Cambodians refer to it as “the flying moto” and it’s quite an appropriate name for the little airborne machine called a microlight, or alternatively, an ultralight.
Within the aeronautical trade it’s often referred to simply as a “trike”.
It is a three-wheeled, two-seater fibreglass pod fitted to an aircraft-grade aluminium mainframe with a motor and propeller at the back. The pod is attached to a large wing similar in shape to a hang-glider, from which this aircraft actually evolved.
Sensation of Freedom
Take the opportunity to fly an ultralight in Cambodia: it’s simple, easy and safe. An ultralight flight over this exotic country is an experience not soon forgotten.
The flying motorcycle provides an astonishing sensation of freedom.
Unhampered, all-round vision of what’s on the ground is superb – maximum altitude is about 1000 feet, but it can also be safely flown in good conditions about 20-30 metres above ground.
You best take a 10-15 minutes test flight first. You get to know the flight procedure and can test your camera equipment. Because, once up in the air, there is no room for filter or lens change.
Two Companies Offer Flights
Wings Over Cambodia in Kompong Speu have been offering ultralight flights since 2002, but in May 2010 a new company opened their doors near the top tourist attraction of Cambodia: the temples of Angkor. The guys at SkyVenture built a landing strip and hangar on the outskirts of Siem Reap, named Jayavarman Airfield. You find this airfield at the east side of town, along the road to Phnom Penh.
SkyVenture offers considerably lower prices (starting at $45 for a 15 minute flight to $145 for an hour) than Wings Over Cambodia ($120 for a 30 minute flight or $200 for a full hour). The best season for ultralight flights is the rainy season: the air is clear (when it’s not raining, but that usually only occurs in the afternoon or at night) with all nature green and lush, and thus more beautiful than in the middle of the dry season.
See a very nice video of a ultra light flight above the Angkor area:
The music in this video is a song called “22 Nights” by the American-Khmer band Dengue Fever. It was written when the lead singer, Chhom Nimol, was detained by immigration for “22 nights,” for an expired visa.