Posts about s211

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!

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Spotlight

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.

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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.

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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.).

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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.

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