Philippines Adventure February 2024

Prior to the pandemic the Philippine international hot air balloon fiesta #PIHABF took place annually. The event on 15-17th February 2024 was much welcomed return being the first for 4 years. 

This was the first time the #GlobalStars we have been invited to fly in the Philippines. Logistical planning started in early September 2023. 

The booking was for 2 aircraft. Conveniently we had Chris Burkett’s aircraft would be packed for shipping ready after Nanchang and then the Zhuhai shows and located in China. Chris Heames aircraft the second aircraft was in the UK and disassembled + packed for shipping in November. 

Various shipping options existed, and we chose a service with 2 further options of reaching destination in time. However world events caused by the countries participating in the “axis of evil/ terror”,  first caused delays with UK customs enquiring is the aircraft were weapons of war or could be converted as such….after sailing the ship had to be at anchor for 5 days in the Red Sea until one of HMG destroyers could escort us to safe waters past Houties missile attacks against shipping. The last delay was caused by the shipping line now being late on schedule using a different offloading port in China for the onwards shipping. We therefor missed the show with a pairs formation which was most unfortunate. The first time since 2007 this has happened. 

Traveling to Manila with Gulf Air via Bahrain was comfortable. However a tip for travellers is alcohol does not seem to be offered but wine is available if asked for with the meal 

It’s a long flight to the Philippines with just over 16 hours airborne. We arrived at approx. 18:00 and stayed in the city overnight prior to the 2.5 hrs drive to Woodland airfield, Angeles. This is the largest flying club in Philippines and has a thriving business on site offering experience flights and training.  

Our host Will Stoughton an Australian made us extremely welcome providing hangar space just 10 meters from the aircraft container. As with our normal procedure we assembled the aircraft on day 1 leaving all panels removed so a fresh eyes can do the initial and duplicate inspections the following day prior to check flights. 

 The PIHABF is a weekend of everything that flies. The first flights taking place at 6am with the invited guests from all over the world flying the special shapes balloons. Then paramotors, parachutists, ULM and then aerobatics. The event also hosted an FAI drone race contest. 

Chris Burkett and I, took it in turns to fly the 3 slots per day. Morning, afternoon, and twilight. The evening pyro show which was another first in Philippines. With the venue being 10nm away from Woodlands airfield and the centre line of Clark International airport to transit some very carful planning and precise times needed to be adhered to. I did manage to hold a flight sitting on the runway at Clark on one occasion. 

Being just 15’ north of the equator basically sun rise and sunset at 6am and 6pm and darkness appears quicker than at UK latitudes as the sun goes down vertically. 

As with other international shows I took my paramotor with me to fly in the evenings. With the extinct volcano Mt Aryate a few miles away at 3400ft I took the opportunity to fly and take a closer look. 

Immediately after the event Joy Roa very kindly invited all pilots for a short holiday to the islands of El Nido. This was very welcome and pleasurable. 

The Philippine adventure is to be continued.    

  • Subscribe to news updates by Email

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this news page to receive notifications of new posts.

    Join 1,660 other subscribers.
  • Recent posts

  • Pages

  • Top Posts & Pages

  • WhatsApp WhatsApp me