Imagine this scenario:
A twenty-something professional wakes up at 4 AM everyday while everyone else in the household is sleeping. Why, you ask? Because like most of us, she needs to get to work on-time and to avoid the terrible traffic from where she lives, she has to wake up extra early. So she heads to work, spends 8 hours in front of a computer, and wait the hours draaag until her shift ends at five.
But today it’s quite different at work. It’s extra boring. LOL.
Then enters our favorite distraction, Facebook. There she sees a new video post by a friend that went skydiving recently. Of course, #pinusuan, but she was envious. In her mind, she asks, “why can’t I do the same?” Then one thing led to another…
That’s a true story by the way. If you relate to the story very well, then I welcome you with a big hug.
I can’t go skydiving, at least not at the moment. I knew it was time to try something else that I have been watching for a while and that was either to fly a small plane or go paragliding.
I invited friends to join me and a little Googling plus some phone calls and Facebook messaging sealed the plan.
On a fine, hot day in March, we went to Angeles city in Pampanga to try ultralight flying. In case you didn’t know yet, this is how an ultralight aircraft looks like.
It’s one big wing with a tail, a gas tank in the middle and right beneath the wing, and of course, the seat that can occupy 2 persons at the same time. It looks frightening to ride it up in the air when you look at it. You wouldn’t think it can stably fly because it’s too small and thin.
There are other types of aircraft in Angeles Flying Club. You can choose which aircraft to fly but the rates vary.
This light aeroplane can fly smoothly under very good wind conditions. The vast fields in Pampanga make for an ideal spot to fly and with that comes breathtaking views too.
The entire session includes 15-minute ultralight flying and an orientation by the pilot and an on-ground staff. The staff will help you get settled in. They will show you how to properly buckle and adjust your seatbelts to wearing your safety glasses.
The pilot will teach you the controls of the aircraft. There was only one lever, if I remember right and pulling it left or right will also send the aircraft to that direction.
Finding yourself up in the air while riding an open, small aircraft can be quite unnerving. Even if you’re seated and buckled tight you’ll see on either side and below you that you are hundreds of feet above the ground with no walls or barrier of any sort to hold you. You just hang on to dear life by clasping on your seats. What I find even funnier was the fact that I couldn’t reach the plane’s foot rest! I am in no way like the Caucasian pilot beside me with long legs. LOL. So I had to find a place for my feet or else they’d be left dangling in mid-air.
Securing your spot
Angeles Flying Club is very responsive on Facebook. They even offered to pick us up at Dau. If you are arriving there early, you can take the club’s shuttle service that is available in the morning and it can also take you back to Dau in the afternoon.
1. Once at the main entrance gate simply tell the guard that you are scheduled for a session and he will direct you to the club reception area.
TIP: Give them a call a few days before your planned trip to secure your schedule.
2. Register your names at the reception and pay for the ultralight flying fee of Php2500. You also sign a waiver and once completed, they will hand you a small laminated card with a number on it. This indicates when it’s your turn to go into the field and fly their plane. Usually, the pilots will call on the next flyer.
3. Once seated, make sure that all seatbelts snugly fit. Ladies are also advised to tie their hair up in a bun or ponytail. The winds can get strong once above the ground and your hair can distract you from fully enjoying the experience. Lastly, wear your safety glasses. These are supplied to you together with the number after you sign-up.
TIP: The club has its own swimming pool and the management allows their guests to swim until the club closes at 5 PM.
Cameras or mobile phones are allowed while up in the air, however, the pilots didn’t really encourage us to take selfies and hold our gadgets during the flight. There is a risk of your gadgets slipping from your hands or getting blown away by the wind.
How to get to Angeles Flying Club
Angeles City Flying Club
Woodland Airpark, Sitio Talimundok, Brgy. Sta. Maria,
Magalang, Angeles, Pampanga
*For directions and contact info, click on the map marker and the arrow button below.
Ride a bus going to Angeles or Dau. From the terminal in Dau, ride a jeepney going to Concepcion. It becomes a bit tricky to know exactly where to alight because there are no prominent landmarks but to be sure, tell your driver that you are going to the Angeles Flying Club. Go down when you see a small intersection and a tricycle lane at one side. Ask one of the tricycle drivers to take you to the club. It’s going to be quite a long ride but you will not miss the Flying Club entrance gates and most if not all tricycle drivers there know where to find it.
Head here and try ultralight flying to conquer your fear of heights or simply feed that thirst for an adrenaline rush. The money you’ll spend will be worth the experience, excitement, and thrill.