Philippines Foxbat video

MSFC CharmaineHere’s a short video of, and from, one of the Mindanao Saga Flying Club (MSFC) Foxbats, flying around their local area near Mati City – some area… (Click on the photo to go to YouTube to view).

It’s amazing how the refection of the sea paints the underside of the white aircraft blue-green. Having flown here myself, late last year when the MSFC Foxbats were delivered, I can say it is one of the most beautiful places to fly. All the MSFC aircraft, including their Foxbats, are equipped with ballistic rescue systems so you can relax and enjoy the views of land and sea!

Many thanks to Charmaine Svelte Pallugna for uploading this video to YouTube.

PS – Why don’t you take a winter trip to the sun (all you southern hemisphere residents) at MSFC and go for a flight yourself. MSFC has a great club facility with a huge runway, air-conditioned rooms with ensuites and great food. Not to mention the very hospitable people and experienced instructors! They can even teach you to fly, if you don’t already have a license.

Mindanao Saga Flying Club decorates their Foxbats

MSFC Blog Post Pic copy

MSFC A22LS Foxbat

Captain Sam at Mindanao Saga Flying Club (MSFC) has sent me some pictures of their newly decorated Foxbats – click the picture to take you to the Foxbat Pilot gallery where you can see more.

The decorations are decal-based and I’m sure you’ll agree, look very snazzy! Just shows what you can do with a bit of imagination…

Anyone got any photos of Foxbats with interesting paint and decals schemes?

Foxbat and the Philippines – 4

MSFC 01It’s Monday morning on the first day of December 2014 and I am back in Melbourne after my week at the Mindanao Saga Flying Club, re-assembling a couple of A22LS Foxbats, ready for them to start flying training. I have commented elsewhere on the rest of the week and now here are a few last comments and reflections on my first-time stay in the Philippines.

First off – Mindanao Saga Flying Club (MSFC). This was founded at Mati National Airport by retired Philippine Army Colonel Sam Afdal – SAGA are his initials. There are currently two full time instructors – Rey, a Filipino who is the CFI, who also flies helicopters for the Colonel; and Capt Sam, an Aussie ex-Qantas pilot. There are others also involved with instruction, including Terry, an Englishman, who previously helped set up another flying club near Manila. As seen in a previous blog post, there are four trainee engineers, led by Archie, the senior engineer. They seem to know the Rotax engine (and an HKS for that matter) inside out, and are fully conversant with all the club light sport and ultralight aircraft, including the Foxbat.

MSFC Club RoomThe newly built club house, pilot lounge and accommodation is excellent and all are air-conditioned. The food while I visited was superb and varied – including some European dishes as well as Philippine delicacies. The beer was cold, and the wine red. MSFC hospitality is second to none and without reservation I can recommend a stay there. Aircraft dual and solo hire rates are much less than in Australia and there are some spectacular beaches nearby, which my packed itinerary unfortunately precluded me from visiting!

Mati Airport from FoxbatNext – the territory. The scenery is just magnificent! Very lush and green, as you’d expect in a tropical climate. In most places there are wall-to-wall trees, although the beaches offer potential landing places in the event of engine problems. However, all club aircraft are fitted with ballistic rescue systems, which I expect will remain unused, as the quality of maintenance is high. The climate is very warm, even early in the mornings and late in the evenings, so doors-off (in the Foxbat) or open cockpit flying (as in the Quicksilvers) is most enjoyable.

PAL TailTravel – I flew by Philippine Airways (PAL) from Melbourne direct to Manila and caught a PAL connection to Davao City, Capt Sam was kind enough to meet me there – the place is a huge hustle-bustle of arriving and departing passengers – and drive me down to Mati Airport, where the club is based. PAL is a reasonably priced, middle of the road airline, which I picked because of its convenient flights from Melbourne and big Philippines domestic network. The flights were all more-or-less on time and I didn’t miss any connections. Cabin service was very acceptable.

Finally, there is a selection of pictures on Foxbat Pilot Flickr here which gives some idea of the rich and varied mixture of experiences to be enjoyed.

 

Foxbat and the Philippines – 3

L-R: Archie, Chris, Club Chairman Sam, Peter, JR, Jay R, Wouendel

L-R: Archie, Chris, Club Chairman Sam, Peter, JR, Jay R, Wouendel

It’s Friday  afternoon and four days of preparation and re-assembly work is now complete and both Foxbats for the Mindanao Saga Flying Club (MSFC) have been test flown satisfactorily. All is very well with both aircraft performing to or better than specification.

A team of young trainees led by Archie, the senior engineer, helped put both aircraft together efficiently and quickly. I have been so impressed with their eagerness to get involved and learn all the quirks and foibles of putting the aircraft together. In fact, this same team recently built a Kitfox (from a kit…) for the club and their work is impeccable. The paint, in particular, is near perfect, which, considering the heat and humidity, is a huge credit to their attention to detail. I only had to explain something once and the job was done quickly and cleanly.

We spent a fair bit of time on the first Foxbat (serial #222) to make sure the entire reassembly process was clear. I was also able to offer a few useful tips on the order of installing some items to make life easier. As a result, the second Foxbat (serial #223) went together much more quickly. #222 has now completed almost 5 hours of flying and #223 nearly 3 hours – everybody wants to fly them!

In addition to test flying the two Foxbats, I have also signed off two instructors – Capt Sam and Terry – who have subsequently set about enabling some of the other pilots to get close to a clearance to fly the Foxbats solo. Some of the young engineers have also been taken for a flight.

Finally, as well as the Foxbats, I have been lucky enough to be taken for flights in several other club aircraft alongside an instructor. First was the aforementioned Kitfox – did someone say they can be a bit skittish on landing? Don’t believe it! We had a great flight down the peninsula, round the light house and back – about 35 minutes.

Then a Quicksilver MX-2 Sport, a true open framework old-style ultralight with a pusher configuration engine, this one with a 912 series 100hp Rotax, which was bags of fun – sitting out there in the open with just an airspeed indicator and a wool thread for a slip ball really gets you down to basics!

Third, I went flying in the club chairman’s Kolb Mk-III Xtra, another pusher configuration aircraft with a 912 100hp Rotax, but with a tailwheel. The Kolb is very pretty to look at but does not have the pleasantest of flying characteristics, particularly in the roll axis. For once, the old saying: ‘if it looks right, it will fly right’ was confounded.

Finally this morning I went for a flight away from the coast and up into the hills in what has until now been the mainstay of the club training fleet – a Quicksilver GT500-912. Yet another pusher configuration but with a nose wheel and tandem seating. We flew with the doors zipped off and it is a most enjoyable aircraft to fly – I can see why it has hitherto been used as a basic trainer.

On Saturday morning, I’ll be packing my bags and starting the long journey back to Melbourne. I will write a short note on other aspects of my visit as well as some more pictures when I get home. But meanwhile, if you want a break from your local flying, I can’t recommend a better place to come for a week or so than here at Mati Airport with the Mindanao Saga Flying Club. The aircraft are great – I can particularly recommend the Foxbat! – the overnight accommodation is very comfortable and the food is good. You couldn’t wish to meet more hospitable people.

Thank you to everyone at Mindanao Saga for a magical week!

Philippines Foxbats

MSFCI am very pleased to say that Mindanao Saga Flying Club (MSFC), based in Davao City, in the southern Philippine Islands has ordered (through Foxbat Australia) two identical A22LS Foxbats for flying training at their club. The aircraft should arrive in Davao in mid-November and I’ll be travelling there to help re-assemble them after their sea voyage from Kiev.

The two white aircraft are fitted with twin control yokes, analogue panels (including the traditional ‘6-pack’), as well as transponders and ballistic rescue systems.

MSFC is a premier sports aviation facility in South East Asia, producing highly competent, passionate, and safe sports/recreational pilots. They provide a safe, fun and friendly working atmosphere. The Club is committed to an eco-friendly and symbiotic relationship with its community and environment. their motto is: ‘We open the skies’.

They have both a website: http://www.mindanaosagaflyingclub.com
And a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MindanaoSagaFlyingClub

I’m really looking forward to going to the Philippines – a place I have never visited before. Hopefully, I’ll get to fly around the area with them during my stay…

Watch this space for more!