Category Archives: Fun Flying

RC Flying in Coron, Palawan

The Philippines has hundreds of beautiful and easily accessible islands. Coron is definitely in the top 5 must visits destinations here.

Got a chance to visit Coron mid year sans FPV rig..brought the good ‘ole Hitec Skyscout and did a couple of flights.

Sunset flying over Mt. Taypas, Coron, Palawan

Sunrise RC flying over Lualhati Park in Coron

Another flight over another small island that ended in another almost EOL for the Skyscout!



FPV flying in beautiful Batanes, the Philippines

Batanes has three major islands: Batanes (the main island), Sabtang and Itbayat.  A couple of airlines have daily flights to the capital Basco.   Unlike the rest of the Philippines, the Batanes islands, because of its location, has 4 seasons similar to other northern climes ie Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. The only thing it doesnt have is snow!  This means that for most of the year, its a little colder and, on average, windier than the rest of the country.  For FPV flyers it just means more patience (and luck!) is needed for most of the months.  The locals say the winds are calmer from mid-March until May.

Ok here’s the lowdown:

1)  Safety –  Batanes only has 17,000 people spread across several islands. Even in the capital of Basco, rush-hour means seeing a couple of vans going around (mainly shuttling tourists).   The areas I’ve flown in are largely uninhabited and I was told the airport does not accept air traffic from 3pm onwards.  The runway also has a “one-way in, one-way out” — the words of our pilot — policy landing from the west-end and taking off in a west-ward direction regardless of wind direction.  Good info to know if one is flying several hundred meters (or km!) up.

2) Wind – hills and small valleys, can make for an exciting landing.. I soon learned that landing on small roads on ridges on a windy day is a big no-no.   Thats because after hitting the side of a hill, wind speed accelerates as it escapes on top.  It gets worse in the intersection of two hills which forms a funnel-like valley.   The best option is to land on the side of the hill with no wind. Which means, higher throttle on the approach — as you will lose the head wind  since the hill where you will be landing will now acts as a barrier — and then pitch up at the last minute, so you’re basically landing uphill.

Here’s what I took away from this visit:  Hills = Gusts.  Sea Headwind < Land Headwind.

3) Interference –  Virtually none.

4) FPV Locations – the best bet location (for safety, wind and scenery) for long range FPV is the “Songsong Iraya” coastal road.  It’s located in the north-west part of Basco and its the road leading to the garbage disposal facility.  No villages, just some cows and lots of open space to crash in =)

For a little bit of challenge (wind!, some tourists but the best scenery) go to the “Marlboro Country”, this is on the east side of the island (yes facing the Pacific) and the scenery is breathtaking.. you’ll be able to take videos of the farm lands, a defunct (but well kept) light house, the ocean and the surf!  Hill-side landing is the key to an intact plane here.

I saw at least 7 spots thats excellent for FPV in Batanes and Sabtang Islands.. but only flew in 4 of them.  I’ll post the vids of them soon.  In the meantime, here’s the vid of the 2.5km flight from “Songsong” road:



Flying over T3 (Tumana Tamarind Tree) in Marikina

I was finally able to fly in T3 at the banks of the Tumana River in Marikina a couple of weeks ago.   There are two flying fields, the smaller one is an abandoned subdivision which is adequate for quads, choppers and park flyers. A bigger one is available for larger scale planes, nitros etc and the occasional maiden flights.  This site is being set up as a vehicle impounding area by the MMDA, its quite new and while its not being used yet for its purpose.. RC enthusiasts are allowed to use it.  The flying zone is quite big extending about  1.5km to the north, all farm land and the banks of the river.  It can be windy and tracking on the downwind leg can get really dicey.

Update 2013-12-02: heard that the larger “upper” field will be off-limits soon to non-MMDA personnel =( So this could be one of the last videos of the field being ’empty’.

Update 2013-12-05: It looks like MMDA is now using the ‘upper’ field  24/7.  Well it was good while it lasted.


Flying over Panglao, Bohol

Had the opportunity to visit  Panglao over the weekend.  After the 7.1 earthquake the resilient Boholanos did all they could to immediately get back on their feet and just over a week later almost all the tourist spots were reopened. Even the Hinagdanan Cave in Panglao was already open.   Unlike the western side of Bohol, Tagbilaran City (the capital of Bohol) and Panglao to the south, did not suffer any major damage (though the two bridges connecting Bohol and Panglao was raised by more than a foot by the quake).

Here’ a video of Panglao from the air.. using the Hitec Skyscout, Gopro and Lemon DSM RX (erstwhile known as Orange RX).  At under $10 the Lemon is a very very capable alternative receiver and is more than enough for short, fun flights.. a Lemon it is not.

Here’s the vid: