make the
girls run away. Look what happened to me." Email
|Bill Callahan is an architect, but the last place
you will find him is in the office. He has too much energy to sit down.
He likes to redesign the dash of his jeep. He is an advisor on clubhouse
roof design. He loves big dreams and big ideas. You don't run short of
things to talk about when you sit down with Bill. Bill is not a pilot, but he
wanted to fly the Wilga. "This is a real airplane," he said.
Now, Bill wants to learn to fly. He believes flying is the perfect
combination of science and art. You have to learn the science to do it,
just like architecture, but then your imagination takes over, and you've
opened a whole different perspective on live. Email
Bill if you need a flying architect.
|Captain Takaki is an A320 pilot for Air Nippon
Airlines in Japan. He has a total of 5,600 hours. His comments about the
Wilga: "Good! I never fly a tail-dragger before. It does 360 degree
turn very fast. Kando Shtat." Captain Takaki wants to be a
Bush Pilot, but in Japan they do not allow such activities.
|Tomo San is a Dentist. He is a member of the Chofu
Flying Club near Tokyo in Japan. He is a very keen aviator with about 600
hours. Flying the Wilga was the first time he has ever flown a tail-wheel
airplane, and he is very grateful to Thai Flying Club to have this
experience. His comments about the Wilga: "Nandaro!" Tomo
San explained to us that in Japanese, there is no word for "bush
pilot." He and Captain Takaki spent a long time deliberating this
with Sammy San, and in the end, they created a Japanese word for Bush
Pilot -- "DokoDayMo OreeChow Piloto" (Anywhere Landing
Pilot). Domo Alligato Kosai Mas.
|Assunta Link is not a pilot, but she is a very active
reader and traveler. She has a special passion for Africa and was very
interested to fly in the Wilga. "Having the chance to fly in the
Wilga was a great experience. I felt like sitting on a grasshopper. Start and landing were soft and smooth.
Although I had 100% trust in it's flying abilities, I was a little anxious
at first, because it was my first flight in such a little plane without doors. You sit in the open with just your belt
around your waist. I thought: What, if the belt opens? But soon I forgot about my worries enjoying my bird's view. Now, afterwards
I think flying in such a plane sitting in the open with the wind blowing into your face makes you feel more
a part of nature. If I'll have the chance I will climb into the Wilga again!"
|Leonard Cohen has recently received his Thai PPL
license through the Thai Flying Club. He was very eager to learn about tail wheel
flying. "When you step up to it, you know it's going to be something special. When you
hoist yourself up into the seat (any higher and you'd need a ladder!), you can
feel the ruggedness of the machine -- this aircraft was really made for bush-flying, not for leisurely cross country trips. The Wilga is the opposite
of the sleek, fly-by-wire, leather seated Mercedes Benz of the skies. The
Wilga is like a VW beetle on amphetamines. It's big, it's tough, and it's a
workout. The Wilga's aerodynamics make it highly "forgiving", just like a
diesel-powered car. Although I've only seen a glimmer of the aircraft's flying
potential so far, I can easily see why people get truly passionate about the
Wilga -- it feels exotic, quirky and a tad exclusive -- not everyone's doing it.
Now if only I could find a grass tennis court on top of a skyscraper to practice
the short-field landing technique..."
Khun Sirilux Patanapoothong works for the Austrian
Embassy in Bangkok. She was visiting her friends in Hua Hin when she
decided to try flying. Flying the Wilga was the first time she has ever
flown an airplane. Even with both doors off and the wind blasting her
hair, she handled the aircraft extremely well. "I was
pretty nervous before we took off because I couldn’t imagine what was
like to fly. It was amazing when I
was up in the air and looked down there. I feel like a bird somehow!
Everything was beautiful, you won’t believe it!
This is a very good
experience for me, a good memory as well."
Khun Gassanee Thaisonthi works for a data security
firm in Bangkok, but she is also a freelance writer for FEEL magazine. She
came down to the flying club to learn about flying, and she ended up at
the controls of the Wilga. "How does it feel to fly the Wilga?
Oh..It's GREAT, it's cool!! It's beyond explanation!! The only thing that made me different
from birds is headphone!!" Email Khun
Khun Nilawan has her own television program on
Channel 7 at 7:30 in the morning. She was making a television program
about Captain Charoen and General Aviation in Thailand, when she decided
to brave the controls of the Wilga. She will broadcast her experiences on
her TV program on the morning of 29 August 2002.
|Doctor Passapan Dunniran is a Polo Horse Veterinarian
at the Siam Polo Club. She loves horses and other wild things. She decided
to join a flight to Klang Dong airstrip and was able to fly the Wilga on
the return flight. This was her first flight is a small airplane, and she
thought it was great. She compares flying the Wilga to riding a horse. You
are at the controls of a wild thing and it feels "palang kong ma
lae palang kong nanoot." Email
Dr. Passapan if you need a flying vet.
|James Ashton and Shan Yu came from Shanghai,
China to fly the Wilga. James is a financial advisor in Shanghai and Shan
Yu is a kindergarten teacher at an international school. They had a great flight and were able to teach us the Chinese
(Mandarin) word for Bush Pilot -- "SuiYi JiangLuo FeiXingYuan"
(Carefree No Rules Landing Pilot) Email
|Felix Link is a Senior at Lyceum
Alpinum Zuoz in Switzerland. He is 18, and six months ago, he decided he
wanted to fly. This was his first time in a small aircraft. "It's
not a go-cart," he said. "There is more to it than I thought.
First, I thought it was just rules and buttons; now, I see the flying is
difficult too. I didn't expect the feeling of freedom. You have 'power
over gravity.' I have never had the opportunity to fly an aircraft
before, and I think flying is like learning a language - as soon as you
learn it and think you know it, you start making mistakes. You have to
feel it. It sinks into you." Up to now, the highest Felix has flown
was with his snow board, but now he has a dream to get his Private
Pilot's License in USA after he finishes school and then learn to fly
ultralights or maybe start a charter company in Thailand. Leidenschaft
ist das einzige was zaehlt. Viel Glueck. Email
|Khun Kriangsak and Khun Num came to fly the
Wilga. This was not for fun; this was the Wilga'a Airworthiness Renewal
Flight for the DOA. We flew down to Pattaya to visit "Uthai's
Restaurant" and to eat a delicious lunch. Airworthiness Inspector
Num was at the controls. Num has completed his aviation ground school,
but only has 2 flight hours. He was very pleased to have a chance to fly
the Wilga, and his dream is to get a flying scholarship from the DOA, so
that he can learn to fly. If you have any airworthiness questions for
the DOA, you can email Num. Chok
|Captain Gummi Hardarson is an 8,000 hour captain
for Cargolux with 5,000 hours in 747s. He started flying as a bush pilot
for his father's company, Ernir Air, in the northern fjords of Iceland.
His father, Hardar, loves bush flying and still flies in Africa and
Iceland. Today, Gummi owns a 180, 185, Supercub, Piper Cub, and 170. He
loves tailwheel aircraft, and he was very hungry to jump into the Wilga.
He liked the sound of the Wilga; power was good; controls were smooth.
He didn't think the ground handling was effective enough for soft sand
strips in Iceland. "It is a neat tool - just like a
grasshopper." Gummi helped us with an Icelandic word for Bush Pilot
-- "Flugmadur Sem Fligur A Afskegta Stadi" (Pilot Who
Flies To Remote Places). Gummi wants to come back and see what the Wilga
can really do. "This was a straight and level trip. Next time, we
will do some real bush flying!" Einhverneigin Thannig (Something
Like That). Email Captain Gummi
|Steve Darke is an Aviation Historian from Manchester,
England, but he says he is really a Gypsy. If he works anyplace for more
than 12 months, he gets bored. This is why he has found himself in
Saudi, UAE, Oman, Borneo, Singapore, Nigeria, Kenya, and Penang. His
passions are his Thai Aviation
History webpage and Beech 18's. He got his PPL in 1979. His license
was signed by Ginger Lacy - a Battle of Britain pilot. He came for a
flight in the Wilga to spot two DC-3, one C-46, and one Helio Courier in
different back yards near Bang Phra. He thought the Wilga was heavy, but
he was impressed how short and fast we got off the ground and back down
again. Of all the places Steve has been, he loves Thailand the most.
"I live for the day, and I love driving in Bangkok," he says.
"It's the best. If you feel the gray cells going, then it will
sharpen you up." Email
Steve (phone: 44 7768144630)
|Khun Narong Niroram came to fly the Wilga. He is a
fresh fruit exporter (Durian Longan, Nangosteen, Pomelo) and he is interested in
learning to fly. He likes the feeling of freedom - "Yaak bin dai,
muan nok" (fly like a bird). He is most interested in flying
over Chonburi. Email Narong
|Hannah Alexandra Darke is 14 years old. Her dad loved
flying the Wilga so much, that Hannah came to fly too. It was her first
time in a small plane, and she was not timid on the controls. "I
thought it would be scary with no doors, but it was not at all."
Hannah wants to be a Barrister when she grows up, and she thinks getting
used to the controls of the Wilga is like getting used to power
steering. Email Hannah
|Xavier Roumilhac is from France. His father is a pilot at the Aeroclub
A.C.Meribel in the Alps. Xavier has a passion for flying,
et il aime bien a piloter le Wilga. "I have met many pilots in my life,
and I like the mind of these people. They have
beaucoup de rigueur mental - all of the senses are working. You must have a lot of humility to do
this; I like the
savoir faire and the savoir etre." Email Xavier
|John Ball is from England. He flies his Piper
Comanche 260B out
of Biggin Hill and has been flying for 30 years. His passion is tailwheel
aircraft and he has managed to accumulate 400 hours in tailwheels.
"Nothing like a Wilga though," he says. He found the Wilga a
delight to fly with very smooth and positive controls and excellent seats
with a good view out the side doors. He says it is too cold to fly like
this in England, so he is looking to come back to fly in Thailand again
soon and get more acquainted with the strange instruments in the Wilga. He
also loved the Thai Flying Club, because of the efficient staff and lovely
clubhouse and bar. He thinks the club is a great place for Europeans to fly,
and it is cheaper than Biggin Hill !!!! Email
|Dan Pamenter is a Police officer in Wisconsin. His
passion is aerial photography, and he has been doing it for 25 years. Dan
owns a Cessna 177 back in the United States, and he has been flying for 28
years. This was his first visit to Thailand, and he came to visit is son
who is working for the US Army in conjunction with certain Thai hospitals.
Dan's dream, when he retires, is to set up an aerial photography business.
He loved flying in the Wilga because of the great visibility. Dan usually
works with 12 volt gyro stabilizers (from Ken Lab Gyro) on his cameras
which holds them rock steady. He was trying to photograph Thai fishing
villages and rivers which depict traditional river life in Thailand. For
filming, Dan recommends using two gyros on the pitch axis and one on the
yaw axis with a mini DV. Dan's best picture was either an aerial of
Jamaica bay or an aerial of the Golden Gate bridge emerging in the early
morning fog. Dan has a webpage www.aboveusa.com
and he can be contacted through his son Travis working in Thailand 01
8463016. Email Dan
George Stobel is a Podiatrist (foot and leg doctor) in Dubai. He was sick
of paying 55% tax in Germany, so now he is an expat. "I love this
thing. It flies on the stick. Other airplanes you feel scared by the
stall, but this one is gentle. It turns very smoothly." In Dubai,
George flies his own Aeroprakt-20 and he also has a 1/2 scale F4U Corsair.
He loves that too. George owns land in Phuket, and he is looking forward
to bringing his airplanes to Thailand. He is a Life Member of the Thai
Flying Club, and he is very excited by the idea of a flying club in Phuket.
He loves Thailand, because it is the green. Sometimes, you only appreciate
something when it is gone, and in Dubai, the only green you see is fed by
a water pipeline. Email George
|Jersey Seipel is head of mission for Caritas Germany
(humanitarian aid agency) in Afghanistan. He tells us that he doesn't get
much time to relax there, because "you are never too sure when the next
Taliban rocket will be fired at you." One rocket hit downtown Kabul
two days before he left. He came to Thailand to fly the Wilga and
increase his flying experience. He has about 170 flight hours, and he is hoping to
buy a Zenair and take it to Afghanistan (if he can find out if it can climb to 9,000 feet).
He has learned to be patient during his work in Afghanistan, and he has
learned to respect people. These things are important. Jersey loves the
Thai smile, and he has really enjoyed the relaxed and friendly flying
environment in Thailand. Email
|Aki came to fly the wilga with the famous Thai polo
player Eric Barthe. Saranya came too. We piled them all in the Wilga and
flew over Khao Kheo National Park. Eric used to jump out of helicopters in
the German Military, and Aki has been dreaming of being a pilot for
Lufthansa since he was very young. Aki thought the Wilga flew very gently.
At one point, he asked if he was really flying it. We landed just in time
to get Eric on his polo pony, so Khun Vichai could yell at him and tell
him to put the ball in the goal. Eric wants to come back and fly again. We
wish Aki well with his dream - "Leidenschaft ist das einzige was
Viel glueck! Email Eric and Aki
|Khun Tong came to Bang Phra for a fashion model shoot and
she ended up in the Wilga. It took the hair dresser 45 minutes to get her
hair ready for the shoot and only 45 seconds for the Wilga to "blow
dry" it all over the place. Amazingly, she looked great after the
flight, and she wants to come back and fly again. www.rafikidesign.com
It was Gop's Birthday, so Sebastian brought her to fly the
Wilga. Worawalan Sopee had never flown a small plane before. She thought
it was "marvelous." "It is like I walk on the moon and lose
gravity." Gop is a Thai language teacher for AUA in Bangkok. The
hardest thing about teaching Thai language is teaching Thai culture,
because the two are closely linked. Most of her foreign students don't
understand why Thai people smile when they do something wrong. "Yim
Wai Gon," she says. Gop's favorite Thai saying is, "Cheewit Kau
Lao Man San. Dang Nan Sanook Hai Tem Tee." (Life Short. Be Happy).
Sebastian was in the hair dryer seat in the back. "It's one of those
things that one needs to tick off the list," he says about the Wilga.
Thailand has taught Sebastian about patience. He's been working here for
several years, and when he went back to the UK it occurred to him that
people in the West are not very happy. They have a lot of money, but they
are not really sure what they are earning it for, so he came back to
Thailand. Email Gop. Email
|Joe Goodin is the sailing coach at the US Naval
Academy in Annapolis. He loves flying, and when he was in Thailand with
the Cobra Gold exercises this past April, he came up to the club to do
some flying. He was a natural at flying the Wilga, and we are going to ask
him to write us his favorite proverb and what it felt like to fly the
Wilga, so that we can put that up here. Stand by for more from Joe. Email
Joseph E. Goodin III
|Alexandra Zosso thought the Wilga was a great
experience. "C'est pas un avion pour les filles," he said.
Alexandra is from Ecuvillens in Switzerland, near Fribourg. He has 250
hours, and most of his time is in 172 and 182. This was his first time at
the controls of a tailwheel. He is working in Korat, Thailand for Absys
Company making stainless steel items. He feels that humility is the most
important thing for flying, and he sent us his favorite proverb: "Le voyage: c'est aller à la rencontre de l'autre et prendre un rendez-vous
avec soi-même". A bientot. Email
|Collin Townsend is from England. He loves
sightseeing. He thought the Wilga was "brilliant." It was the
first time he has flown a taildragger, and he thought it was a real
"experience" to take off and land. Collin is a Lorry Driver in
UK, and he started flying in 1988 because his brother bet him he couldn't
do it. He did do it, and how he has 150 hours. Collin's favorite proverb
for life is: "do it while you can before you can't." Email
|Bernd May is from Hamburg, Germany, but he is living
in Mexico in the town of Ajijic. He has 600 hours flight time and works
doing offshore research. He came to Thailand and Southeast Asia for
two months with his Mexican girlfriend, Anabel. He thought the Wilga was a
combination of a tractor and a jeep. "Everything is open; you are
really flying in the bush." We asked Anabel
to teach us a refran from Mexico, and she said: "pa frijoles... en mi
casa" (it means, "eat beans... in my house" or if you have
a high expectation, you can be disappointed). Bernd was looking for a
seaplane in Thailand, when he saw the Wilga. Email
|Santos Anca is a 5 goal polo player from Coronel
Suarez, Argentina. His friends call him "terramoto" and he is
currently working as a polo professional at
Siam Polo Park.
Santos has never been is a small airplane before, and he thought it was
just like a caballo grande (a big horse). When we took him up in
the Wilga, he asked his friend Marco, why he has to use the seatbelt.
Marco said, because there are no doors. It was too late, the engine was
coming to life, and Santos Anca was on his first flight. On the polo
field, Santos believes "Llegar, Piensar, Pegar" (arrive, think,
hit the ball - in that order), so in the air we taught him "takeoff,
fly, and land - in that order." Santos now loves the big airplane.
Jugar para el caballo. Email
Santos Anca from La Tierra de Sebastian Harriot
|Thomas Decker is a mechanical engineer from Munich.
He has 240 hours and owns his own Seat Flamingo S223 military trainer.
This trainer has been used in Turkey, Syria, Spain and Switzerland for
military instruction. Thomas thought the Wilga was heavy. You are sitting
inside the engine, he said. It is fun to fly with open sides. Thomas'
favorite sprichword is from Otto Lienthal (the famous German glider
designer. same vintage as the Wright Brothers in USA): "Opfer muessen
gebracht werden" (sometimes you have to make sacrifices in order to
go forward). He died in a glider crash, but these were his parting words. Email
||Isao Hirayama likes the Wilga, because it has a
"strange figure." This was his first flight in the Wilga, and he
handled it very well. Isao has 100 flying hours, and he likes low canyon
flying and high flying, so he can see. He thinks the Wilga is a blend of a
helicopter and a jet (because of the stick and the open doors). Isao lives
in Victoria, British Columbia, and his favorite kotowaza is "altitude
is everything" - because B.C. is 90% mountains and everyone knows
this kotowaza. Isao's dream is to be a Canadian bush pilot and to fly in
|Wilfred Bagnall has 1200 hours and owns half of a flying school in Florida - www.voyageraviation.com.
He came to fly the Wilga, because it is not a plane that you find in many
places, and he likes challenges. Wilfred is a police man in England based
at Scotland Yard. He had great fun learning to control the Wilga and
recommends the experience highly. Email
|Curt Rischar and Nguyet Nguyen came over from Saigon,
Vietnam to fly the
Wilga. There is currently no general aviation in Vietnam, so the closest
place to do some real flying is Thailand. These guys like to have fun, so
the first plane they wanted to fly was the Wilga. Curt is a 150 hour pilot
who loves whitewater kayaking, so he was a natural. Flying a plane is much
like paddling the Kern river. Curt is very interested in helping support
any Vietnamese who can get a Vietnamese Sport Aviation program going in
Vietnam. We also had fun finding the Vietnamese word for "Bush
Pilot" - "Phi Công Nhà Quê" (phonetic
translation: "Fee Cum, Nyaah Gwey"). Em Nguyet says that Bush
Pilots are "Zae TuUng" (which means "cute" or literal
translation: "easy to love"). Email
|Wally Anderson loves
flying, but they don't have general aviation in Sri Lanka. He and his wife
came all the way from Colombo to fly the Wilga and to get 12 hours flight
time to renew his UK license. Wally works in textiles in Sri Lanka, but
his real passion is to fly. He is hoping to start a sport flying club in
Sri Lanka (now that the war is over). Christine keeps her horse in their
garage in Sri Lanka, and Wally is negotiating to see if he can park a
Kitfox next to the horse. Standby for progress on the Sri Lanka Sport
Flying Club. Call Wally in Sri Lanka -- mobile: 94+(0)777778686. Email
Wally Anderson Now Wally and Christine are in India.
|George Henton is 17 years old. He comes from Bishop's
Waltham in England and he is currently in Thailand with his parents. He is
a student at Bangkok Patana School,
and his dream is to fly. So far, he has about 2 hours in various aircraft,
but this was his first flight in a Wilga. He thought it was great and he
likes flying low. He wants to major in International Politics and he likes
flying, because it is different and exciting.
|Nagasawa San has ten
flight hours in Japan at Matsumoto Airport, but this a man who is
passionate about the Wilga. He came and flew it twice, and he is not timid
to take the controls and throw it around. He works for Japan
Air Photo System and flies a R/C helicopter with DVD (Canon EOS 10D)
camera attached to it that can transmit the image to a TV monitor on the
ground. He also flies Paragliders and Hanggliders cross-country in Japan.
Nagasawa San also has a passion for Japanese Kotowaza and his motto at the
helm of the Wilga: "itzee dey mo; doko dey mo" (anytime;
anywhere). We are sure to see Nagasawa back in the Wilga soon. Email
Lee Boon Leong came all the way up from Malaysia to fly the Wilga. "When I first laid eyes on that oddest-of-all-looking aircraft, it
aroused in me the same feeling as when I first saw a Trike - an intense curiosity to find out how such an odd shape would take to the air and
land! Even after all the reading I had on taildraggers, and the Wilga POH, I was not prepared for the mushy brakes and rudder for taxiing on
the ground! They sure need stomping power to operate, yet a gentle touch to finesse it! On top of that, it was the first time I had to
handle an aircraft (a tail dragger at that) with a constant prop, with my left hand! The initial session was just a deluge of information
overload! Was I all nerves when I had to correctly control the aircraft when you got off to hand-start the engine at Pattaya airfield. Well,
seeing how you bolted after the engine fired tells me how disastrous it could have been if I have not done it right!! Whatever, once I felt I
had a handle on the monster, especially after that first brisk turn on the tarmac all on my own without making it "kneel" on one main wheel
strut, I felt so great having managed to "tame the brute"! I am looking forward to the coming 10 hour flight with you to the North West, and
hope by then I have built up enough muscle in my legs to keep the plane flying straight as well as make the tail wheel break into a turn.
Meanwhile, I have become curious enough about the Wilga to look up the 2000
model. Email Boon
|Leonard Behrens is 6 years old and he speaks English, French
and Japanese. We met him at the World Cup Equestrian Competition held at
The Horseshoe Point where he finished 6th place out of 15 in the novice
dressage. The deal was, that if Leonard finished in the top ten,
then he would get to go flying. Leonard's other passion is playing the
|Adjan Krisda is one of the founders of the Thai
Flying Club. He learned to fly in a tailwheel Chipmonk many
years ago, and he has not lost any of his tailwheel skill.
Email Adjan Krisda
|Khun Suchard normally flies his Mooney M20M. He loves
flying and is one of the very few pilots that can land a Mooney on a 600
Meter bush strip. Khun Suchard has no email, and he kind of likes that....
now he does have email.
|Neil McGreevy comes from New
Zealand. He flies an Airbus 330 for Cathay Pacific Airways in Hong Kong. He
has flown small aircraft in Africa and Australia as well as New Zealand. He
has his own Cessna 180 in New Zealand that he flies as often as possible.
Neil says Hong Kong is a great place to live, though the opportunities for
general aviation are less than in Thailand. He thinks it's fantastic to see
the good work that people in Thailand are doing to promote aviation. Neil
loves taildraggers and thinks that the Wilga is awesome fun! He thinks that
a round engine with no nosewheel and no doors is the only way to fly. He
hopes to make it back to Thailand soon for some more Wilga fun! Email Neil
|Justin is a professional photographer and he loves shooting
from the Wilga. Mobile: 016435909.
||Brian and Dave came from Japan and USA to fly the
Wilga. They were the most avid supporters of Pattaya Sun & Fun 2004, even
though no one else seemed to get past the gate and the 300 Baht entrance
fee. Brian and Dave took the wilga into Pattaya Airpark and were able to
avoid this fee. Dave works for NASA and he is an expert at snap-rolling Khun
Yut's motorcycle. Brian is learning Japanese at a very rapid rate. They both
love the adventures that Thailand has to offer, so we surely will see them
Jacek Mainka is from Poland. He
is a pilot for PB Air in Bangkok and recognized the Wilga right away when he
came to join the Thai Flying Club, "That comes from my country." He loves
flying in Thailand and is looking to buy a share in any aircraft in Thailand
with an HS registration (Kitfox, Zenair, 172, 152). He was a natural at the
controls of the Wilga, and he realized that the Wilga has very unique
handling characteristics. His favorite proverb is "to be intelligent is very
tiring, so let me think." He also quoted the Polish writer, Mrs Kossak -
"There are optimists, pessimists, and those who "forsee" - with this plane,
you have to "plan ahead," He smiles. Email
Jacek. Tel: 01-4449249.
Adam Przekor is Jacek's friend. He works as a researcher for NASA in
Langley, Virginia. He also comes from Poland, and he recounted the earlier
Soviet days in Poland after World War II in Russian "Loodee Unas Mnoga" (we
have plenty of people). This means that industry in those days was not so
much motivated by safe working conditions.
Ries is a safety inspector for the FAA in Singapore. He and his wife Gayle
came to Bang Phra to fly the Wilga for 3 days. They love "look tung style"
and they enjoyed staying in the Turn & Slip Inn; they even got up at 6:30 in
the morning to "Sai Bat" (give food) to the Monks walking down the runway.
Richard has his own U.S.Navy N3N-3 back in the USA (the Navy built 816 of
these aircraft and there are only 25-30 still flying today). Richard thought
the Wilga was a lot of work, because there is more of his N3N in front of
him to see during landing compared to the Wilga. Gayle loved flying in the
back and especially enjoyed when Richard was practicing his 180 turns (which
are not easy to do in the Wilga). Richard has flown in Angola, Tanzania,
Mexico, Canada and USA, but this was his first time flying in Thailand. As
an FAA Inspector, his job is to look at Foreign Repair Stations throughout
S. E. Asia that do work on US Registered Aircraft. This posting has taught
him a lot about the different cultural nuances in this part of the world.
Richard and Gayle are both very keen to see the movie
FIRST FLIGHT. Richard's favorite saying for flying and working on aircraft -- "Always
consider the consequences of what you're about to do."