Malaysian Wings organized a flying day at Subang Terminal 3 today and I had the chance to join them for my very first Cessna 172 flying experience. It was a “you-have-to-be-there” kind of experience because I can’t tell you exactly how exciting it was to fly a light aircraft. So I’m just going to show you a lot of pictures.
Flight path for today. Click here for a clearer version. Or download the kmz file to view using Google Earth. Color on the path indicates altitude. Red = lowest, violet = 1800 feet.
I brought my GPS for the flight and I logged the flight path on my PDA and converted it to view on Google Maps. Download the kmz file to view my flight path, complete with altitude. There were some places where some data were missing though.
Subang Flying Club was hosting us.
Waiting for MAB to give us our passes. We had to go through security checks as well.
Arrived at 0730 at Subang Terminal 3. There was a flight briefing from the instructors from Subang Flying Club. There were a lot of precautions when flying a plane. Since we’re going to be doing “aerobatics”, e.g. changing seats midair, some coordination was required. There was one incident whereby a flier accidentally switched off the magneto of the engine and caused an engine shutdown which changing seats. Other precautions like don’t wrestle the controls with the instructor, don’t walk into the propeller of the plane, and don’t puke on the plane. We were told to prepare a plastic bag just in case. Surprisingly, no one puked today.
When everything was done, it was time to meet the planes.
9M-RED. Incidentally, the plane is painted white and red.
These 2 Cessna 172 are the planes that we were going to fly today. I have always wanted to fly the 9M-RED because I’ve seen it take off many times when I was working at Hangar 1. Before we were allowed to fly, we were given a demonstration of a preflight check.
But before that, a group photo with the BLV. There were more than 10 cameras present. So this photo taking session took some time.
Air cooled 4 cylinder flat-four engine swinging a fixed pitch propeller. Propeller is checked for dents and nicks and unusual damage.
Next we need to check if the ailerons are connected properly. Make sure that the bolts, nuts and split pins are in their correct places.
Checking wing leading edge for damage. Also located on the wing leading edges: stall warning horn.
Remove the pitot tube cover before flying so you can get airspeed and altitude readings.
Manually check fuel quantity using a measuring stick. This is the safest way to ensure that there is fuel in the fuel tanks. Electronics sometimes can go haywire.
Checking for engine oil. The dip stick is similar to a car engine’s dipstick. 6 quarts is full. Refill if below that level.
Check your tyres and brakes. You can probably land without brakes in an emergency. But we don’t want any emergencies. Brakes are checked again before taxiing.
Again, checking the primary flight controls to make sure that they are in proper working condition. This is a trimmable elevator. Notice that the elevator has ridges? That is to strengthen it.
This is a piece of rubber strip located on the leading edge of the elevator. It prevents dents and nicks caused by stones thrown up by the main landing gears.
Cockpit of the 9M-BLV.
Full view. Very simple set of instruments.
Cockpit of the 9M-RED. A bit different from 9M-BLV.
Fliers listening tentatively to the instructors.
Then the time all of us have been waiting for arrived. It was time to take to the skies. We flew in pairs for 1 hour each so each of us were given the controls for 30 minutes. I was first on the captain’s seat. While waiting for a Firefly Fokker 50 to land, my instructor told me something that made my day: “I’ll let you do the take-off.”
Me flying a Cessna 172 for the very first time!
Taking off was easy. We go full throttle and when we reach 60 knots, we slow pull back on the control column. You don’t actually need to apply a lot of elevator. Just pull the control column about 2 cm back and the plane should slowly take-off. I’ve been reading up books on how to fly a Cessna so it was pretty straightforward.
MAS hangars as seen from above.
We headed off to 1500 feet and then to Port Klang. In 10 minutes, we were flying over tons and tons of containers. In the course of the flight, I learned how to turn the plane, maintain altitude, and basically just get the feel of the plane. It’s relatively easy to control. The instructor let me handle the plane by myself so I can fly it however I want, as long as I maintain 1500 feet. It’s good also to know that someone will save your skin if something goes wrong.
Communications is done through headsets because you’ll have to shout to be heard above the engine noise. It was pretty windy up there because there are ventilation ducts that channel outside air in. But it does get hot in the backseat.
Mosque at Shah Alam.
Shah Alam stadium with the go-kart track.
We got to experience some Gs when the instructor decided to show us some of his moves. First was the steep turn, then the steep climb and finally the dreaded steep dive. The turn and the climb was nothing much, but the dive was gut-wrenching. It’s unlike any roller-coasters I’ve been on.
After my 30 minutes was up I switched seats with Jerry to enjoy the scenery at 1500 feet. You can see very far at this height. Here are some pictures taken at that altitude.
Subang military base. 7 planes where got enough.
Somewhere in west Malaysia.
At the distance you can see Port Klang’s cranes.
We fly above this empty area so if we need to make an emergency landing, there’s plenty of space.
Here you can see the mosque and its surrounding buildings. It was unusually hazy today says the instructor.
Flying the Cessna was a huge eye opener for me. One of the best experiences I’ve ever had on a plane. I will defiantly get onboard and fly again. Now that I’ve logged half an hour of flying time, I’m one step closer to getting a Private Pilot License.
I have more pictures but they are with another friend. I will try to upload videos as well to make up for the 7 days of post-less void. Videos of in-flight views and landing to come shortly after I’ve uploaded them. Continue reading