CAMBODIA FLIGHT -- January 2004

Dear Cambodia Flying Club and Thai Flying Club and Anyone interested to Join our Cambodia Flying Adventure in 2004 -

A group of aircraft from Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and Thailand are planning a trip through Cambodia in January 2004. Some of your members may already know about this, however I would like to give you some more information.

So far, there are 15 aircraft, ranging in size from Cherokees to an Aerostar and a Navajo. We expect 30 some people to be included. We are now contacting PTT in order to position avgas at Phnom Penh, where we will need approx 1000 US gals.

Our Route is;
VDPP-VDRK on Jan 12
VDRK-VDPP(fuel only) - Kep on Jan 14
Kep-VDPP (fuel only) - VDSR on Jan 15
( for more information, please refer to )

I expect that some of the aircraft may have seats available, and should some of your members so wish, it may be possible to offer to take some of them on the legs within Cambodia. For your reference, we have asked Prince Panya if he would like to join us. I would appreciate your comments on the above.

Please contact me if you are interested to join this trip,
Jon Elliott (in Singapore)

Dear Prince Panya,
1. We are now progressing well with the arrangements for our flying visit to Cambodia. So far, we have 14 aircraft who have indicated they wish to participate, from as far away as Australia. I believe that this will be a major event in the S.E Asian aviation calendar, and we are all very excited about it! During a planning meeting last night, it was suggested that, as you have shown such interest in General Aviation, perhaps we could invite you to join our tour as a guest.
2. Our route and schedule is as follows;
3. Arrive Phnom Penh Jan 11th around noon Depart for Ratanakiri next morning, and stay there until 14th morning, when we go back to Phnom Penh to refuel and on to Kep. We would like to night stop at Kep on Jan 14th, then fly back to Phnom Penh to refuel and on to Siem Reap. We would stay at Siem Reap for the night of Jan 15, then depart for Thailand.
4. We will be stopping at Bang Phra, the Thai Flying Club, before and after visiting Cambodia.
5. We would be honoured if you could find time to accompany us for this trip....we could meet up when we arrive in Phnom Penh on Jan 11th, and if you wish, could travel with us until we leave Cambodia from Siem Reap. Alternatively you could meet us at Bang Phra and accompany us until we again pass Bang Phra on the way home. We would be delighted if you could come with us, and can promise a wide selection of aircraft in which you could fly!
Please let me know if you would be able to join us.
With best regards,
Jon Elliott
STATUS - 26 October 2003
Gentlemen - 
Time marches on, and we should now freeze the list of participating acft, so we can arrange fuel etc etc. I would therefore appreciate if you would let me have your response to the following questions;
1. Acft type/reg/owner/operator
2. Expected POB. (no need to be too accurate yet)
3. What avgas uplift you need, based upon the schedule contained in my email of 9/4/2003 ?
4. If you will be joining us at the start ex WMKJ, or at some other point along the way ? Similarly, if you will be splitting off before the end of the trip. I need the dates, too, please.
5. If you have any strong preference for hotels along the way, or any "must avoid" suggestions. Otherwise I will try to pick comfortable, not backpacker, standard.
6. I have a response from the Cambodian DCA and we are set to make our flt approval application. I also have to get PTT moving on the fuel, which may take time to position.

From: Archie Hall
Date: 28 October 2003
Hi There Boys & Girls - 
1. Those pilots concerned about the status of Kep Airfield... Here are the thoughts of this old farang (barang) flyboy. 
2. Kep is a beautiful grass strip, originally built by the Japanese in 1942. Although no facilities are available, it remains suitable for safe DAY VFR operations for aircraft up to the DC-3/C-47, C-46 category. So, in other words, light aircraft will be "no problem" ("OTT-PHAN-YA-HAA"). I have personally walked the grass runway a few months back. 
3. I recommend in addition to GPS, that all pilots thoroughly familiarize themselves with Tactical Pilotage Chart TPC K-10D, Sector VS "Victor Sierra" for best detailed (Scale 1:500,000) data. Note: Kep airfield does not appear on this chart, however, it is very easy to locate.
4. From TPC K-10D, Sector VS, locate Kep. Notice the offshore Island "HON AN 
TAY" (ELE. 512') This is the Vietnamese name (Kampuchea name is "KOH TONSAI") 
Anyway, plot due East approx. 1 NM then due North (True) for approx. 5-6 NM and 
your there!
5. Runway layout is I recall, NE-SW. It is roughly 1500M long with solid 
subsurface. Pilots should review their "Soft/Short Field" procedures & techniques. 
Recommend having CFC Ground Support Team (with hand held VHF, compass & GPS) erect temporary wind sock or "pop" smoke? for landing aircraft.
6. Note: Prince Panya and other CFC members may have GPS coordinates as well as 
ariel photographs to share? 
7. Caution: As you can see from the chart... you are rather close to the VN 
border, so try not to wander into VN territory while sightseeing. There are many 
adequate Guesthouses in Kep + better Hotels and restaurants/night clubs in 
nearby Kompot. Have hosting Khmer speaking CFC members arrange to post "security" 
detail for those aircraft left unattended or overnight. Have fun & remember to 
take lots of pictures.
Archie Hall
The following coordinates were obtained from Ken Merlet with his ultralight.
N 10*32'
E 104*22'
About 100 m past the runway's threshold (marked with concrete made arrows and a large concrete made "07" indicating the orientation), there is a small trench that cross entirely the runway. It is because there is a large sewer type of pipe (excuse my english !) underground 
designed to prevent one side of the runway to be more flooded than the other side. But this tube is now collapsed and it creates some large holes.
Maybe another 100 or 200 m further down the runway, there's the same phenomenon with another "overflow pipe, but it is only slightly broken, although noticeably. The "hole" is shallower.
Aircrafts could only land safely past the second pipe, but then the strip is not so smooth anymore. In the first part (between the original threshold and the pipes), it's almost impeccable laterite. But after, it is really rugged with small mounts about 1 foot high. They are very close to each other, making riding a dirt motorbike at any speed very difficult. I doubt a Cessna could safely land on that surface.
Due to the above new information and in the interest of safety, it is with regret that I must withdraw my recommendation of the Kep Airfield. It is NOT AVAILABLE for normal use at this time. 
Until such time as verification of repairs can be made. I feel that only those pilots highly experienced in STOL operations into high risk landing areas should even consider landing at Kep.
Those CFC members and supporters in Cambodia wishing to host the proposed Fly-in at Kep, may take it upon themselves to make the required repairs and notify those pilots and their organizations when those repairs are complete. Digital photos should accompany notification to all?
Dear Tom, When I had walked a large portion of the Kep Airstrip nearly a year ago, it was, in my opinion NOT really in that bad a shape. Unfortunately, SHIT HAPPENS! Since then, the entire region has suffered periods of torrential rains and flooding. I would venture to guess that the field has deteriorated since my last visit. My apologies are sincere. But more importantly, I want no pilots to attempt a landing at Kep when the result will be an assured catastrophe! 
Let's NOT TOTALLY TRASH the idea of including Kep on the Fly-In's itinerary JUST YET. 
On the contrary, this may act as a "wake up" call for those CFC members, supporters and those in the Government who would wish to see the Fly-In be a success. Yes, let's all HOPE that there are those in the Cambodian government who ALSO wish to see this event succeed as well? It may be the time for you (TFC, MFC, etc.) and those in CFC who would like to host a visit to Kep to request DCA and HIGHER for help in making these repairs happen? 
There are Caterpillars and back hoe tractors in the area that could remedy all of Kep's problems in less than a day, if THE RIGHT PERSON were to view this as an important issue? You are both clever AND DIPLOMATIC. Maybe a formal request is in order? I defer to your expertise in these matters on this? Remember The airport at Kep has been of little importance for over half a century. Why is it suddenly NOW so important? Those who are capable of repairing it MUST believe that there is SOMETHING IN IT FOR THEM.
I personally was witness to my good friend Arnold Sundquist's call to action last year at Bong Tum, a remote fishing village in Kampong Cham province. In a matter of hours he arranged for several pieces of heavy equipment to MAKE a road from Hwy. 7 into the village. This was several kilometers including pushing huge boulders and filling in low spots as needed. The road has probably been washed out today due to flooding, but my point is, amazing things CAN happen! 
I feel that Kep, Kompot, Bokor Hill station and Sihanoukville would all be a delightful side trips to add to the itinerary, but only if it ends in success, NOT disaster! 
So, for the time being, and in the interest of SAFETY, we ALL MUST ONLY BE DISSEMINATORS OF FACTUAL DATA RE: KEP'S FIELD CONDITIONS. (2) Put plans on HOLD (NOT CANCEL) until improvements can be verified. Fortunately, TIME is on our side. Let's remain CALM and OBSERVE if there is any action taken on this 
matter? Then, make your final planned itinerary accordingly.
Archie Hall
P.S. Marvelous improvements have happened at VTBT in the past 5 years because there are those people who MADE them happen. Maybe it's contagious?

CFC trip progress report by Tom Claytor