This article follows the first of a multi-part series on IFR flying.
Carlo and I flew a series of IFR flights in April, in RP-C391, Omni Aviation’s big fuel-injected Cessna 172XP, with a constant speed prop.
We had an Omni instructor, Capt. “An” with us. Carlo sat in the back and took some really nice pictures and video, including night instrument approaches.
In part one of this series, we had just taken off on a Standard Instrument Departure from Omni airfield to Subic. But Omni, a Visual Flight Rules only airfield, did not have an published instrument departure….
“Three Nine One, there has been a mistake, you were not supposed to be given an SID from Omni.”
Busted by Clark Approach. But we had been cleared for the Standard Instrument Departure by the tower, despite having asked for a visual departure. Should we have refused the Tower’s clearance?
I recognized the voice of Clark Approach. He was Jun S, the ‘Tower Chief’ at Clark. Jun is no nonsense guy, a stickler for procedure, and a strict but sensible controller. He knew it wasn’t us that needed to be educated.
“Three Nine One, what is your condition of flight?”
“Three Niner One is Victor Mike Charlie, sir.” We had broken clouds around us, but the way to the VOR was clear of clouds. We were in VMC, Visual Metereological Conditions. I knew what was coming.
“Very well, climb visually to 7,000 feet, report maintaining 7,000 and track outbound on radial two one eight to KIBOK.”
“Climb visually report 7,000, track radial 218 to KIBOK, Three Niner One.”
No problem. We were still emulating an instrument departure, getting good practice, but the tower chief had covered both our patootsies by not issuing an instrument clearance.
We were soon outbound on CIA’s radial 218 to KIBOK intersection, and on an active IFR flight plan. Every needle was exactly where I wanted it. Ninety knots, level at 7,000 feet, dead center on the 218 radial, heading 210 against a slight wind from the left. No autopilot. Real man flying 😛
This was the benefit of lots of IFR practice the week before. Pictures from the earlier flights, with the CDI waving around like a wiper blade, have already been deleted 😳
At Subic, the wind was from the south. Runway 25 was in use. But entry to the Instrument Landing System for runway 25 was via the DME arc, and KIBOK, where we already were, is well inside the arc. I still don’t know how to get from KIBOK to the ILS for runway 25. Perhaps the Halilis and Windwalkers prowling the blog will volunteer a solution to the enigma?
I had planned on an instrument landing. So as briefed we requested the ILS approach to the “wrong” runway.
The ILS to Subic’s runway 07 is a bit hair-raising. It skirts a 3,000-foot mountain. Of course, if you’re under the hood or in bad weather, you can’t see bugger all. Is that more, or less, hair-raising?
Urban legend has it that an ILS was force-fitted here to persuade FedEx to hub at Subic.
Imagine flying this approach in an MD-11 at 160 knots. You really want the needles centered.
I flew with a hood. “Hood”? Actually I wore a baseball cap low over my eyes.
Honesty system, but I wasn’t even tempted to cheat. After all, I was paying for an IFR flight.
At 2,500 feet, I had the localizer nailed. The photo shows me slightly below the glideslope.
I was correcting when Subic tower decided we had had enough fun, cancelled our clearance and told us to go visual for 25, the runway in use. There were lots of student pilots in the pattern for runway 25, hence the tower controller’s nervousness about our flying the opposite approach.
Closer to the runway, a Beech Baron held short. He was having problems with his radio — we could hear him clearly but the tower couldn’t.
Reluctantly, he taxiied back to the ramp and cancelled his flight. Nothing is more disappointing than hearing a pilot say, “”We will just taxi back to the ramp sir, closing flight plan.”
Miraculously, the tower now heard him five by five and immediately “Rogered” his cancellation. Huh?!
To complete the bizarro-world at Subic that day, a student pilot asked to depart runway 07, even as the tower cleared us to land on 25, the opposing runway. Incredible.
The student asked twice before heeding the tower’s strong “NEGATIVE, THERE IS LANDING TRAFFIC ON RUNWAY 25.” Which of course was us.
We peered anxiously down the runway, in case the Doofus insisted on suicide.
Taxiing back for an instrument departure, we passed by the Antonov on the south-east ramp.
I have a scale die-cast metal model of this exact airplane, An-124 “Volga-Dnepr”.
The airplane can “kneel” down to bring the forward loading ramp down to the ground.
I’ve seen this same Antonov in Singapore and Hong Kong. Small world, big airplane. And despite its size, a very pretty one!
We departed on instruments. It was good to be out of the zoo. Suicidal students and ‘failed’ radios!
We climbed out fast, to get out of the madding crowd. Carlo took pictures of the busy FedEx ramp below.
There were MD-11s, twin Otters and lots of pallets on the ramp. For some reason, I find flying freight strangely exotic. Yet another symptom of my rebellion against scheduled airline flights.
Flying over the Subic VOR at 6,000 feet, Carlo snapped this nice overhead picture of the entire Subic International Airport.
The area to the immediate right of the big red cranes was the “10-10” dock, where the big US Navy aircraft carriers tied up. You can still see the docking bollards on the water. The squarish area on the left side of the pictures is all reclaimed land, for a container yard.
The ramp at the neck of land connecting the reclaimed area to the runway peninsula is a new flying school. The tree-lined beach below that used to be the enlisted men’s beach, when Subic was a US naval base.
We were now on our way back. The sun was going down. We would have a dusk flight and a night instrument approach to Clark.
To be continued!