Monday, March 31, 2008

Philippine Army Sky Diving Team

Here is a clip of Philippine Army Parachute Team (PAPT) . Th plane is a Cessna 172. UH-1H Helis and C-130 aircraft are also used. The drop zone is located in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija. The team shows it's stuff nationwide in the Philippines, and at selected airshows around the world. Enjoy.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Kamikaze Field

The first Kamikaze attack force was formed in the Philippines by Vice Admiral Takijiro Onishi. In a meeting at Mabalacat Airfield (Clark Air Base) on October 19, 1944, Admiral Onishi met with officers of the 201st Flying Group. The Marcos Santos residence served as the headquarters of these Japanese Kamikaze pilots during this time.

(Above) Japanese Zero hit and diving at U.S. ship

Onishi told them that he believed the only way to maintain control of the Philippines was to put a 500 pound bomb on a Zero fighter and crash them into U.S. aircraft carriers. He believed this would wreak havoc on the U.S. Fleet and disable them for weeks if not months. When the pilots and their officers requested to hear approval for the suicide program from their own commander, Captain Sakai Yamamoto, Onishi lied, saying that Yamamoto had already been advised. In reality Captain Yamamoto was hospitalized near Manila from injuries sustained in an automobile accident, totally unaware of what Onishi was telling his men. All 23 pilots volunteered.

Commanded by Onishi, on Clark Air Base, the first Kamikaze missions were launched. The pilots of the Imperial Japanese Navy's 201st Kokutai, 1st Air Fleet would go down, literally, in history. These pilots were divided into four separate groups: Shikishima, Yamato, Asahi, and the Yama Yukio Seki units.

At 07:25 October 25, 1944, the Shikishima unit departed Clark lead by Lieutenant Yokjo Seki. At 10:45am they attacked U.S. ships stationed at Leyte Island, Philippines. Credited with the first planned Kamikaze attack, Lieutenant Yokjo Seki actually succeeded in striking and sinking the United States carrier USS St. Louis in the first official sinking of a ship by Kamikaze attacks.
According to Captain Rikihei Inoguchi, I.J.N., Approximately one-sixth of all Kamikaze planes used in the Philippines hit their target. The plan was to use them primarily at dusk or on bright moonlit nights using Shiragiku, Zero and Willow fighters. Most of the men in the Philippine Campaign had about 300 hours of flight training. Almost all of the Japanese pilots hoped to get into the Kamikaze Corps, and tried to volunteer. However a few of them with the most flight time were prevented by order of the commanding officer. Torpedo bombing took a greater amount of accuracy, so these few experienced pilots were put aside for those missions.
Inoguchi was an officer of 23 years service, and although not himself an aviator, he spent the last year and a half of the war in aviation activities. In August 1944 he became Chief of Staff of the First Air Fleet in the Philippines, the unit which first employed organized suicide tactics.
According to Inoguchi, the causes of the Japanese failure to defend the Philippines were lack of planes, lack of experienced pilots, and the superiority of the U. S. GRUMMAN fighter over the ZERO and the fact that the P-38 could get such good altitude.

Launching sorties from bases in the occupied Philippines presented special problems, chiefly because the Filipinos were hostile to the occupying Japanese forces. This had its small benefits. It helped instill and sustain a stronger fighting spirit and the sense of antagonism essential for those on kamikaze missions. In addition, in the Philippines the Japanese still had a belief that they would prevail. Better aircraft were used than in the Okinawa Kamikaze attacks, more seasoned pilots were generally at the controls, and more often than not they were protected by fighter escorts. These differences had a considerable impact on the emotional state of the Kamikaze pilots, and ultimately, on their view of life and death.

Zero photo courtesy of C. Peter Chen, World War II Database
Color photos courtesy of Gino T. Manalastas

International Aviation News

To stay connected to Aviation Philippines right click Orange links and open in new TAB or Window.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

RC Flying in Dumaguete

RC modeling is well established in the Philippines. There is an annual competition called the PNATS, based in part on the U.S. AMA system, and the FAI (Fédération Aéronautique Internationale) rules. Predominantly Pattern flying, Helicopter flying and funfly events are held. This years competition will be held in Bacolod, Negros Oriental.

There are dedicated groups of flyers all around the Philippines with groups active in Luzon, Angeles City, Manila etc., plus in Dumaguete and Bacolod, Negros Oriental. Other flyers have fields and clubs scattered all over the Philippines. If your out there reading this let me know about your group.

Here are some photos of Harry Taylor's 1/3 scale Extra 300 on it's maiden flight in Dumaguete. Harry is a member of the Dumaguete Aeromodelers club, and competed in pattern aerobatics when living in the U.S. I happened to be there with a camera on the big day and captured these photos. This giant true to scale model of a full size aircraft, has a 100cc gas motor for power. It will go straight up out of sight, and is capable of every aerobatic maneuver it's big brother can perform.

Citabria roll in Luzon

Here is a short video of a Bellanca Super Decathlon doing a roll. Instruction flight from Omni Aviation at Clark. Instructor showing his stuff on way home.

Video courtesy of Carlo and Tonet, from Flying in Crosswinds, at Flying in Crosswinds

Helio Courier high wind landing

This Helio Courier made a high wind ultra low speed landing at the 12th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, February 2008. He dumped it right on the spot with a last minute flair, nice.

Video courtesy of Carlo and Tonet, from Flying in Crosswinds, at Flying in Crosswinds

Thursday, March 20, 2008

cool hang glider sim

Dan Burton from the UK has made this little Java applet simulator. He is a hang glider pilot and simmer. It is the equivalent of the bubble popper game for flight sim nuts, simple but addicting. See if you can get to the goal and beat the other gliders. Very cool, and surprisingly realistic.

Here is a screen shot, not so clear, but gives you an idea.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Philippine Flight simmers Group

Just found and recently joined this dedicated Philippine flight sim group forum.

These guys are on top of their game with backgrounds, landscapes, and add ons for local airports around the Philippines. They even have plane repaints for their own airline, Philskies. Many are using Microsoft flight sim, if not all of them, and are avid supporters of the hobby. So if you are a flight sim enthusiast in the Philippines check out their forum.

Paragliding in the Philippines

Paragliding is gaining popularity in the Philippines. There is incredible potential here in Negros and many other locations throughout the mountainous regions of the Philippines. In addition there are many coastal bluffs which just cry out to be flown. The problems center around accessibility, sources of supply, and infrastructure. This is changing. There are a handful of dedicated Paragliding enthusiasts here in the Philippines.
There is a Yahoo group for sharing interests and information.

Here are some paragliding sites located in the Philippines.

1. Montalban Rizal - This site is 1 hour drive east of Manila. 312 meters high. Good for west and west-southwest winds from June to October. Drive up. Plenty of flat space below for landings.
2. Dingalan Aurora - This site is 4 hours drive northeast of Manila. Coastal ridge at 253 meters high. Good for east and east-northeast winds from November to May. Bottom landing is on the beach. Top landing areas are plentiful.
3. Nabas Aklan - This site (called Max ridge) is 15 minutes drive south of Boracay island. Coastal ridge at +200 meters high. Good for east and east-northeast winds from November to May. Landing is on the beach.
4. Sta Cruz Zambales - This site is 5 hours drive north of manila. +500 meters high. Good for west and west-northwest wind from June to October. Site is drive up.
5. Sual Ridge Beginners site - This site is 5 hours drive north of Manila. Inland ridge at 76 meters high. Flyable all year round on both west and east sides for westlerly and easterly winds respectively.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Nardi FN-333 Riviera for Microsoft FSX

Simviation has a good list of add on planes for Microsofts Flight Simulator X. One in particular is nicely suited to flying around the Philippines and island hopping.

FSX Nardi FN-333 Riviera Package. Meticulously modeled and featuring animated gear, dampers, propellers, doors, and control surfaces, Dynamic Clickable VC (virtal cockpit). The classy looking Riviera amphibian is "Seabee" in Italian style... Built by Nardi and Siai-Marchetti, supposedly only 23 were built during the early 1960ies by Siai-Marcheti, the majority of them being sold to America. As every italian design, it is built to go fast. It seats 4 people including the pilot, the reversible propeller gives it superb manouverability in water (and taxi). It is a high-wing anphibian aircraft with double tailfin and pusher propeller. Read notes before flying! (FN333_check.htm, FN333_ref.htm & panel_FN333.htm, plus the document you are currently reading. This model features advanced flight dynamics, detailed external model, detailed photreal virtual cockpit and virtual cabin with night lighting, custom effects, etc. Design & Artwork by Mario Noriega. 15MB.

This description is acurate, and after downloading, I fell in love with this amphibian. Perfectly suited for tooling around either from land strips or water, it flys fast, and is very realistic. A sexy Italian design would not be complete with out a beautiful woman. So the authors have given you a nice up scale female copilot. Be careful don't get distracted while flying! This is a full featured aircraft worthy of anyones hangar.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Learning to fly in the Philippines

There are two methods of learning to fly in the Philippines. That is if you only desire to fly for recreational or personal reasons. These programs are available to both foreign visitors and Philippine citizens.
The first method is to take the standard PPL course culminatiting in a Private pilots license. The Philippine license is recognized in any International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) member country. U.S., Britain, etc. The conversion process varies from country to country.

This course requires 40 hours of dual and solo instruction, ground school and a medical certificate. The basic requirements are as follows;

  • Be at least 16 yrs old to get a Student Pilot's License, 17 for PPL liscense
  • Read, speak, & understand English.
  • National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Clearance. Check out for more info.
  • Immigration Clearance
  • X-Ray & ECG (submit at Air Transportation Office)
  • Medical Exam (ATO honors FAA medical)
  • Notarized Application Form
  • ID Pictures (2x2 & 1x1 white background, white polo shirt or preferably pilot's uniform).
  • Payment of corresponding fee.

The cost (based on the minimum hours required) about 280,000 Pesos, or about $7000 USD. depending on the current rate of exchange. This only an average fee, actual costs can vary depending on where you take your instruction.

If you would rather not go through this amount of training and expense, learning to fly an ultralight aircraft may be your alternative. There are active Ultralight clubs and flight schools in the Philippines. One, Angeles City Flying Club, uses the standard U.S. training manual written by Curtis Hughes and published by the United States Ultralight Association, Inc. (USUA).

Flight training is similar to the PPL course, but much shorter and less technical. Their is no license issued by the Philippine Aviation Authorities for this pilot training, You will be issued a certificate to fly ultralights which is recognized by the Philippine government. Airspace restrictions may apply depending on where you learn, and where you will eventually fly .

The full training course will include a least 30 flying hours. Of these a minimum of 10 hours dual and 10 hours solo are required. There is no formal separate ground school; the ground school is conducted in conjunction with the actual flight instruction. There is a written test and check rides are given in one of several tandem aircraft.

Maneuvers required are:

  • Straight and level flight
  • Climbs/descents
  • Stalls, power on/power off
  • Emergency procedures
  • Slow flight
  • Turns around a point
  • Normal and crosswind landings
  • Slow flight

Dual instruction in a Rans S12 will run approximately 3700 Pesos per hour ( 90 USD). Flying an average of 2 hours a day it would take about 8 days to first solo and 16 days to get the Sport Pilot Certificate.

Happy flying!

See links at the right for detailed information for each type of license.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Philippine Airforce

Heavily dependent on the U.S. for it's air defense, modernization of the Philippine airforce has been on hold. Recently with the help of U.S. anti insurgent advisors, especially in Mindinao, this is slowly beginning to change. Technology and hardware is being updated.

By the time the United States Armed Forces left the Philippines in 1991, the Philippine Air Force was direly in need of modernization. By the 1990s, it was still using 30-year-old F-5A fighter jets. The first aircraft to be acquired during its five-year modernization plan were the Aermacchi S-211, and the McDonnell Douglas MD-520MG Defender.

The planned purchase of modern fighter aircraft, with the IAI Kfir, F-16 Fighting Falcon, JAS 39C/D Gripen and the F/A-18 Hornet being the most popular choices, has been put on hold as the PAF concentrates in bringing its current fleet of aircraft into current and flyable standards.

Current efforts are concentrated on the acquisition of aircraft for counter-insurgency (COIN) operations, in particular, more helicopter gunships and transport aircraft. The PAF has put up a requirement for Night Capable Attack Helicopters (NCAH), and a replacement for the UH-1H, with 8 units planned initially. There is also a requirement for additional T-41 and SF-260 training aircraft.

At present the of the PAF inventory consists of:

17 -Aermacchi S-211 - for ground support and jet training
7- Aermacchi SF-260TP/-WP - for primary training and counter-insurgency (COIN)
14- North American OV-10A/-D Bronco - for light ground attack
15 -McDonnell Douglas MD-520MG Defender - attack helicopter
1- Sikorsky S-70A Blackhawk - multirole helicopter
4- Sikorsky S-76 Spirit - multirole helicopters
2 -Aérospatiale Puma - multirole helicopters
3- Lockheed Martin C-130B/H Hercules - heavy transport aircraft
2 -Fokker F27 Friendship - mainly as support to the Lockheed C-130 Hercules
2- GAF Nomad - light transport aircraft
18- Britten-Norman Islander - light transport aircraft
55 -Bell UH-1H Iroquois - for transport duties
1 -Fokker F28 Fellowship - mainly for domestic trips of the president of the Philippines
14- Cessna T-41 Mescalero - used for primary training
8 -Bell 412 - for VIP transport

Wherever possible the PAF has relied on local skills for modification projects as in the recent Huey II program.

The Philippine Air Force retired its fleet of Northrop F-5A/B Freedom Fighter with a ceremony on October 1, 2005. While retired, they are still being maintained and are serviceable in case of future need. The F-5s were used by the PAF's "Blue Diamonds" aerobatics team, and have appeared in several films and television programs shot in the Philippines.

Friday, March 14, 2008

US Navy planes raid Philippines

Here is a very interesting short video clip of U.S. Navy planes raiding Philippine targets during WW II. Notice the way the ship in one strafing run blows up with an incredible force. There must have been ordinance aboard.

If video is not visible as imbeded try this hyperlink: Navy planes raid Philippines

WW II Philippine Airfields

Here is a list of early WW II airfields and bases in the Philppines. Some have links to Google Earth.

Airfields & Seaplane Anchorages PhilippinesAlphabetical Listing (Icon indicates coordinate for Google Earth available)'Airfield' includes all wartime variations: Aerodrome, Drome, Field, Strip

Aparri Airfield (Aparri I, Aparri II)
Bamban Airfield
Bataan Airfield
Bayug Airfield
Buri Airstrip (Buro)
Caldera Seaplane Base (Recodo)
Clark Field (Clark Air Base)
Davao Airfield (Sasa, Francisco Bangoy)
Del Carmen Airfield
Del Monte Airfield
Dewey Boulevard Airstrip
Dipolog Airfield
Dulag Airfield
Floridablanca Airfield (Basa Air Base)
Grace Park Airfield (Manila North)
Guiuan Airfield (Samar)
Kindley Field
La Carlota
Lahug Airfield
Laoag Airfield (Gabu)
Lingayen Airfield
Malabang Airfield
Mangaldan Airfield
Matina Airfield (Navy No. 2)
Nichols Field (Manila Airport, Nino Aquino Airport)
Nielson Field
Opon Airfield (Mactan Air Base, Cebu International)
Pampanga (San Fernando)
Porac Airfield
Puerto Princesa Airfield
Puerto Princesa Seaplane Base
Rosales Airfield (Carmen)
San Fernando Airfield
San Jose Airfield (McGuire Drome)
San Pablo Airstrip
San Roque Airfield (Moret Field)
Tacloban Airfield (Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport)
Tanauan Airfield
Zablan Field (Manila East, Murphy)

Flying around Luzon

Here is a taste of flying around Clark Economic Development zone and Manila in a Cessna 150. Nicely edited video...

Ultra light aircraft

Ultralight flying in the Philippines is well established and popular in a several regions. Angeles Flying club is a dedicated Ultralight flying organization in Luzon. Angeles Flying Club is located in Central Luzon just north of Manila, only 15 kilometres from Clark Special Economic Zone. The Central Luzon region contains the largest plains area of the Philippines. This makes it an ideal place to fly.

The Angeles Flying club offers flight training, rental aircraft, and Sport Pilot Certification. The Philippine Air Transportation Office Does not offer liscenses for Ultralight Aircraft but allows trained certificated pilots to fly in certain airspaces near Clark economic development zone. Flights outside this area can be arranged.
The club owns a small fleet of single seat and two person training aircrat. Their planes are Quicksilver MX-2's, A Rans S-12 65 HP, and a couple Max-Air ships.

See their link in the resources on the right.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Philippine Airline Companies

There are many ways to travel from island to island as well as internationally in the Philippines. Flying is the most convenient and in some cases as economical as other means. Here is a quick breakdown of the major hubs and the local airlines serving the Philippines.

Manila, Cebu, Davao, Clark, Subic, and Laoag are the international gateways, with the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila as the premier gateway. It is served by more than 30 airlines, which fly to different cities around the world.

The Mactan International Airport (MIA) in Cebu handles regular flights from Japan, Singapore, and Australia as well as flights from Hong Kong, the United States, and other major travel capitals. Davao International Airport handles regular flights from Indonesia and Singapore.

The Diosdado Macapagal International Airport and Subic Airfield in Central Luzon service both chartered and cargo planes. Laoag International Airport in Ilocos Norte services regular flights from Taiwan and Macau.

Philippine Airlines (PAL), the national flag carrier and considered “Asia’s First Airline,” remains the country’s biggest airline company. It has the largest number of international flights to the Philippines as well as domestic flights. PAL links Manila to 14 cities in 8 countries, and flies regularly to 41 domestic destinations outside Manila.

Cebu Pacific Air (5J), the low fare leader in the Philippines, is the country's leading domestic airline with the lowest year-round fares, most number of destinations, most number of routes, most number of flights, most number of passengers flown in its domestic network and newest fleet of brand new Airbus A320s, Airbus A319s and ATR 72-100s. It links Manila to 21 domestic destinations and the Philippines to 12 international destinations with its direct flights. It also makes its international and domestic destinations virtually accessible to each other through its extensive connecting flight network. The airline currently operates hubs in Manila, Cebu, Davao and soon, in Clark.

Other airlines that presently fly the Philippine skies are Air Philippines, South East Asian Airlines, Laoag International Airlines, Asian Spirit Airlines, and Pacific Airways – each serving popular tourist destinations at pocket-easy prices. For a more personal experience, chartered flights are available via small air companies such as Airspan Corporation (helicopters), A. Soriano Aviation, and Aerolift Philippines (small-to-medium-sized planes).

Microsoft Flight Sim X

Microsoft Flight Simulator X

Flying a good flight sim like the unparalleled Microsoft Flight Simulator X is a great way to get a sense of flying in the Philippines. Whether you are a seasoned pilot or a beginner, the realism offered in Flight sim X gives real time experience with accurate geophysical features.

For example if you are a VFR pilot flying an ultralight, it is easy to navigate by landmarks to find your way around. The limitation in the latest version is that the generic features assigned to rural areas do not give you accurate vegetation and or buildings to use as landmarks. That said, there is a third party add on that will allow you to use Google Earth terrain mapping with Flight Sim X. This will require two computers to run each program on a network. Plans are already in the works for Microsoft Flight Simulator 11, as they are calling it now, and this will include the Google Earth feature as part of the program. There are no details on what kind of system you might need to run such a resource intensive program. You can bet that a dual core 2 gig processor with 2 gigabytes of ram would be a minimum!

Siquijor fly by

As a test flight, I flew a DC-3 from Dumaguete Negros Oriental to Bacolod in Negros Occidental. Both small airports with limited infrastructure, I was able to easily set a VFR flight plan and do a stick and rudder flight using the compass and topographical land marks. Even set on low resolution on my laptop, I was able to pick out the prevalent landmarks to find my way across the Island. Of course if you use the ATC function everything is there for you as well.

As a potential pilot in the Philippines The Microsoft Flight sim X is a good way to familiarize yourself with the topography and the proximity of the various islands in the Philippines. The Dehaviland Beaver on floats would be a super way to explore all the nooks and crannies of the Philippines. On towards Negros Oriental

Here included are some screen shots of a flight from Siquijor Island to tiny Apo Island, part of Negros Oriental. Descent to Apo Island.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Philippine Air Safety Records

Philippine air safety records kept by the FAA show that the Philippines has a number one rating(out of 2). Records kept since 1945 show that there have been a total of 67 fatal occurances with 1118 fatal casualties. The data is interesting to look at for several reasons, for relic devotees, it gives dates and approximate locations for all accidents, as well as the type of aircraft. DC-3's take the number one spot for crashed type. Since the DC-3 was a stable flyer, this may speak to the sheer numbers of them here after WW II.

The data are indicative of the higher standards met by the Philippines as compared to other developing nations. Here is a link.
Aviation Safety

Silver Fox UAV Flies In The Philippines

The Silver Fox UAV.
by Cpl. Kamran Sadaghiani
31st MEUFort Magsaysay, Philippines (AFNS) Nov 05, 2007

Providing a forward set of eyes from above, the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, III Marine Expeditionary Force, launched the Silver Fox unmanned aerial vehicle for the first time to conduct an operational evaluation here, Oct. 19, during Amphibious Landing Exercise '08.
"The Silver Fox UAV system was provided to the 31st MEU by Advanced Ceramics Research based out of Tucson, Az. and the Office of Naval Research, in order to conduct an extended user evaluation of the system in support of 31st MEU operations," said Maj. Brendon Harper, the MEU's intelligence officer. "This week of operations was certainly an important and successful beginning to the continuing evaluation of the system to support MEU operations throughout the Asia-Pacific region."

Throughout a week-long assessment of the Silver Fox's capabilities to support the MEU's operations, the four-man operator team comprised of Marines from the MEU's intelligence section, conducted many successful flights and supported the actions of the MEU's Battalion Landing Team at Fort Magsaysay, said Capt. Jude Shell, the MEU's assistant intelligence officer.
"Essentially, the (Silver Fox) has primarily been used in desert environments where the terrain and vegetation are rather benign," said Shell, a native of Anderson, Ind. "However, the MEU's area of operation in the Asia-Pacific is completely opposite from the desert," explained Shell.
"The environment here consists of weather that is less than favorable, and there are additional planning considerations with terrain and vegetation that typically are not encountered in locations such as Iraq." said the native of Anderson, Ind. "These aspects can affect flight and the ability of the sensor to operate properly. Ensuring that the Silver Fox UAV's abilities suit the 31st MEU is an important part of this extended user evaluation," Shell added.
Flying the Silver Fox UAV in an "all weather environment" with heavy rain and high humidity provided very valuable learning experiences for the pilots who were trained in the dry, arid desert of Tucson, Az. "This is a piece of equipment we can use in the forward battle space. As a forward deployed unit, we typically operate in a self-sufficient environment and anything that is a force-multiplier becomes a valuable tool for us," said Shell.

Weighing 25 pounds with a wing-span of eight feet, the Silver Fox is a small, lightweight, rapidly deployable short-range Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance system designed to provide commanders with day and night surveillance capabilities, said Cpl. Jesse Urban, an intelligence specialist and a Silver Fox Flight operator with the MEU.

"This is an important asset for us because the Silver Fox can support a wide variety of missions, ranging anywhere from route reconnaissance, rear-area security, search and rescue, to battle-damage assessment," said Urban, a Minneapolis native.

Shell added that the Silver Fox provides the MEU information on intelligence gaps that other assets may not be able to provide in a time-sensitive fashion.
"Most importantly, as a maritime contingency force, the MEU requires a system that is quickly deployable, flexible, mobile and compact. The Silver Fox provides that," said Rafael Gaytan. Gaytan deployed to the Philippines with the MEU and is a Silver Fox instructor from Advanced Ceramics Research.

"I like the flexibility of the whole system and how easy it is to deploy. You can set it up on a Humvee and be completely mobile and miles away from the objective area, which makes it a great (Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) asset."