Recently Watched
4.5 stars

Chinook

Since the first 2 introductory flight simulator session before Memorial Day, I’ve had first hand experience commanding the Chinook. For once, I’m not required to memorize the lengthy check-list except for those that requires me to do so! It takes at least 30 minutes to preflight the aircraft (that’s if you know what to check and how to open the numerous access panels) and another 30 minutes to run-up if you’re new to the aircraft since you spend half the time searching for switches in the cockpit.

I’ve since flown 3 flights within 2 weeks and I’m absolutely loving it! It’s amazing how tandem rotor system aircraft function, not to mention that I’m getting accustomed to the multi crew environment and the size of the aircraft. Gone are the days of checking clear for other traffic yourself and maneuvering the aircraft swiftly.

The learning curve is steep and the pace is fast. I’m enjoying every flight and exploring the capabilities of this aircraft though there are times when I felt lousy as I can’t seem to fly the basic parameters well. Come next week, I’ll be expecting maneuvers like slopes, slings, emergencies procedure and terrain flight. This is on top of having to improve on flying the aircraft with the Advanced Flight Control System (AFCS) turned off.

I like the environment and the way things are conducted here. The academics classes are one of the best I’ve attended in my flying career thus far, with professionals conducting the classes and sharing their enriching experience. Out in the flight line, one get to see and experience encounters that’ll never happen back home - how interesting indeed.

0 comment (0 comment) | Jun 5, 2009

Recently Watched
3.5 stars

Hosed

It’s been 3 weeks since I’ve arrived at Fort Rucker and settled down administratively! You can never imagine how much time and effort is needed just to square away all the domestics, settle down and be comfortable with the environment.

The course has officially started last week and my mind still seems to be idling. It has been pure academics till this week and I’m already feeling overwhelmed by the loads of knowledge and information delivered by the experts. A good way to illustrate the feeling would be imagining a water hose being shoved into your mouth and turned on at full blast — at least a good 50% of the water (knowledge) is flowing away.

I thought the limitations and emergency procedures (EP) during my rotary wings course days were daunting, until I started reading and memorizing those we are expected to know of here — it’s at least twice of what’s back home! Before I could even square out the limits and EPs, simulators have started and now, I have the flight check-list to be familiar with as well! Since the course duration is so short, things are expected to happen fast and furious. Naturally, the stress level has started to accumulate now that there’s so much to learn, so little time and capacity to absorb as well as maintaining the country’s image.

Probably I’ll just have to take it easy and pace myself well to gain the best out of this deal. This is one of the best training one can get and the instructors are all experienced and professional. What I like about this course is the style of the academics being conducted as well as the training aids available.

On a side note to my previous post, if what I’ve read was meant to be, I guess the missing pieces to the puzzle has been filled up and concluded.

0 comment (0 comment) | May 21, 2009

Life in short

For the past few days, there’s this unexplained feeling within me, prompting me to start writing — to dust of the cobwebs accumulated over the months on this blog. I was contemplating on shutting down this little voice on the internet but after reading many of the past entries, memories were overwhelming the soul and I decided to keep the contents until such a time when I have the inspiration, time and energy to reorganise it.

The last couple of months have indeed been refreshing, challenging and exciting. There were high and lows both at work and personal life. To start off, I’ve got my first ride late last year. It was a difficult decision and the only reason I got it was because of work! I’ve since learnt and accumulated much knowledge about cars from scratch. It’s amazing to see how one splurge and care so much for a piece of metal!

I’ve finally completed flying training, attained the long awaited wings and posted to the platform I desire. It has been a long and fulfilling learning journey as a trainee and one will not understand the mixed emotions and heavy heart I felt the day I graduated! There was a sense of achievement within me but on the other hand, I felt lost — not knowing what to expect and whether I will live up to expectations as an operational pilot.

Then came the mad rush to pack my luggage and head off to the next station where I’m currently stationed — Fort Rucker, United States for the Aircraft Qualification Course (AQC). On one hand, I wanted to be posted to the Chinook’s so much that I got more than I asked for but yet on the other, I wished time was more forgiving. Nevertheless, I’m glad to be given this rare opportunity and am enjoying the process and experience.

Aside from work, something interesting occurred recently. Never did I expect the feeling to emerge so fast since the last encounter. I hate to admit but I suck at expressing feelings. Somehow, the courage is always there to rescue me out of the deep blue sea! Unfortunately this time, before it even started, the chance was blown — until I received a heart-warming message lately, signalling signs of hope. Sadly, there’s so much confusion going on and missing pieces to this puzzle which I hope she’ll piece it up and complete the picture. I’m sure that given the time and affirmation to nurture this little spark which seems to be extinguishing, it’ll eventually progress to the next phase.

0 comment (0 comment) | May 15, 2009

Recently Watched
3.5 stars

Marley & Me

This movie has touched my heart and I teared while watching it. Maybe my heart and emotions has turned soft and weakened unknowingly.

May 7, 2009

Recently Watched
2.5 stars

First helicopter check ride

I’ve wanted to write this entry since a few days ago but somehow, time isn’t on my side. Anyway, I had my first check ride on the helicopter last week and this marks the end of the first module and beginning of another challenging one.

The ride was relatively manageable until I departed from circuit to the training area for area manoeuvres. The first set up for my manoeuvre was smooth but unfortunately, the tester requested for one more. At this point in time, apparently there were some radio transmissions of another aircraft joining the area. Unfortunately, I was too fixated on achieving the proper parameters for my manoeuvre that I missed out the entire transmission. This was coupled with the controller relaying the wrong information to the aircraft that was about to join the area. Just as I was about to commence my manoeuvre, the tester pointed out a head on traffic. I attempted to search for the traffic but could not sight it as the visibility was rather bad. It was only after the second prompt then did I spot the traffic and initiated a break turn to avoid a collision!

Anyway, guess I’m considered lucky to have passed the check ride though the airmanship portion cost my grades! Still, it was a great lesson learnt and hopefully, I do not commit the same mistakes again

0 comment (0 comment) | Dec 15, 2008

Free sightseeing trip

Had the opportunity to ride on the back seat of the helicopter and played the role as a lookout man for my colleague’s instrument flight this morning. This is the first time (and expecting many more) in which I am “flying” as a non-flying pilot with no worries and enjoying the scenery! For the non-aviators, an instrument flight refers to flying the aircraft purely by relying on the aircraft instruments. This is the only means of navigating around safely when visibility or weather does not permit visual flying.

During the 2 hour flight as the observer, apart from assisting the crew in looking out for other traffic within the vicinity, I’ve made a couple of interesting observations which I thought one would never realise it when you’re actually flying. In a multi crew environment, there is plenty of emphasis in inter cockpit crew resource management (CRM). For instance, during an instrument approach, the cockpit was overwhelmed with activities such as setting up the instruments for the approach, obtaining the necessary clearances from the relevant ATC agencies, referring to the approach charts. On top of these, the pilots have to fly the aircraft and achieve the parameters as accurately as possible since this aircraft does not have the luxury of autopilot!

The only complain I have is the long ride and backaches. Unlike commercial aircraft that allows passengers to walk down the aisle, I have to remain seated throughout the flight. Otherwise, the ride was definitely an eye opening experience as I get to see almost the whole of Singapore, including some of its prominent landmarks such as the Singapore flyer and the central business districts.

0 comment (0 comment) | Dec 5, 2008

Recently Watched
3.0 stars

Life as a grooming scheduler

Last week, I was given the honour to learn the ropes and have a taste of life as a scheduler, managing the daily flight schedule and crew pairing. Simple as it may sound, I took up the challenge and soon realised it’s not an easy job after all! The significant difference between a real scheduler and mine is not having to worry the vital statistics and managing only a handful of events per day.

Based on the number of flights that can be launched for the day, I had to account for various considerations such as trainee’s flying currency, instructors availability, simulator restrictions as well as those with the most number of days of leave to clear before year ends. These aside, I had to ensure everyone have a fair share of duties and no one will be overworked.

Needless to say, during my time seeking exposure as a scheduler, I’ve seen those who are unhappy with the plan and will attempt to change the painstakingly drafted schedule to their own favour without even consulting me or have any due considerations for the others. I feel that this is unprofessional and these selfish individual simply pisses me off!

In any case, it has been a great opportunity and I have definitely gained a better perspective of being a scheduler.

0 comment (0 comment) | Nov 30, 2008