I first met Meng Ng at the Philippine Balloon Fiesta in 2005. His Wings Over Asia website was then a budding start-up effort.
Today, Wings Over Asia is a general aviation powerhouse. Website, social network, flight planning resource, aircraft sales and marketing resource, aviation store. Domiciled in Singapore, led by a visionary with a deep passion for flying.
Meng invited me to a weekend of flying fun with stellar company in exotic locales and high-end equipment.
In short, I got to fly Angelina Jolie’s airplane.
Meng asked me to speak about Flying in Crosswinds and Philippine general aviation. Meng, a seasoned marketer, dangled an irresistible invitation — accommodations at the posh OneDegree 15 Marina Club in Sentosa Cove, highly coveted trade show tickets to the Singapore Airshow, a VIP dinner with other speakers and special guests, and a fly-in to Tioman Island, Malaysia.
He had me at “speak about Flying in Crosswinds” 🙂
The gala dinner was held at Reflections at Keppel Bay, at the marina itself, right by the water, cruise ships passing close aboard. There was a networking seminar on Asian aviation, a band, a fabulous dinner buffet, entertainment, and exhibits by sponsors BMW, Garmin, Fortis and Sennheiser.
The Wings Over Asia website has a video of the gala dinner where I presented the beauty of Philippine destinations, the thrill of aerobatics with Meynard and the magic of flying with my son.
I thoroughly enjoyed telling my stories, as much as the audience did hearing them. Many of the stories were true.
I’ll be charging Meynard for promoting his aerobatic course.
The venue overflowed with fellow pilots, aviation suppliers and marketers, and aviation enthusiasts.
Meng gave away a Sennheiser headset, Singapore cruises and a Flight Experience airliner simulator ride as raffle prizes. I never win in raffles, but this time I lugged home an air revitalizer the size of a small refrigerator. (I could have won a headset or cruise, but no, I won an air revitalizer.)
I had a grand time, meeting aviators and some of their spouses (who had a hoot flying R/C helicopters!).
I told Mark Cupitt, the only other guest from the Philippines, that in a year or two we would have to line up to buy tickets to Wings Over Asia events — Meng is on a trajectory to put his networking organization among the hottest aviation scenes in Asia.
The previous night, Meng hosted a special VIP dinner for the speakers and special guests. We all quickly proved that it is impossible for a pilot to tell a story without waving his hands in the air.
The great people I met! There was the CEO of an Asia tour company based in Bangkok, one of the best story-tellers I’ve ever encountered. Commercial pilot, thousands of hours, flies a Cessna Citation Mustang 😯
A media consultant, once Hallmark Channel’s Asia Vice President and an executive for Discovery Channel and ESPN Asia, flies a Socata TB-9 out of Singapore.
One of the most courteous and amiable pilots I met there flies a Piper Cherokee Six. More on our enjoyable flight in his airplane in the next article!
A Thai pilot, a passionate aviator, gave me his wonderfully illustrated book of a ferry flight from Europe to Thailand.
A soft-spoken Singaporean orthopedic surgeon flies an R-22 helicopter and a Cessna 152, and has volunteered his services as a doctor in Afghanistan for three months.
Everyone was a passionate flyer, friendly and exceedingly generous. None of the usual pilot egos I run into in other circles. When one flies a Citation jet or a Cirrus SR22 G3, or volunteers for medical duty in a war zone, no further statements are needed.
(So what about Angelina’s airplane, you want to know? Well, that’s an article all by itself ! At the VIP dinner, Meng assigned his guests to various airplanes joining the next day’s fly-in to Tioman island, Malaysia… .)
Posted from San Francisco, February 27, 2010
Next: Tioman island, Malaysia!