My stay at Kuala Lumpur is really a story of the Devil and the Angels. I stayed with Dr. Thanikachalam, a classmate of my wife. He is great and his hospitality could not be any better. After spending a night at his residence. I got ready for the next leg of my journey to Kota Kinabalu Malaysia, 883 NM over the ocean. It was raining and thunder storms at the airport, but the forecast along my route of flight was for clear skies and tailwinds all the way. Obviously, I was itching to go. Fortunately, I got a break in the local weather, I took advantage of it and departed. My flight was under Malaysian controllers for the first hour and they were extremely nice. But then as I entered Singapore air space I was handed over to a Singapore controller.
The South China Sea, controlled by Singapore ATC, is an area where either HF radio or satellite phone is required for communication. This controller asked me if I had a satellite phone. I did and I told him so. He then asked me to make a test call to him on my satellite phone. Unfortunately, my satellite phone (a brand new one at that) refused to work. While I was trying to sort out what was wrong with the phone, this controller, started to get very impatient and became extremely rude. Even though, he was communicating with me through airline pilots who were flying in the area and were nice enough to be go between us. All that was needed was that I be able to relay my position reports at reporting points. It was OK to do that through Airline pilots when I crossed North Atlantic. But this Devil refused to accept that and told me he had cancelled my clearance and I must turn back immediately. Nothing like that had ever happened to me before. I pleaded with him that I was almost half way to my destination and he should let me continue. He refused to budge and made me turn back. Seeing me back in KL every one including the controllers at KL were perplexed. They told me that this should have never happened and the controller had no authority to cancel my clearance midway and turn me back. Even more so, when the weather at KL had rapidly deteriorated beyond safe. Anyway, I learned my lesson and will never be bullied by a Devil controller again!!
Back in KL the staff at Skypark (my agents), Ms. Tan Bee Wah, Manager Customer Relations, Sri Ganesh Thangarajai, Senior Executive, Ronald James Abrahams, Operations Consultant, Ibrahim Bin Gulong, Operations Supervisor and their entire staff, I must say are all Angels. I have never in my life met a nicer group of people than these. They were extremely attentive to all my needs and without me even asking for it, put me up in their crew room for two days (or however long I needed to be in KL) at no cost. I am not even sure where to begin, but I know that without the incredible generosity and hospitality accorded to me by all of Skypark staff, I could not have started on the next leg of my journey. I can certainly say Skypark customer service is way beyond one could ever expect. For this I sincerely thank them and will never forget meeting these Angels. Thanks Skypark, you are the best!!!!!
Now I am at Kuching, Malaysia and just been told they have no Avgas here. I will have to wait until it arrives from Singapore. Don’t really know when. May take several days.