Avgas is scarce in this part of the world and only available at few airports. For planes that use Avgas, the Flight from KL to Palawan, Philippines is an exercise in fuel management. The shorter distance through Kota Kinabalu is approximately 1150 NM, over the ocean. This distance is beyond the range of my plane and there is no fuel available along the way. So, the plan was to start with full tanks from KL and carry additional 30 gallons of gas in my Turtlepac as cargo, land at Kota Kinabalu, transfer the gas from Turtlepac into the plane and then fly to Palawan, Philippines. However, because of the Singapore controller turning me back from almost halfway to Kota Kinabalu, all this well laid plan fell apart.
After returning to KL, Singapore ATC forced me to take the much longer land route through Kuching to Kota Kinabalu and then on to Philippines. With this route the total distance is over 1400 NM. Under tailwinds or no wind conditions, I still could have manage to do it with my original plan of carrying additional gas as cargo. But on my day of flight from KL to Kuching, I encountered strong headwinds and ended up using 10 gallons more than planned. So, even after, transferring the 30 gallons from the Turtlepac in Kuching, I am about 10 gallons of Avgas short to reach Palawan safely. There is no Avgas here. I am stuck here for past three days trying all possible avenues to get Avgas but nothing so far, I am getting desperate.
As luck would have it, I ended up making contact with Sam Wong a friend of a friend. Sam finds out that Sabah Flying Club at Kota Kinabalu uses Avgas, but were down to the last barrel themselves. However, upon learning that my flight is a charity flight and the desperate situation I am in, the Sabah Club members committee with the blessing of President Mr. Leonard Chin, unanimously approved to give me half of their last barrel. Great show of support for my mission and a fellow pilot in need. I will never forget the heartwarming reception accorded to me by all the flying club members when I landed at Kota Kinabalu to take this gas. Thank you Sabah Flying Club for coming to my rescue!
I landed safely at Palawan, Philippines now, will get back home someday somehow. I am sure that all the difficulties I faced along the way will turn into GOOD memories when I am done.
Next stop Okinawa, Japan!