Posts about basicwingscourse

The three three's

The three three’s is one of the many simply and yet effective strategy that helps to manage my flying. It was taught to me by one of the most respectable instructor back in Pearce during my basic wings course and till date, I always fall back on these whenever I find myself struggling.

First three:

  • Read
  • Ask
  • Experience

The first concept does not only apply to flying context but it is also applicable in our daily lives and studies. His theory is simple: through reading, one will gain huge amount of knowledge and bound to have questions to clarify. You will then find opportunities to seek clarifications from the subject matter experts (SME). Finally, with whatever knowledge you have acquired, experience it real-time.

Second three:

  • Pacing
  • Task Prioritisation
  • Create spare capacity

One of the main reasons for task saturation while flying in the air is due to poor pacing and task prioritisation. By mastering the art of pacing and prioritising, one will find the extra capacity to focus on other task and keeping a good lookout instead of burying the head within the cockpit.

Last three:

  • Power, Attitude, Trim (PAT)
  • Lookout, attitude, performance, attitude (LAPA)
  • Change, check, hold, trim (CCHT)

These are fundamentals of flying and it applies to all platforms, be it fixed or rotary wing and they are essential and effective steps to achieve accurate parameters and smooth handling of the aircraft.


Goodbye Pearce

Can’t believe that 314 days (that’s 10 months and 2 weeks) just past at the blink of an eye and it’s time to bid goodbye! I will never forget how apprehensive I was back then when I had to leave for basic wings flying training here in Australia, Pearce compared to how I’m feeling right now.

Many of my course mates can’t wait to pack their bags and return home but it’s the reverse for me. Not that I don’t miss home or my family but it’s just that I’ve taken a liking for the environment (especially the chilly weather) and appreciate people whom I’ve met throughout my stay here. To certain extend, life here is somewhat monotonous and boring since shops in the city and shopping malls closes after office hours. Still, the pro of being in this foreign land is that I enjoy the freedom of space and relax lifestyle.

Guess I’ll have a hard time trying to adapt to the humid weather after touchdown back home now that I’ve gotten used to the chilly weather here in shorts and t-shirts! What I’ll definitely miss is the convenience of the gym right at my doorstep as well as the fond memories I’ve experienced throughout my 10 months of stay here.

Not sure if the time will come but I certainly hope to revisit this place again in time to come! For now, it’s time to end this chapter and the start of another.


Last flight on a jet

I vividly remembered how task saturated I was when I first started the engine of the SIAI Marchetti S211 training jet. This was exactly 10 months ago and it happened during my first simulator flight. This morning, I had command of the jet for one last time — my final handling test on the aircraft I used to struggle with and this marks the end of my flying training in the Basic Wings Course phase.

After 88 flights and slightly more than a hundred hour on this aircraft, I must admit that I’ve become so comfortable in handling the aircraft, not to mention that emotions and feelings have developed for this beautiful and reliable workhorse as well. Gone are the days of flying solo, cursing at 300knots and executing aerobatics manoeuvres. I’ll definitely miss the fun and memorable times I had throughout my training journey.

I wished I could be part of the team that will participate in the closing ceremony of this aircraft. It would be awesome to see the multi ship S211 formation flypast over the aerodrome and the roar of the jet engines!


Before I leave

In less than a month’s time, I’d completed the Basic Wings Course in Pearce and depart for home. I realized that I’ve not exactly experienced the local culture here in Western Australia. Thus, I’ve decided that I would love to try the following activities before I depart:

  • Horse riding – one of the most common and popular activity here in Australia that you don’t usually see it back home
  • Go Kart – For the thrill of the speed
  • Paint ball shootout – Bet it’ll be fun to experience life of a ‘SWAT’ team and scoring hits on opponents.

Can’t wait for weekends to come!



As I embarked onto navigation phase of my flying training, maps and Staedtler markers surrounds me all day and the tedious process of preparing maps takes away precious time and crippled my leisure activities, thus restricting me from posting updates. I have been rising an hour early for the past couple of weeks to prepare maps, hoping that this painful ordeal of preparing maps will end quickly. Unfortunately, the weather has been unforgiving last week and this resulted in maps being redrawn numerous times.

Not to mention that things hasn’t been smooth sailing, with people committing offences and still not feeling bothered. These unnecessary spotlights have resulted in harsher measures as well as confinement. I wonder if one actually thinks of the consequences before executing certain actions. I have personally witness such situations and I felt disturbed because I can’t accept the fact that this will be the group of unprofessional people I’ll be working with in years to come.


Night flying

As the sun starts to set and stars fills the empty skies, I feel my heart beating faster and excitement rising within me. Today will be my very first time attempting to fly a jet aircraft in the dark with minimum lighting surrounding the airfield. So much on what have been taught in the books about the various psychological effects in the night, I am keeping my fingers crossed and praying that I’ll execute the mission safely.

I never realized how beautiful the cockpit presentation is until I’ve started up the engines and adjusted all the interior lighting. The dim red console lights aids in calibrating the eyes to the night environment pretty quickly. With lightings around the airfield demarcating the various taxiways and runways, the only difficulty I encountered was to judge the separation distance from other aircraft taxiing ahead.

After obtaining clearance for take-off from the tower, I proceeded to line up on the runway for the take-off roll. Upon rotation and getting airborne, I was amazed by the night view and it wasn’t difficult to spot the brightly lighted skyscrapers in Perth City. My instructor demoed one circuit and landing before I was given the opportunity to try it. I must say that landing in the night (with landing lights) is challenging as misjudging or late in flaring the aircraft would be disastrous.

Sad to say, at our current stage of training, night flying is only an introduction and it consists of only 4 sorties. However, it is definitely a great experience and confidence booster, knowing that I am able to pilot an aircraft safely in the night.



Now that the last few seniors from the most senior flying course have graduated, the ’senior’ title has finally arrived at our doorstep. Many would think that this automatically grants one more power in making decisions and that they feel ‘inferior’ over the juniors. Personally, I beg to differ from this persecution as I feel that it is morally incorrect to behave in this manner, not to mention that we are all trainees.

For one, as the most senior course, we should set good example at all times and not behave like the juniors. I remembered when I was the most junior course, duties were being passed down to us one after another and the most senior course will always find excuses to avoid them. Perhaps, many would say this is the culture of the organization but I thought that it was otherwise. It is more of the human mind being unequal and trying to exercise authoritative as the most senior course.

Certainly, I agree that duties will eventually need to be handed down as advance flying requires more preparation. However, one should not go away with the idea of ‘I’m the senior…pass it down to the juniors’ or ‘when we were juniors, this is how the seniors treated us’. This is the wrong mentality towards being professional and ethically wrong. We must be fair, tactful and earn one’s respect in handling responsibilities instead of just pushing it down the line.

I always tell myself that they may be your juniors in this phrase of training but some may eventually be your superior in the near future.


Anzac day

I planned to wake up at eight-thirty but ended up sleeping past ten and finally awake to the chirping birds by my window. We were suppose to attend Anzac Day commemoration but the management was kind to excuse us, fearing that we are unable to withstand the cold weather in the early hours.

The weather here has been predictable but erratic, with passing showers and sun shining brightly thereafter, and more showers and chilly winds. This has pretty much disrupted flying operations and slowed down flying progress for the courses, which means either our graduation date will be delayed or we can expect to fly more when the weather is good.

Long weekends like this are hard to come by (this will be the last for many months to come) and it seems that this particular one would be fulfilling. The course has been invited to a few instructors’ house and I guess it would be fun to hang out and relax after a rough week at work.


How far we have come

I was looking at the calendar earlier and little did it occur to me that I’ve already been here for almost five months. With four casualties and another two of my course mates whom have just completed half the course and left for the Undergrad Pilot Training (UPT) program in the states, the course strength now stands at a healthy figure of 17 — one of the largest course in history.

I remembered counting the days when I first arrived and found it hard to accept the fact that it will be a long course with uncertainties ahead. Looking back, reality came and went at the blink of the eye. I’ve experienced my first solo on a jet plane, flew in the challenging parallel runway operations as well as piloted the plane alone to the training area to perform aerobatics sequence. Never did it occur to me that I would come this far, with another half of the battle to fight before I complete the course.

Needless to say, I’ve had my high and lows throughout my stay thus far. I’ve fallen a couple of times but I’ve been taught what’s important is being able to cushion the fall and pick myself up. My instructor once used the analogy of ¹’new jet, new day’ and taught me how to relate it with my progress in flying. I realized that had I not been able to pick myself up, I would have continued to fall hard and eventually fail the course.

With instrument flying and a couple of formation and navigation sorties coming up for the next 3 months, life is only going to get harder but it should be quite interesting to learn new things. Hopefully, the seventeen of us would graduate as a course in time to come.

¹ new jet, new day means starting afresh with a new day, new mission and different aircraft. In aviator’s world, every mission and flight is never the same as before as we are bound with uncertainties (weather, emergencies etc.).


Twenty Four

One year older as the days goes by with the number increasing and wrinkles growing . Like any other day, I woke up only to find someone knocking on the door. To my surprise, it was my colleague greeting me with a can of green tea — my favorite drink at the moment. I didn’t really expect anyone to remember the day but it certainly starts my day on the right track.

I don’t usually celebrate with candles and cakes because it’s just like another normal day. Nonetheless, thanks for the greetings from my family and friends who remember this day.


Chinese New Year

I woke up to the sight of dark gray skies and heavy rainfall. It has been so warm for the past few weeks and the sight of rain coupled with the smell of fresh air is welcoming and perfect to start of the day. Back home in Singapore, I heard the sun is shining high after days of gloomy weather.

Today marks the start of long weekends and first day of the Lunar New Year celebrations. According to the zodiac calendar, it is the year of rat and this has nothing significant except that I’m getting old! I remembered when I was a kid, I look forward to every Chinese new year celebrations. Now that I’ve grown, every of such festival seems just like another normal day. This would be my second time spending Lunar New Year away from home. For many of my colleague, it is one of their first to spend new year away from home.

To my friends and family back home, may I wish that you’ll have a happy and prosperous new year.


Happy Australia Day

Australia Day 2008Click to view larger image

Group of colleague and I went to Langley Park to participate in Australia Day celebrations. The atmosphere was filled with excitement as people gathered by the river to watch air show and fireworks. Needless to say, I had a beautiful tan by the end of the event.


Summer break

I was contemplating on how and what to write on this blog now that I’ve not update it for 3 months. To start off, the last 3 months has been challenging, stressful and fruitful. For one, I’ve been tied up with high intensity of flying training activities coupled with secondary duties, not forgetting the sleep debts accumulated over the weeks. When it first started, I find it hard to adapt into the new environment and the way of life. Fortunately, there were a few good folks and the other 22 of my course mates around to overcome the many obstacles.

To keep things short and save some time, I shall summarize my 3 months of experience in this entry. First and foremost, after 3 attempts, I’ve finally flown my first solo on December 13, 2007 at 1050 hours. I would say it’s one of a kind of experience in my life — the responsibility of being the captain of the aircraft and landing it all by myself *wow*. I didn’t thought that I could survive this far…to be able to go first solo, given that I’ve failed sorties and was low on morale during the circuits phase of training. If not for my instructor’s and fellow course mates’ encouragement, I would not have picked myself and overcome the obstacle.

Life here is not an easy task. There are high and low in this journey and it takes lots of preservation, determination and discipline to lead a pilot training life. Of course, there are times to unwind and enjoyed life. Weekends are usually most looked forward time of the week as it’s the only time where I can catch up on sleep, get out for sight seeing and shopping if time permits as well as prepare for coming week’s flying events. Now that it is summer break here in Australia, there’ll be no flying until the first week of Jan 08, when the routine starts once again.

Hopefully, the next 6 months of my journey here will be smooth sailing and I’ll be able to complete the course in due time. As the internet plan I’m using here is limited to bandwidth, coupled with the high workload expected for the next few months, I’ll not have the capacity to update this blog as often. This means I’ll have to stop posting links to the webscan section for the moment. However, I’ll try to post in the main blog whenever time permits.


Leaving for Pearce

And so after a month of anticipation and preparation, I’m finally set to depart for my Basic Wings Course flying training in Pearce, Australia tomorrow. The training duration is about 10 months and this will be a test of survival. I guess this will be another phase of my life and I do hope things works out fine.

In any case, I’ll try to drop updates whenever possible or when I get hold of an internet connection. Heard from my other colleague that internet is expensive in Australia and besides this, I doubt I’ll have that much personal time now that my life would be filled with aircraft checks, systems as well as squadron duties!


Bon Voyage

It wasn’t too long before when we went for air grading as a group. Now, the time has come for the few within the group to depart for the next phase of our flying training in Pearce, Australia.

Though it’s only a few months away before the rest of us join them in Pearce, one would certainly few sad to see them off especially having gone through thick and thin together. Nonetheless, it was great to have them as course mates and soon, it’ll be my turn to join them in Pearce for training.