Friday, April 28, 2006

Koh Tao: Like a flying fish

Shortly after I arrived on Koh Tao, an ad in one of the restaurants caught my eye. It was about a flying boat. The place being close to where I stayed I went to check it out and met Rafael, Israelian, owner of the shop, pilot and instructor, who was happy to answer all my questions. So now, three weeks later, after having done all my deep wreck diving and Bjarne's OW course, I showed up again and made arrangements for a little trial flight (about half an hour for 2800 THB only). As passenger of course.

Rafael set-up and prepared the FIB (Flying Inflatable Boat) did his pre-flight checks, got the boat pulled into the water and off we went!

After taxiing for almost 10' to get the right wind we effortlessly took off, rising higher and higher above the sea. Whow! Then we skirted the island's coastline for about 25' before smoothly landing back in Mae Haad bay.

The FIB only takes two people (incl. the pilot), securely strapped up, with a visored helmet and earphones for in-flight communication. Not that I said much, as I was just too enthralled enjoying the view.

Yeah, I could imagine myself learning to fly one of these. Just for the fun of it. Apparently it only takes about two weeks to learn (consisting of theory, about 15 hours of duo flights, 3 hours of solo flights & exam - all that for about 2000 USD).

I was not allowed to bring my own camera, to avoid it flying off on its own into the rear propeller. A precaution I accepted reluctantly. Unfortunately the FIB's wing-fixed camera didn't do its job properly, so I've got no in-flight pictures :o(

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