Tuesday, November 27, 2007 


One Gigavolt! That's how much charge a lightning bolt could have.

Today coming in from a fairly short work schedule, I was flying the plane in and was a bit concerned with the patches of weather shown everywhere on the weather radar. Not only did I not get the smooth descent I wanted because airline x was slightly in front and below me, now I have to worry about darting around to avoid these clouds so close to the airport. Greatly supported by the captain, we requested heading (directions to fly) after heading to cut in between the clouds. Strangely though, airline x was just bashing through the clouds like they weren't there!

"Ergh, those passengers must feel like riding a bronco, not a plane" I was thinking as the radar showing airline x passing too close for my comfort to areas of strong weather. Not that our ride was much better, bumping along steadily as we passed beside one cloud after another.

As soon as I thought that, a sharp crackle was heard and I saw a bright streak just beside the captain's window! He jumped, and managed to quickly compose himself and started scanning the instruments to make sure everything is fine.

The rest of the descent was pretty mild, despite the speed kept on jumping about and I had to play with the power settings quite positively. This was mainly due to the turbulence around weather of this sort.

Quite respect the captain throughout the flight. He's a humorous fellow who's relaxed when need be and very professional when the need arise.

Once on the ground, there was paperwork after paperwork to be filled in so the plane could be checked out and proper authorities notified that we got hit by lightning. So now I've experienced first hand that planes can handle roughly a gigavolt coursing through them quite easily.

Sunday, November 25, 2007 

Just some more pics

Saturday, November 10, 2007 



On the 28th of October I've finally been promoted to First Officer. Almost three long years from being admitted into the training program. I understand how lucky I am to have had this chance. I know of people who are still struggling to collect hours to have that golden opportunity to get a foot in to fly the big jets. As one of the management pilot has told me, 'I am now second in command of a multi-million dollar equipment!', or rather, I am now in charge of the safety of a few hundred people!

The learning has not stopped though. There's still so many more things to understand, techniques to learn, to be more efficient, and more proficient. It's all about survival in the end. I gather knowledge to make sure that when shit hits the fan, I know what to do to come back to my loved ones. Of course I'm also learning the soft skills, how to make the journey comfortable for everyone, passengers and crew alike, flying wise and relations.

Anyway, biggest reward is that I can now fly to Europe. (there isn't any space in the cockpit for a trainee i guess) First flight was to Amsterdam. Was quite excited since the route takes me over Afghanistan. The exciting thing is all the high ground over there. Company provides procedures in case something happens that we need to rapidly descend so as not to hit any of the towering mountains!

Amsterdam is as I remembered it ages ago when I went there as a backpacker. Unfortunately I couldn't find the eating joints that I went to previously. This time I had the time to go to the Van Gogh museum and spent quite a bit of time admiring the paintings. I still prefer his work when he was starting to go 'insane'. As usual, there was only time to just take a sip of the culture, the architecture, and the general ambience of a place before I had to fly home. I know I'll get to come here again, and then I'll take another sip.