© Copyright World Flight 2002







May 17th - Patna, India to Chiang Mai, Thailand
8 hr 23 mins non-stop flying

Patna (VEPT)- Chiang Mai (VTCC)

Another three hours of filling in paper work was required before we could get out of Patna. Once you accept this delay and understand the process it is very pleasant to deal with all the airport authorities. With the aircraft loaded and ready to go we called for a clearance to start up. Informed of a ten-minute delay we climbed out of the cockpit and took refuge under the wing to escape the blistering sun. Eventually we gotairborne at 1100 hours local time. We were cleared direct to Calcutta.

The weather on route was exactly as forecast with increasing amounts of cloud cover as we moved south eastwards. After Calcutta we said goodbye to India and passed into Bangladesh airspace under Dhaka control. After flying for 2 hours across the northern tip of The Bay of Bengal we were about to enter Myanmar (formally Burma). However we were unable to contact Yangon control for a clearance to enter their airspace. The HF aerial was quickly dispatched out the back of the plane in an effort to contact Yangon Radio. Clearance was received just in time, when we were about two miles from the boundary. Increasing amounts of cumulus cloud are normal around here at this time of the year and with the aid of an onboard storm scope we safely navigated around the nasty thundery stuff. Moving into Myanmar the landscape changed from Paddy fields to mountainous jungle. Although to date we have traversed vast amounts of water, over jungle we became aware of how vunerable we were in the event of an engine failure or other emergency. We were struck with the beauty of the countryside and kept our camera busy.

Progressing south, light began to fail and landing at Chang Mai would be the first night landing since Crete. Yangon and Bangkok control both gave us short cuts enabling the total trip time to be shortened by an hour. Chiang Mai (1000' above sea level) is surrounded by high terrain and we left it until about 30 miles out to start our descent from 11000 feet. Although the wind favoured using the southerly runway, we were offered a choice of the northerly or southerly facing runway. As we were approaching from the south we accepted a 5kt tailwind on landing. ATC slotted us in ahead of a Thai Airways Airbus 330. Arrival here was in stark contrast to other airports so far. No handling agents in sight, we proceeded to the arrivals terminal on foot. Before immigration could be completed we were passed information on SARS and were questioned as to our whereabouts over the past few weeks. It was to be another hour before customs and immigration could be cleared. The delay was due to them not having the required forms for us to fill in.

Some friendly negotiations were made on our behalf by Apinya (local Thai girl working for airport security). When customs and immigration finally got things sorted they charged us 200 Baht ($5) for their overtime. Many thanks to Apinya and Yuvadee who helped us get through the airport's complex arrival system. We are resting here for three days before moving on to Phuket, Thailand. Owing to the increased risk of SARS in Singapore we have decided not to land here and will now refuel in Phuket. By not stopping in Singapore we will also avoid the possibility of facing quarentine in Australia on arrival.

On the way to the airport

Getting ready to go.

Leaving India

Over Calcutta heading East


Over the jungle of Burma
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Near Thailand Border. Cloud build up on route. CB Thunder Cloud in the distance
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Arrived in Chiang Mai. Apinya and Yuvadee helped us get through customs and immigration