Tuesday, August 30, 2005 

Fly and Fly and Fly

See the world in different ways

Now that I've recieved my license and cleared my solo, my instructor is really pushing me to fly. I was on standby this morning (cancelled due to strong winds), scheduled for this afternoon, and already scheduled for tomorrow. Pro is that I'll be able to finish faster, con is that I wont have much time to enjoy Perth.

I'm still trying to find someone to go to the Black Eyed Peas concert with me. At first everyone was excited, and now it seems I'm the only one who's eager. At least my friends are still following me to Lancelin this weekend for sandboarding.

Yearning for the skies

Monday, August 29, 2005 

Jandakot Tower, Sending Student for First Solo

It was six in the morning, as I was eating breakfast, I was cursing the planner for putting me up for an eight o'clock sortie on a day forecasted for bad weather. Especially since it would be my first solo check. If the instructor is happy, he'll send me up for my first solo. I'm at sortie 109 (after ten hours of flight time).

Marched my way to the Operations Room, and saw the engineers had recently finished signing my designated aircraft out. Flipping through the maintenance forms, was a small note, "rough running in circuits, no solos". Cursing my bad luck again, I managed to swap my plane with another cadet who had to cancel his flight due to low clouds in the training area.

At exactly eight o'clock my instructor arrived. I've already prepped and checked the plane. He hurriedly got in and we taxied to the runway, clearances recieved, and we took off. The circuit was quite busy this morning as the sun was out despite the forecasted bad weather. Several "touch-&-go"s later, my instructor still wasn't fully pleased with my slightly flat landings. I was letting the nose wheel touch down way too fast after the mains touched down. Thinking that this isn't my day, I forgot about going for a solo and "just flew the damn plane". After the fourth try, he radioed in to the control tower "Sierra Yankee Hotel, mid-downwind, fullstop, sending student for his first solo". Elated at hearing that, I didn't really hear all the advice he was giving me. My mind was just going through what I had to do, and that I'll be alone in the plane in a circuit with some six other aircrafts buzzing around.

I dropped him off beside the runway. Turned back, got my clearances to take off, and just as I was rolling down the runway, the control tower radioed in saying the crosswind is max 12 knots (students are usually rated at 10 knots initially and first solos are supposed to be at nil crosswind). I've landed with my instructor at 14 knots before, so I felt confident that I could land the plane. Took off, and did all the drills, without the instructor next to me, I suddenly felt it ever the more important to go through all the drills properly.

On finals, the plane was being pushed off course, I was under-compensating for the crosswinds. I was a hundred feet too low on the final approach, adjusted my power, readjusted my attitude. I heard the control tower scolded the plane in front of me on the runway for getting off the runway too slowly. Clearance to land given at five hundred feet high. I finally managed to get the plane sorted out just before the runway, three hundred feet to touchdown. "Aimpoint, centerline, airspeed" kept going on and on in my mind. Over the threshold, idled the power, pitched back the plane, felt the sink, then I heard the satisfying sound of the main gears touching down, followed (too soon though) by the nose wheel touching down. Got off the runway with a congratulations from the control tower on my first solo. Got back to college safely. Operations was all abuzz with congratulations for a 12 knot crosswind landing. Apparently the winds picked up even more to 15 knots and a lot of flights got cancelled.

Got a congratulations from my instructor and a reminder that I shouldn't be so gung ho next time.

Inside of a Cessna 172, cadets sit on the left.
(pic courtesy of unknown senior)

Date : 29 August 2005
Time : 0100 - 0120 UTC
Aircraft: VH-SYH (Cessna 172)
Pilot in Command (PIC): Zan

Wednesday, August 24, 2005 

License to Fly

I received my Student Pilot License today. I can finally attempt a solo flight. In good time too. My instructor has been scratching his head wondering what to do with me since I've already exhausted all the normally scheduled sorties. He was just about to put me up for Sortie 133 (my last sortie was 107A), which means I was supposed to fly with only instruments and not be able to look outside at all. They do this with a special cap which limits your vision. It will only enable you to glance downwards to the instrument panel.

Anyways, It'll be a long time before I do that now since I can go back to the regular syllabus. Next is my ninth hour. I have seven hours of flying time to show my instructor that I'm able to command the aircraft safely by myself. Looking forward to the challenge. Wish me luck.


Fish is the Dish

The college felt that the students needed to have a bit of spice in their lives here in Australia. They came up with an Iron Chef competition. It's been more than 16 months since the last Iron Chef competition. Each course batch had to send in a representative cook and a couple of helpers. I was designated as event photographer.

The whole event was a bash, with VIPs flying in all the way from the parent company. Even the admin staff of the college, the engineers, and the Instructors took part. My course made sweet and sour fish. Unfortunately even though our presentation was splendid, we did not manage to bag first prize...or any prize at all for that matter. The award went to the Instructors, who had an ex-chef among their ranks. Theirs was a slightly braised fish with noodles and sweet lemon sauce. I managed to taste their creation and I must say, they really did deserve the prize, which is dinner for two and twelve bottles of wine at a local restaurant.

After the cook-out, every one was treated to imported frozen prata, and hong kong mee cooked by our very own chief flight instructor. All in all, it seemed that everyone had fun, students all the way to the highest admin staff. Of course the cleaning up after was up to my course and the next most junior batch.

Roti Canai or Prata

Home Team

Wednesday, August 17, 2005 

Clipped Wings

View from King's Park




During a wet week, we took the chance that a break in the clouds gave to us to run out and enjoy King's Park for a couple of hours. King's Park is too immense to cover in that short amount of time. Managed to only walk along one path that went through less than a quarter of the park.
My student pilot license still has not arrived. Thus I'm stuck on the ground. After three weeks of not flying, I flew the other day. I'd say I'm happy with the flight. Still managed to maintain and pilot the Cessna within tolerance. Landings were O.K. even though the winds were gusting and the crosswind was fluctuating to 14 knots. The Cessna 172 that I flew is only rated up to 15 knots.
Wish me luck that I'll get my SPL soon so I can soar again.