Flying above the crater of Mount Pinatubo

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Pinatubo Volcano, Clark, Philippines
The eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines was one of the most powerful in the 20th century. 2 Air Force Base and the US Navy have been destroyed, 40km zone around was covered with ashes. Today in the crater of the volcano is incredibly beautiful lake with water gentle turquoise. In this feature, I'll tell you about the flight over the volcano on a small light aircraft Cessna-172.

Fly on a small sports plane can be almost anywhere, but much more interesting to do it in a very ideological place. That's why when he saw the opportunity to fly to the crater of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, I thought did not last long.

Pinatubo - active volcano, located on the Philippine island of Luzon in 93 km north-west of the capital of Manila and 26 kilometers west of the city of Angeles. Its height is 1486 meters today, and before the eruption in 1991, it amounted to 1745 m. Before that was considered extinct volcano eruption.

The last eruption was Mount Pinatubo in June 1991, the first time in 611 years. From the eruption and its aftermath killed 875 people. The eruption destroyed the strategic US Clark Air Force Base, located 18 km from the Mount Pinatubo and the naval base of the United States. The eruption was recognized as one of the strongest in the XX century (6 points on the scale eruptions). Development activity Pinatubo occurred very rapidly. The first signs of activity were found in April 1991. After the quake appeared over the top of a column of steam. Philippine authorities have decided on the immediate evacuation of the population within a radius of 20 kilometers (about 40 thousand inhabitants) from the volcano. June 7 over the top of the dome of the volcano began to form a viscous magma extruded gas pressure inside the mountain.


The consequences of the eruption of Mount Pinatubo were felt around the world. It led to the most powerful release of aerosols into the stratosphere since the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883. Over the next months, there was an atmosphere of global layer of sulfuric acid mist. It registered the temperature drop to 0, 5 ° C or excessive reduction of the ozone layer, in particular, the formation of particularly large ozone hole over Antarctica. Another noticeable effect of dust in the atmosphere was the appearance of lunar eclipses. Usually, even in the middle of the eclipse of the moon is visible, but within a year after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, the moon remained barely visible during eclipses because of the much greater absorption of sunlight by dust in the atmosphere.

At least sixteen commercial aircraft were damaged after a collision with the ash cloud. A total of 10 engines were damaged and replaced, including all four engines of a Boeing 747.

A huge crater 2, 5 km, formed by the eruption of 1991, is the centerpiece. The eruption is not accompanied by a gathering of debris avalanches from the summit and slopes. In the crater lake was formed with the rain power level is gradually rising (up to 1 m per month), while in 2008, most of the water out of the crater was launched in order to prevent flooding of the surrounding area in case of a sharp rise in the level of the rainy season. The initial temperature of the water in the lake was + 43C, + 26C today.

There are two ways to see the volcano: a one-day trekking to the volcano, including a guide, all the permits, travel by jeep to the starting point of the ascent. The cost of 60-80 dollars. At the lake in the crater and you can buy! The second option - is to look at Pinatubo on top of a small single-engine light aircraft.

Runway and clouds over the mountain range, that is where Pinatubo:

The flight lasts 1 hour on a double or a four-seater Cessna-152 and Cessna-172. Read more about Air Force Base and about the aircraft read here. The cost of $ 100. The best time of year for the flight - November-March (dry season), most likely will be minimal cloudiness early in the morning and afternoon. I booked a flight at 9:00 am, the sun shone clear and single cloud floated over me ... but the mountain range and Mount Pinatubo was tightened by clouds. The weather was changing rapidly, and soon the whole sky overcast sky ... was relatively clear until after noon, I took off at 16.00 (!) Instead of the planned 9.00.

Before the flight, the pilot checks according to the checklist:


Omni Aviation Airbase top:

To somehow bring people back to the devastated area after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, the Philippine government has established there special economic zone (Clark Free Port Zone), land rent was virtually free, but do not forget that all this land had to be cleaned of layers of volcanic ash, which It was covered everything within 40km. On the site of a former US military base Clark was built low-cost airport (Code aeropotra CRK).


I flew the four-seater plane Cessna-172, he was currently free, though that day I was a tourist. On the plane quite noisy, but in dense insulation vellikolepna headphones and hear all the negotiations with the tower.

And there are mountains:


The river bed, which is formed after the eruption of pyroclastic flows:

And the volcano itself. Incredibly beautiful as the on-site and on fotgrafii:



What is good in small plane - it is an opportunity to open a window, but it opens in the vertical plane, so to capture the overall plan will still need to shoot through the glass. And, you can piglets pilot "slightly to the left, right, above, below ...»






Angeles City and other extinct volcano on the background:


pilot, with whom I flew - Jeffry Neil Mabborang:



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