Posts Tagged 'Biography'

My Road to The Skies Part II – The Flying School

This is the second part of my road to the skies. The first part was written 13 months ago and can be found here

The reason why I chose today to publish this post is because it marks a very significant point of my life.

This time, today and exactly 365 days ago, 16 of us departed from Kuala Lumpur coming over to Langkawi to begin our 18 months long flight training.

Everything was really alien to us. Everything was new to us. I think none of us would have ever dreamt that this day will be possible. Everybody looked really fantastic and everyone is clearly excited. At least that’s what I felt.

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The 16 of us posing for pictures with our ride behind us – 9M-MMB.

This is the beginning of a new journey…..

We started our training with the Private Pilot’s License (PPL) Phase which consist of 4 weeks of ground school and we study all the basic stuffs. Stuffs like airframe, engines, theory of flight, basic navigation, meteorology, radio telephony and air law.

I think everyone in the batch would remember this picture.

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For the first 2 weeks we are here, we need to attend Physical Training(PT) sessions. Twice per day actually. 0530 hours and 1700 hours. Waking up at 530 in the morning? Not easy at all! But after all, a pilot needs to be fit and healthy all the time. We still have PT now but only during the evening. >.<

After the 4 weeks of PPL, we proceeded to this stage called the DCA Technical (DCAT) Phase which consists of 9 weeks of ground school.

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During this phase we go more into details of what we have learnt in the PPL phase and also the subject are a lot more technical. There are also more subjects to learn.

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The books that we use in DCAT….P1050712

And Captain Swaminathan. One of the best Captain I have met so far. Too bad he has already left the school. ToT

After a total of 13 weeks in ground school, we proceeded to the PPL Flying Phase. This phase is suppose to take about 2 months but due to certain complications, we took more time than planned.

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My first ever flight license, the Student Pilot’s License.

You know, I remember during my interview, I asked the Captain who was interviewing me, what was his most memorable moment in flying up to now.

His answer was simple : “The only thing that you can really remember for the rest of your life is when you do your first solo”

For me, there are a few really memorable moments for me.

The first one was during my familiarisation flight. It was a short one. Less than 10 minutes. But it was enough. The very moment the Captain taxies the aircraft onto the runway, the feeling that I felt is just amazing. Its like your inner self is shouting at you “Hey look, we are on the runway! And its extremely wiiiide” >.<

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The second thing that I really remember and perhaps the most precious one for me is when I first start up the aircraft.

The moment when you insert the keys and turning it from the Left Magneto position to the Right Magneto and then onto the On position was really priceless. And when you finally depress the starter and it engages, the rumbling of the dashboard and everything coming up to life is just WOW!

And my third most memorable moments is like the Captain said, during my first solo. Did my first solo on the 1st of December 2008

Going for a solo flight means that you have met the minimum requirements and have at least the most basic knowledge of how to handle the aircraft. There will not be an instructor sitting next to you anymore to monitor your mistakes. You have to realise and monitor yourself. You have to be able to understand what the controller is telling you. There will no be anyone there to help you. You have to decide for yourself what you are going to do. What actions you are going to take in case things doesn’t go as planned. You are the pilot in command. You decide where to go and when to go. It might seem as if it is something simple. But trust me, it can get pretty intense up there.

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My solo flight was quite adventurous. I flew in the morning so there were lots of commercial traffic coming in and departing. I was ordered to hold in the circuit for about 10 minutes to allow for an arrival and a departure I think. And when I was just cleared to make the approach, an Air Asia Airbus was just taxiing out bound for Kuala Lumpur. My feeling? “Oh shit! An Airbus is going to have to wait for me.”

I landed and the Airbus was cleared to line-up while I was taxiing to clear the runway. Can you imagine a huge Airbus sitting in front of you with its landing lights on ready to go waiting for you to clear the runway? Its like going chicken race against an airbus and we all know who will be the winner here. >.<

After that, the tower controller congratulated me and then somebody came on the radio and said “Congratulations on your first solo”. I think its from the Air Asia aircraft. ^^, First Solo flight’s call sign is a little different (it has a Sierra added behind the call sign) so they know we are flying our first solo.

And the best part of it all? My instructor was inside the Airbus. >.< Greaaat~!

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Before every flight, we have to make sure everything is functioning as it should have.

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Which consists of both internal and external checks.

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And pushing our aircraft out onto the apron. ^^,

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Even had time to pose for a picture before flight. TB-10 if I am not wrong first flew in the 1970’s. A very old airplane but a very reliable one to my mind. The component is for it is quite difficult to purchase already as some of the parts are no longer manufactured as far as I understand.

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But nevertheless, its a great aircraft to fly. My first ever aircraft that I flew. My first ever cockpit. My first ‘love’. ^^,

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Seen here, I am changing frequency and tuning onto ATIS to get weather information. Before I came here, like all pilots wannabe, I played the flight simulator. Tons and tons of hours in front of my computer.

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But no matter how well a simulator is made, no matter stunning the graphics is…

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….or no matter how many add-ons you install….

P1060037 Nothing will beat the real thing!

P1060045 And I really mean nothing! The feeling of flying in the air, the G-force…

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…..the cotton-candy-white-fluffy clouds. They are all really magnificent!

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But all in all, at the end of the day, PPL Flying Phase has to come to an end. And after about 3 months of flying in the PPL stage, its time for the phase that everyone feared…. The CA6!

The CA6 is the longest phase in the ground school. Consuming over 4 months of your life and in the process, tries to shorten your life span by giving you so much stress, you felt like you have turned into a zombie.

CA6 is a critical stage and this is the stage where you have to really study really really hard. And I mean really really hard. On an average, I study about 11 hours per day. And honestly, Form 6 felt easier. And even with that amount of time spent, at times I am still struggling. There is no time to play or relax. Its all about the books.

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This is the amount of books you have to study in 4 months time. Each page, each picture and each word has to go into that tiny little brain of yours. And at the end of the stage, you will be so thorough that you can remember exactly where each sentences comes from.

After the CA6, there will be another 9 weeks of CA2 before you finally say Bye Bye to the ground school.

The 9 weeks in CA2 will be like heaven. The subjects are less taxing and it is more interesting in my opinion. ^^,

leaving training area point

I have just finished my CA2 last Thursday.

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And now am in the middle of my conversion to the Diamond DA40, which will be the aircraft I will be flying for the next 100 plus hours.

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I am sorry my dear TB-10. You are very pretty and charming….but times have changed…I have to move on….You have to let me go…. The thing is that, the Diamond has more curves that you…. >.<

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Till the day I see myself sitting in the cockpit of a commercial airliner, I will continue to work hard and continue to climb and pave my own road to the skies…

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After all, the sky is where my heart belongs.

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My Road To The Skies

This is the story of myself and the path that I took in realizing my dreams to fly.

Why do I want to be a pilot, you might ask. Why do I love airplanes so much? What’s so fun about flying? All I can say is that I just love it! Its like that tiny little feeling inside you that builds up till it feels like its gonna explode! I just can’t stop thinking about flying! Its just my passion! My tiny little dream!

I have wanted to fly and be a pilot since as long as I can remember. The most vivid that I can remember was when I was about maybe 4 or 5 years old. I was at my grandma’s house at that time. My aunties and uncles were all there and I was asked “What do you wanna do when you grow up?” Without hesitation, I jump straight up the sofa and I said “I want to fly! I want to be a pilot!” And immediately the whole house went =.=|| . And then after about 3 seconds of silence, out come the bombardment of comments! “Flying is dangerous dear!” “You sure you wanna do this?” and bla bla bla. Thats when I go =.=|| and quietly sat back down.

But that won’t take me down! Back home all my toys are mostly airplanes! I have all kinds of super modern jet airplanes at my disposal and like all kids I would imagine myself flying those plane; holding it with one hand and run around the house making “wuuuuuuuuuuu” noises. My dad even made me a home-made hand-held aluminium propeller! LOL! With that propeller, I took the cushion chair in my home and flipped it over. This chair is special because if you flipped it over there is a hollow in it. And thus my first cockpit! I would sit inside my home-made cockpit in front of a fan holding my propeller and goes “bruuuuuuuu”. I did that until my propeller broke( due to poor maintenance) and I no longer can fit in my cockpit anymore. LOL ^^,

I went through my primary school still thinking about flying. But the most negative impact would come when I step into secondary school. In Form 1, I had short sightedness and I am required to wear glasses. Got myself an eye “upgrade” from 2 eyes to 4 eyes. From then on, it all went spiraling down. It is common knowledge that pilots should have 6/6 eyesights. And I am really down that time. I felt so angry. But my love for aviation is still there. So I thought, well I better focus on solutions rather than the problem. So after some thinking, I decided to be an engineer. I also love computers and electronic stuff. So I decided to be a Electrical/Electronics engineer. My reason being that, perhaps I can still design electrical and electronics systems for airplanes. So I work hard towards my engineering dream! It was not until Form 6 that God decided to shed some light for me.

On that day, You Chuan came to school in the morning as usual and *slams* a newspaper cutting right in front of me. It was an advertisement from the job section. I look closer and I saw an airplane! And then out comes the Singapore Airlines (SIA) logo and this phrase ” Why fly when you can soar!” At that very moment, I felt a twitch inside me. A spark. Immediately after school, I went home straight and goes online. Typing in the link provided in the advertisement earlier, I arrived at SIA’s website. It was just curiosity then. To check it out and just have a look. I still know it was impossible for me since I am 4-eyed now. So I went to the Requirements Section and to my @$#%@^^%@$# amazement, I saw this line “Visual acuity of 6/60 without visual aid and 6/6 with visual aid”. Then it felt like a hammer just struck me! EH!?!? Glasses is allowed for pilots? I felt like i am the biggest idiot in the whole world for not doing a research earlier. How dumb could I get. All the time that I have wasted!!

Upon finding out about that, I immediately prepare all the required documents and sent an online application. That was October 2006 I think. STPM is just one month away. And it was not until the end of December that I got an e-mail from SIA asking me to go for an interview on January 2007. So I went to find out everything I can about SIA. But the road to flying is never a straight one. I went to the interview confident about myself. Not until when they asked me politics! =.=|| Politics is one of the field where I suck most. I just flunk at that point. Idiotic me Act 2!

I took note of what I need to improve with politics being my top priority ( but till today I still suck at it. Not big time but still suck). I also read up more on geography, airplane designs and models. Then I was given another chance at AirAsia. Sent my resume somewhere in February 2007 and got called up on March 2007. Their first stage for the selection was the psychometric test ( written exam). There are about 100 of us there with a few females ( YES, there are FEMALE PILOTS also). And out of this 100, I heard only the best 10 would be selected. I did my best but I guess others are just better than me.

I was still not satisfied. I still wanted to fly so badly. Thus, I sent another resume to Malaysia Airlines (MAS ) (yup I applied together with AirAsia but no reply was given at that time) and also at the same time I was searching for other airlines that I could join. I even e-mailed Cathay Pacific to see if they accept international cadets. Then a reply from MAS came in early May. Was called for a psychomotor test ( hand-eye coordination test). Went to the test at MAS HQ in Subang. It was a challenging test. It only lasted about 20 minutes but it felt like forever. The test requires lots of concentration and focusing! Out of the 3 that present for me session that day. Only 2 of us passed. I was really happy because finally I had something positive! And while waiting for my next test which is the psychometric test (written exam), I went on to study more about aviation and also MAS. The day came and I went for the test. It was again challenging, there aren’t enough time for me to finish all question but I tried my best! I was told that my results would be out in a month. So in June, I was notified that I passed and my next stage would be the interview! I did my interview in early August 2007 I think. That time, I am already in my university, so I have to take a flight from Sabah straight to KL for my interview.

This time I am more prepared! I told myself I have come this far, I will not fail due to my idiotic act again! I was interviewed by a panel of 3. They asked me about myself and also about how I identify an airplane. About UCT, time conversion, lots of general knowledge questions and various technical and non technical questions about aviation. Seriously I enjoyed this interview because after about halfway through, it turns more into a conversation than an interrogation! I was surprised when they joke and all of us laugh. As if we have been good friends for years! The only idiotic act that I do here is when I jumble up my interviewers’ names. i am pretty bad with names through verbal introduction. Unless it is spelled out or I have seen it in writing, I am pretty much gonna jumble up.

After jumbling up their names, I did get a little panic. I thought “Habis…Gone…Finish“. But I was surprised when in September I was called for a medical check-up! Thank GOD! The medical check-up would be the last few hurdles before I am accepted by MAS.

One month after that, I called to check my medical results and I passed! So I will just have to wait for the final selection to see if I am accepted or not. I was accepted and was told that my sent off would be in 2008. I was really really happy at that time! But the road is still long and winding ahead. Got told that our sent off would be in February/March 2008 but come that month, we were told that we will be delayed to May 2008. Come May and again we are delayed. Now we are delayed till July 2008. And I do hope it will all go smoothly this time! It has been a bumpy ride for me.

A very long journey for me to reach where I am today! Starting from my resume (in which my god bro, Daniel sent me a copy of his sister’s resume so I have an idea of what to write. Thank You!) to the writing of my own cover letter, getting all my certs certified, and till I sent all those documents. Not forgetting all those lonely trips down to KL which is scary at times ( I met a man who tried to extort money out of me at the Pudu Raya bus station. I quickly move towards the crowds and he soon disappears!). I am still wondering where all those courage comes from. Thinking back, I am really proud of myself for being brave enough to brace whatever my path has in store for me.

I did not tell my parents about my application until I have sent them! Not to say I disrespect them. They already know that I love flying. I just wanted to be independent and not to rely on anyone. I wanted to realize my dream myself! And I am glad that I do. I have learnt many new things. Things that made me a more mature man. And I am also glad for my very supportive parents! I thank them a zillion times for that! To all my dear friends who stood by me supporting me, you will never be forgotten! There are just too many of you to name you guys one by one! You know who you are and I know who you are! And of course my special thanks to Mei Tuan and May Thing! Whom they have always asked me to go apply and chase my dreams! Also for the Commercial and Military Aircraft book they gave me as presents! And You Chuan for showing me that advertisement. Nicki for that lovely Killing Zone book! Without them, I think none of this would have been possible! I would still be the biggest idiot in the world!

And to all future and wannabe pilots, I dedicate this to you :


       

Twitts

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