The days sped by too fast. One day I arrived in Manila for my annual home leave, my 73rd and last airline flight in 2008.
Just 3 weeks later, I was back on an airline flight to Bangkok.
In between, one of our best Yuletide Seasons ever.
Christmas mass at the Ateneo was nostalgic — the Church of the Gesu was decorated with a creche and photos commemorating the old Padre Faura campus. My Dad’s Ateneo.
The homily touched on a Christmas Eve during the Great War when French, British and German soldiers left their trenches to sing carols in No Man’s Land.
So my sons and I spent Christmas day opening Santa’s boxes. Then we went right back into being “bad” 😀
We met Mike, Regina, Nikki and Pecorino for laser tag the next day. Paired up in 2-man, seriously game-faced CQB teams, we charged little kids entrenched with their own Dads under a bridge… .
“Dad, they’re coming again, Dad, aaaahhh…!”
Great War. Great catharsis.
The rest of the season, Carlo and I flew our hearts out.
Carlo flew me to the mountain city of Baguio, for a business meeting.
Unplanned RON at John Hay (always pack underwear in flight bag!). Early-early breakfast at the Manor before dashing to the airport…
… Only to sit in the cockpit in the mountain chill of the Loakan ramp, waiting for good weather.
Baguio was crystal clear, but Clark, our destination, was below visual limits in haze.
An hour passed. Two hours. Three. We huddled in the cockpit for warmth.
There was a beautiful Aerospatiale helicopter there too, flown by Capt. Dado, who used to fly to and from ships off Guam.
Dado was a friend and student of Meynard, my aerobatic and instrument instructor.
His helicopter was not limited to Visual Flight Rules, and he was soon off to Manila with his passenger.
Carlo and I remained marooned, alone now on the ramp.
Suddenly, we were surrounded by kids! A day care center’s field trip to see airplanes at the airport.
Unable to depart because of weaather at our destination, we were the only airplane at Baguio for the kids to see.
So there was a reason why we were delayed. The good Lord works like that.
Somewhere in Baguio, there are dozens of pictures of kids in the cockpit of 1513.
Carlo and I, feeling good, decided to depart. We would either land at our base at Omni or sweat an instrument arrival procedure at Clark, our alternate. No fuel for anything else.
Ten miles out Clark Approach handed us off to the Tower for a visual approach to Omni 😀
That evening at Air Ads, Joy took me to the hangar to see a Cirrus SR22, the airplane Angelina Jolie flies.
A surrogate Angelina date! Sleek curves, smooth skin, leather and joysticks. Ooh.
Definitely a separate article on this later!
The next day, I was upside down in Meynard’s Decathlon.
I racked up 6 hours and 23 minutes of intense aerobatics during the season.
My last aerobatic flight, on January 6, was 2 hours of non-stop high-G maneuvers. I hit 6 Gs. Six Gs!
And I flew my combinations, Immelmans and Cuban Eights.
Stories and cockpit video coming up!
Right before Christmas, Carlo and I flew Meynard’s twin-engined Baron. We got the full Monty — multi-engine, night IFR, in IMC.
In 24 hours, I went from high-G visual maneuvering to ILS/DME approach procedures at Subic and Clark. Carlo flew vectors to the ILS/DME at Manila’s international airport.
After Christmas, Carlo and I flew our annual northern Luzon sojourn — a return to Baguio, two stops in San Fernando, La Union, a pig-out RON at Vigan.
And an unplanned hop right across Luzon to Baler, for a home-cooked lunch and dinner at the beach with a dear old friend and her family.
Her mom, a historian and teacher, took us to Baler! the movie. The actual church, the movie costumes and props, the museum.
The next day, blustery, windy, rainy, Carlo flew us in an instrument climb in IMC to VFR on top, and home to Omni where Regina was waiting.
Definitely a good story.
So many more stories. Three hours of non-stop flying fun with PFSG, in our first ever fly-in activity. I never saw a happier gang this Christmas.
So keep visiting us here. Lots of stories to tell, a potful of Philippine photos, so little space, too little time.
Posted from Bangkok, January 11, 2009