Saturday, August 28, 2010

Norman Experiences Storms and Triffids

Norman has sent an update about his day to day activities during his stay at Woodland Air Park near Angeles City on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. He has talked about the never-ending writing of emails and endless phone calls to the different agencies coordinating with him in his efforts to get the paperwork sorted out to enable the continuance of his journey, and of course the infinite waiting around for replies.

Norman’s stay at Woodland’s was exasperated by a massive electrical storm a few days ago that knocked out all the power to the region, leaving him without internet access and more importantly…air conditioning! A sticky situation only alleviated by having regular cold showers through the oppressive heat of the night.

This stormy scenario may have been on Norman’s mind as he flew towards Woodland Air Park last week after leaving Laoag, as can be seen from this photo of the gathering storm systems taken by Norman en-route.

(Time to be on the ground)
Norman did have a break from the frustrations of bureaucracy and managed to visit the nearby Clark Air Base. A major US base from 1903 until the USAF departed in 1991. It played a pivotal part in World War 2 and was a major base for operations during the Viet Nam conflict.

Below is a photo of Family housing for US military personnel at Clark AB during the 70’s and is included as a comparison to the photo taken by Norman on his visit.
(Family Housing 1970's Style)
Norman now tells us in his own words about his visit to Clark.

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Day of the (different) Triffids

I recently went for a 10 km walk with fellow pilot Jay Cooke (from the Angeles Flying Club) around the far flung corners of the old Clark US air force base situated nearby. After Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991 the base was wound down and much of the base housing (away from the main bustling central area around the runways) fell into an advanced state of disrepair.... this, despite the Base becoming a Freeport with minimal taxation in recent years. Much evidence of half renovated schemes that had apparently run out of money in recent years was plain to see as we progressed around. It was interesting all the same to imagine how this base housing must have appeared back in its heyday, a leafy suburban idyll no doubt, cocooned and protected in its own Little America.
Now, even newly constructed walls only a few years old are being smothered and re-consumed by sprawling, pervasive and encroaching “Triffid” like jungle flora. This all dominating, force of nature, taking command once again of its natural habitat without fuss, as it would have done after countless ground smothering and clearing volcanic eruptions in the past millennia, way before Military Aeroplanes and their sprawling, pervasive and encroaching Triffid like support mechanisms were ever invented....

I have added a photo of “officers housing” - a “leafy suburban dream home” it once undoubtedly was for someone....The new residents are definitely more leafy and less suburban....
(Triffids Reclaim the Kitchen)
Cheers Norman.

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  1. A really interesting account of Norman's trip to Clark Airbase. It was good to have the before and after photos to give a comparison between then and now. It's amazing to see how much Mother Nature has reclaimed.

    Many thanks for sharing your day out, Norman.

  2. Great photo - the one with the trees coming through the house - it really grabs one's attention, Norman. keep it up (no pun intended). Bren

  3. Such a wonderful photo showing the power of Mother Nature and her invasion of the house.

  4. Quote:
    "Endless paperwork and e-mails" in order to just fly a gyro across an island! How backward are these folks?
    Just go, Norman, fly the coastline and tank up along the beaches.
    Not much wonder I left the Brit Isles with it's stifling bureaucracy as well, emigrated to Vancouver and enjoy the freedom to fly my Cessna here and do my own maintenance for pennies.
    Good luck Norman and never give up.
    From a fellow countryman from near Garvagh, NI.

  5. Another great description from Norman. You really get a feel of what he is seeing and experiencing, backed up by some more amazing photos. I hope you get your A/C back on and can cool down some, but more importantly, fingers crossed that those agencies you talk about get their act together so you can return to your element...high in the sky, heading homewards.

  6. Many thanks for taking the time to share your side-trip with us. Very interesting. As ever, the bureaucrats seek to stifle enterprise - presumably just because they can. Let's hope the paperwork is sorted soon and that you have a good and safe journey home.

  7. John again...

    One positive thing that I can think of is the fact that this struggle to fly a gyrocopter over some areas will just make for a fatter and more interesting book!

    Now come on Taiwan, smarten up, give this man clearance.
    It's only a twin seat gyrocopter, not a USAF B2 loaded with nukes!

    John from Vancouver, Canada.