I arrived at Mati Airport on Monday afternoon, after the 2-3 hour drive from Davao City with Capt Sam, one of the club instructors. This is a beautiful part of the Philippines, with lush tropical vegetation and temperatures in the mid-30’s with very high humidity. A bit of a shock my thick blood of the mid-20’s dry heat of Melbourne!
On the way, we passed ‘the sleeping dinosaur’ (photo above) which is an optical illusion which makes the island look like a dinosaur lying down – head on its side to the left, with a humped back and what look like front and rear legs splayed out in a recumbent position.
This morning I met Sam Afdal, chairman and founder of the Mindanao Saga Flying Club (MSFC) and Capt Sam. We had breakfast at the hotel where I spent the first night, before visiting Sam’s hangar at Davao Airport. Here he keeps a couple of Jetranger helicopters and a collection of motorcycles – most of which belong to friends and relatives.
At Mati, there is a 1.6 kilometre long, 30 metre wide runway, orientated 14-32 – enough room for even the most timid of Foxbat pilots!
The MSFC Club House and accommodation is situated on the north east side of the runway. Most of the building has only just been completed and a formal opening is planned for early in 2015. All the rooms are air conditioned (phew!), with ensuite showers and toilets. What luxury in a flying club.
Although the hangars are currently large marquees, there are plans to build more substantial hangars in the future.
The main club aircraft have, until now, been mainly ‘rag and tube’ ultralights: a Kolb Mk 3 Xtra (a single engine tail dragger) in which Sam Afdal solo’d for the first time in December 2013, as well as a bevy of Quicksilvers, Drifters, and others. As well as the two Foxbats, the club has recently acquired some other Light Sport Aircraft, the names of which I find myself strangely unable to recall!
I will be setting up an album in FoxbatPilot Flickr so that you can see some of the photos – ultimately including (I hope) some taken from an airborne Foxbat. Watch this space…