Above the skies (Ultralight plane flying)

Above the skies (Ultralight plane flying)

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Dreams do come true.
I was that typical 90’s kid who dreamt of becoming a pilot someday. I am pretty sure most of us played a paper plane, playing with our siblings pretending we are the pilot, shouting and making the sound of a plane “eeeeeeengggggg eeennnggggg ennnnnggggg” and most of the time running, waving real hard and waving goodbye when a plane takes off above the blue skies.

Growing up, that silly dream seemed to hide and nowhere to be found. Not until I saw a Facebook post about riding an ultralight plane that makes me want to try it right away. But it took me a very long time to go there because of my busy schedule. However, early this year I’ve scheduled my two-week Mandatory Vacation Leave. I finally had the time to go there and try it.  Searched them on Facebook and booked a Trial Instructional Flight (TIF) at Angeles City Flying Club, scheduled at 9 in the morning.

First things first.
What is ultralight plane/aviation? 

Ultralight aviation is the flying of 1-2 seat lightweight, fixed-wing aircraft, typically used in sports aviation. It comes in different designs.

Where is Angeles City Flying Club located?

Angeles City Flying Club is an ultralight flying club and flying school just two hours north of Manila. It’s the premier ultralight flying club in the Philippines. It is a non-profit, non-stock corporation certified by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

The club offers sport pilot training, ultralight rental, large hangars, and maintenance facilities. They have three 230 m2 hangars, a club house with office, training room, canteen, and a swimming pool with bamboo huts to shield you from the sun.

They are open to all who are interested in ultralight flying. Even non-members can try to fly an ultralight plane. Their mission is about safe, fun, and inexpensive flying for everyone.

You can experience ultralight flying at its best together with one of their experienced instructors. Their rates depend on how long you want to fly.

Rates are as follows:

15 mins – Php 2,466.00
20 mins – Php 3,584.00
30 mins – Php 4,468.80
45 mins – Php 6,552.00
60 mins – Php 7,392.00
Rates include 1 day free membership, you can also use their facilities like the Nipa hut and swimming pool for free for one whole day. Rates are per person or per aircraft. Maximum weight limit is 100kg or 220lbs.  Contact person is Joyce Ann Alfonso – 0916 456 8588

Their airpark is located at Woodland Airpark Talimundok, Sta Maria, Magalang, Pampanga.

How to Get There:
Go to Victory Liner Bus terminal in Cubao along EDSA or any bus going to DAU.
Board a bus going to DAU (fare is Php 130). Tell the driver your drop off point is DAU.
At DAU Bus Terminal walk a few steps going to McArthur Highway and wait for the ACFC Free Shuttle from Angeles. You may contact Joyce if you want to ride in their shuttle. The shuttle leaves at 7:00AM from KFC Dau via McArthur highway.
If you weren’t able to ride the free shuttle, ride a jeepney near KFC (fare is Php 15) to Concepción. Tell the driver to drop you off at the tricycle terminal of Dolores Magalang Intersection.
At Dolores ride a tricycle going to the Angeles City Flying Club (fare is Php 50).

It’s better to avail their free shuttle to save money and of course, convenience!
It’s better to do this in the morning.
You can have side trip to other destinations in Pampanga after this activity!
We arrived around 7:45 AM which is too early for a 9AM schedule. We had time to eat breakfast first. They have a roof deck restaurant, where you can eat and they serve delicious food and drinks. This is our view while eating.

Too beautiful right? I was stunned as the ultralight aircrafts took off and landed on the airfield. I was like a kid who was given lots of candies, too happy. Can’t describe the feeling, it’s too good.

While eating, our pilot Captain Max Guevarra (very humble, kind  and the best resident pilot of ACFC) approached and welcomed us, he told us to take our time, relax and enjoy the view. After eating our breakfast we went to their office to sign a waiver and pay for the Trial Introductory Flight (TIF), we availed the 15 minute flight.

Then after we signed and paid, one of their staff accompanied us to the airfield where Captain Max is waiting for us. As we walked towards the ultralight plane assigned to us, I was feeling a bit cold. I am feeling too nervous.. Whooooooo!!!

Ladies first, so there.. as adventurous and daring as I am, I sat on the left side of the open cockpit. He gave us some instructions on how to start the engine, how to use the controls while taxiing, what to do while flying, how to manouver the controls while flying and such things.

I was nervous and everything’s ready. He let me start the engine! Whooooo. This is it! He then tells me what to do while taxiing “Follow the yellow lines, Step on the right pedal… hit the break” then he took the controls as we are about to take off. Too excited for this! The ultralight started accelerating rapidly… we finally took off! Up, up and away! Can’t believe I was flying…

Up in the air, Captain Max pointed the mountain in front of us is the Arayat, I think we were flying for 5 mins until he said to me, take the controls  and take a video of you pilot-ing. He’s too kind to let me experience being a pilot for like 3-5 minutes, he’s too funny and cool, he would tell me that I take a video of us while he is pretending to be scared.. and sleeping while I am taking the controls. Hahahaha! Gaaaaaahd, I will remember this my whole life, Thank you so much Captain Max 

Then he’s telling something, I think he’s pointing out the places like Mt Pinatubo, Candaba Swamp, Hacienda Luisita, I can barely hear him because of the sound of the wind up there. He then took the controls and let me enjoy the scenery, took photos and videos of it.

This experience is really one for the books! Paid for 15 mins ride only but he extended it for 20 mins! Too kind! And we are slowly descending and about to land… Captain Max really is the best!

As we landed, he then again let me do the taxiing. Turned right and hit the break, that was the best 20 minutes of my life!

Took selfies, IG worthy photos on the ultralight plane, and in their hangars. Not everyday we can experience this, that’s why we took a lot of photos and seized the moment. Had also a mini chat with one of their maintenance staff, he asked me how was my ride. I said my cheekbones and jaws cramp for smiling real hard while on the air. I’m too happy! Hahaha. I had a really great time!

After that, we went to their training room where Captain Max is resting, he let us in and have a chat with him. He’s super kind. Simply the best!

As I posted my photos in FB someone made a comment and asked if flying an ultralight is dangerous? No, it isn’t. I read that in some ways ultralight flying is among the safest ways to fly. They are very light and they fly slowly. They are well-designed and are constructed from high-quality materials. And while the engines used on ultralights are not perfect, a well-maintained engine is a reliable machine which provides more than enough power to do the job. I asked the pilot, he said if an engine fail (they sometimes do) ultralight planes glide very well and can land slowly even on short landing strips.

So there, what are you waiting for? Book for that ride of your life! It’s worth your money! I swear.

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