Everyone wonders what it would be like to fly an aircraft. What many Phuket residents and expats don’t know is that here on the island you can have this amazing experience and also become a licensed pilot. All you have to do is become a student in the Phuket Flying Club which is a lot simpler than you might think. We met a flying instructor and a student in the Phuket flying Club, which is located in Phuket Air park, and asked him all the questions you would face if you decided to become a pilot in Phuket.
I became interested in aircrafts when I was a child and visited Aero exhibitions. I lived in Germany at that time. Coming back to Thailand it took time to save money. Later I started flying in Pattaya in a Thai flying Club and then I made my pilot license in Santa Monica California, USA. Then I bought a brand new plane – Mooney. It’s an American 4-seated plane, very fast one. Coming back to Thailand I started flying very frequently in my own plane from Bangkok to all over Thailand – Phuket, Сhiang Mai, Hat Yai. Later on, 10 years ago, I sold my company and bought a property with friends. When we bought it there was a rye field. And that’s how the Phuket Air park started.
Our Ultralight Flying School is located at the Air park which is in the East side of Phuket. The flying school is in accordance to ICAO international aviation organization. It is a course for the sport flying Ultralight pilot licence (UPL). It’s 15 hours and costs 120000 baht.
Normally we take the first flight around Phuket. During the first time a student can fly the plane, try to handle it and get answers to all his questions by flying for one hour. He can see all the beaches, which is very nice. After landing we have a post flight, we talk about it and normally the student is very happy that he can fly and look forward to the next lesson.
Normally our students can fly pretty well within three hours, under supervision.
At the end of the course the flying club propose to the Civil Aviation Authority that the person is ready to make a flight test. And after passing the test, which has written and practical parts, he becomes a pilot and gets his license.
The licence is issued by the Thai government but is under the rules of regulations of ICAO, which means that if you want to fly in the ICAO country you will just need to reapply. They call it endorsement. It is easy and works both way. If you come to Thailand you have to get the endorsement here as well.
To become a licenced pilot you have to be over 17 years old. Though I also have a 12 year old boy, he’s learning for fun, not for the license. But he’s learning very fast. I’ve noticed that the younger you are, the faster you learn to fly.
More information about Phuket Flying Club is on its website: http://www.phuketflying.com