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James Bond Three Arrival into Phuket

by Art on

Flying in the Tropics Flying during the late morning hours in the equatorial tropical zone just about ensures having to deal with some weather. In the case of our flight from Chiang Mai in northern Thailand to Phuket in the south, we had almost 700 nautical miles to go and arriving in the Phuket area at noon, we had a bunch of heavy showers to circumvent. The approach controller at Phuket was nice but I had to ask for everything myself (as opposed to flying in the USA where ATC tells you what to do for the most part) starting with a request to descend from our cruising altitude of FL290 as well as a request to use the ILS for runway 27. The controller gave me everything I asked for including the instructions to find the localizer myself and let him know when I was established inbound. The descent through the clouds was bumpy and very wet but the weather had not built into thunderstorms yet so nothing dangerous to worry about.

Phang Nga Bay, Thailand We came out of the clouds over Phang Nga Bay where they filmed the James Bond movie, "Man with the Golden Gun" back in 1974. Since then, James Bond Island has been a popular tourist attraction with hundreds of people a day taking a boat to the island where the film was made. I'm sure you remember the geography as the bay is filled with tall islands that appear very exotic. Our view of them was tainted a bit by the rain showers and clouds all around but still, it was neat to see them from overhead. During our stay in Phuket, the rest of our group took an all day boat ride out to see them firsthand but Tracy and I elected to stay at the resort as we had a beautiful villa with two private vanishing edge pools, a separate living quarters, separate library building and a 24 hour butler/maid to help with any task. "Jaeb" was a wonderful addition to a fabulous resort Amanpuri and our choice to spend the two days under her care was a fantastic decision.

Final approach to RW27 On the way to finding the localizer, I used the radar to avoid going through the bigger rain shafts as it would have been very bumpy. Once established on the inbound course, there was no dodging showers as we had to stay in a straight line for the runway. We finally spotted the airport but had to race one last shower that was moving over our path and threatened to reduce our visibility so we might not be able to keep the runway in sight. After a bit of heavy rain, we broke out and landed just fine. While getting our luggage out and securing the airplane we had some showers come through so it wasn't too hot on the ramp. We called for the fuel truck, dealt with all the usual customs, security, landing fees and arrival reports then it was off to the resort to relax. Angkor Wat, Cambodia is our next stop on our journey but that's a number of days off so we're anxious to enjoy all the Amanapuri has to offer (along with some more great Thai food!).

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