Entries for September 2008

Formula 1 safety car

If you’ve been watching Formula One and is curious what the safety car is all about, wikipedia has a good article explaining all.

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My first helicopter ride

After numerous sessions of practising checks and procedures in the simulator, I finally had my first helicopter ride this week! Can’t describe how great it feels being able to get airborne again since returning from Pearce and honestly, nothing beats the adrenaline rush one gets from flying though the speed is only a quarter compared to what I previously flown.

Just in case you aren’t aware, flying an aeroplane and a helicopter is totally different in terms of aerodynamics, flight controls and missions. Gone are terminology such as throttle, rudder and stick. Instead, we call it collective, pedals and cyclic respectively. One thing I definitely miss and took for granted is the big airspace we had back in Australia! Comparing the airspace back in Pearce, a section of the training area is already the size of Singapore! Imagine how much time is spent trying to stay within area boundary and keeping a lookout for other aircraft!

Not forgetting that they are so many other aviators all operating within the same confined space as well as the numerous airspace and exams restrictions imposed. I guess trying to fly within the little space available above this island will prove to be a big challenge!

Apart from flying, I’ve been busy with ground work as usual and it only gets more! Looking at the rate I’m progressing, I’m optimistic and I hope that I’ll be able to handle helicopter flying and make the best out of it though I’m still trying very hard to hover the aircraft right now! On a brighter note, my instructor mentioned this famous quote in the spirit of keeping us motivated.

To fly is heavenly, but to hover is divine.

I can’t comment how true it is but I’ll definitely share my thoughts once I’m able to hover perfectly.

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Ditching ditching

Equipped with a life vest and a short term air supply system (STASS) oxygen bottle, I had my first experience of being submerged underwater and learning to escape from the confined space of the helicopter cabin. Known as the Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET), this is a yearly water survival drill requirement and it helps to embed confidence among helicopter aircrew in the event of water ditching.

Besides HUET, there’s also dinghy drill where we are learn to survival in open water conditions in a life-raft. For the regular swimmers and divers, learning to breath from the oxygen bottle should be a piece of cake but for those who fear being in the water and struggle to escape, you will find the 4-6 minutes of oxygen supply depleting at a faster rate than desire!

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In a loop

Ground school is over and whatever rotor dynamics or aircraft systems knowledge that I’m expected to know have been delivered within the short period of time. Right now, I feel like I’m back to the days when I first arrived in Pearce for flying training where I’m kept occupied with procedures, orders and aircraft checks to read and commit to memory. Honestly, I’m still trying to adapt and accept the fact that I’ll be exposed to this endless loop of change in environment and hitting the books just when I feel settled.

Perhaps I should feel glad that the dynamic change I have been experiencing enables me to exercise flexibility and not always staying numb within my comfort zone. Still, I must admit that it is quite a painful process to be going through within every few months! Fortunately, the people around me are friendly and the new environment seems less hostile though expectations remain unchanged.

I hope that all will go well for me and my course mates in the next 7 months of helicopter flying training. Having come so far, this will be the final lap before we earn the prestigious wings on our chest.

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What sex is your brain

You may know what gender group you belong to but what you’ve yet to find out is the sex of your brain. Take this interactive test to find out!

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Google to launch browser to compete with Microsoft