Becoming a Bush Pilot

When I just earned my PPL license in Malaysia, I was told I should learn more Bush Pilot skills. Together with my instructor Lokman back then, and with another wannabe-bush-pilot, we set our minds on the Pantai Remis UIE airstrip in the middle of western Malaysia. This airstrip is privately owned by the UIE palm oil plantation, so we asked by phone if we could land and practice there.

We took off north from Simpang and climbed slowly all the way up to 9500 ft from which height we had a beautiful view on Perak. Under positive control of Lumpur Information, we obtain our descend clearance as soon as we saw the light green patch of the plantation headquarter settled in an immense dark green surrounding consisting only of palm trees.

Crosswind at Pantai Remis

Lokman briefed me the simple rules of short field landing on this particular strip:

  • On final select 40° flaps and keep enough throttle to overcome the additional drag
  • Descend on final on a shallow slope and aim to pass the palm trees (about 20m high) located at the threshold of the strip
  • Once you pass the tops of the palm trees with about 2m clearance, cut back the throttle completely
  • When loosing power, the airplane sinks rapidly. Once close to ground, the rate of descend is hampered by the ground effect.
  • When in ground effect, the airplane touches down quickly and you have landed in the grass in a very short distance

Check out this small movie on learning short field landing at Pantai Remis:

So, that’s what I did, and in no time I was at the ground. The airstrip is so peacefully located amongst all those square kilometers of palm trees.

C172 9M-AVR parked at the airstrip

We did like 6 short-field take-offs and landings until we completely had it fixed in our brains, then we set out for a short stop in Pangkor, and back home to Simpang. Great stuff !

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