Archive for the ‘Aviation’ Category

Passenger Briefing

May 5, 2010 Leave a comment

Part of the responsibilities of the pilot-in-command is to welcome the passengers and brief them on what they need to know before departure. This includes things such as the prohibition of smoking, use and adjustment of seat belts, location of emergency exits, use of oxygen (where applicable), stowage of hand luggage, and the presence of special survival equipment (where applicable).

A proper passenger briefing should instill confidence in passengers and start the flight off well.

This is what I’m going to use on my next flight. Any suggestions to make it better?

Good afternoon passengers, and welcome onboard flight Cessna 172 from Jandakot to Jandakot. The weather is looking good today, and you will be treated with a one-and-a-half-hour scenic tour of the training area.

To open the door, pull the handle towards you. To lock it, pull the door shut and push the handle forward until it is flush with the armrest. Make sure there are no gaps between the door and the fuselage of the aircraft.

The seatbelt works like one in your car. To fasten, pull the buckle forward, put the seatbelt over your body, and clip it at the other side of the seat. To unfasten, press the red button.

You must keep the doors locked and seatbelts fastened at all times during the flight, including take-off and landing.

This is a non-smoking flight, and smoking is prohibited by law. There are no toilets in the aircraft, and I would recommend that you empty your bladder before we depart.

I would like to request the passenger sitting in front to refrain from touching the flight controls at all times.

In case of an emergency, please follow my instructions and meet me behind the aircraft after we land. In case of fire, a fire extinguisher is available in the middle of the front seats. To operate, unlatch the clips, pull the fire extinguisher out, aim at the fire, and pull the handle.

If you feel uncomfortable in any way, please let me know and I’ll do everything I can to improve the situation.

Fly… High… Up In The Sky…

December 27, 2009 2 comments

I remember my very first flight, although I don’t remember the exact details of it. It was a flight from Jakarta to the South Sumatran city of Palembang, back in the early or mid-1990s. I can’t recall which airline it was, nor can I remember the aircraft type.

In fact my knowledge about flying was so limited that I thought runways end with a jump ramp, just like the ones that motorcycle jumping daredevils use, where the aircraft will finally take off and travel in a straight line before it (hopefully) lands at the other airport.

Motorcycle Jumping

Motorcycle Jumping, taken from BigLorryBlog. Check out BigLorryBlog if you’re into big lorries, the blog itself looks pretty awesome!

Of course, now I know enough that airplanes don’t take off that way, and that it relies on a set of navigational systems and aids in order to reach their destinations safely.

In fact, my interest in flying only took off (pun fully intended) when I started playing Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002 on my crappy Compaq Evo N800v. I remember sitting inside the virtual Cessna 172 Skyhawk, listening to instructions from the virtual instructor Rod Machado, as he guided me through the basics of flight controls, which I duly followed using my laptop keyboard–hardly realistic at all.

And I thought it was cool.

And cool it was, until I had the privilege of finally realising the experience on a Cessna 152 as part of the flight training with the company earlier this year.

No doubt that over the years, I’ve improved on my virtual flying skills so much that I no longer land a 747 on the taxiway instead of the runway, and that I’ve made the virtual experience as real as possible by buying a flight yoke and rudder system, but nothing beats cruising in a real airplane at 6,000 feet in the air over Sembawang airbase, looking out into the distance at Bukit Timah hill and trying to answer the instructor’s question of where the boundaries of Area B of the Light Aircraft Training Area is.

Or the thrill of taking off and landing the airplane on my own, with the instructor only taking over when he deems that it is unsafe for me to do so.

Or the adrenaline rush as the instructor conducts a “fan stop”, a simulated engine failure procedure just after take off, where the throttle of the aircraft is closed fully, and I had to quickly establish the aircraft on a glide attitude, choose a landing spot, simulate cutting off the fuel flow into the engines, adjust flaps, and simulate opening the door and cutting electrical supplies as the club house and the trees in the neighbouring golf course looms closer.

The best thing that I had experienced must have been the solo flight, where over the 10 minutes I was on my own in the aircraft, with no instructor next to me. I had to communicate with the air traffic controller, taxi the aircraft, take off, make a round in the airport’s circuit pattern, and then land and taxi back to the parking spot, all on my own.

It was 19 October 2009, and it was the second last time that I had touched an aircraft’s controls. My last flight was the following day, when I finally reached the quota for flights here in Singapore. My next flight will be in Australia next year.

It’s been 68 days since then, and I’ve started to miss flying already. I still “fly” from time to time on the flight simulator, but nothing beats the real thing. But with my time being taken up by the exam preparation, I suppose that too will have to take a back seat for now.

Leonardo da Vinci once said: “For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.”

He’s absolutely right.

Before I end this post, check out this video that I found on YouTube. I remember watching it as a kid, and the song kind of got stuck in my head until now.

Goofy’s Glider

My Journey

October 31, 2009 Leave a comment

It’s funny when I update my friends on what I’m doing at work, some of them immediately respond with “oh hello Captain!” or “so where have you flown? Is it fun to carry passengers?”.

The only thing that bugs me is that we’re not a captain yet, we don’t carry passengers, and we’re only flying around the local airport.

The truth is, it is going to take a very long and arduous journey before we can even carry passengers, let alone become a captain.

So here, let me share with you a little bit about my job…

The programme starts with the basic flying which tests one’s aptitude, and ground school in Singapore. The ground school leads up to a frozen Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL). It is frozen because we wouldn’t have had enough flying hours to get the full ATPL. This phase lasts for about 6 months.

The programme then continues with full-time flying in Australia for about 9 months. Completing this, we will obtain the Commercial Pilot License (CPL), which technically allows us to charge people money to fly with us.

This is then followed by a jet training, also in Australia, which will take up about 4 months.

After this phase, we’ll serve as Second Officers in the company, which will take up another 9 months. This is the stage where we actually carry passengers in real commercial flights.

Only after this will we serve as First Officers, and after a couple years of flying and command training, will we become Captains. I don’t have the numbers for the number of years needed to become a Captain, but it probably takes about 10 years.

So adding up the numbers, it seems like it only takes 18 months to serve our first passengers, right? The thing is that this is the case only in ideal situations. The truth is that some trainings may be delayed or extended, say due to weather, for one batch, and this delay will snowball down to subsequent batches. In reality, the training leading up to the Second Officer stage where we start to carry passengers will take up about 2-2.5 years.

So there you have it. No I’m not a Captain yet, not until at least 10 years later, I’m still flying around the local airport, and no I haven’t carried any passengers yet. 🙂


Categories: Aviation, Life

Flight Experience

December 27, 2008 8 comments

Some of you might have known that I am pretty much obsessed with aviation. One of the dreams that I have in the future is to be able to pilot my own airplane.

I am taking one step closer to that dream, and I have booked a 90-minute flight at Flight Experience for this Sunday, 28 December.

Flight Experience brings the commercial airliner pilot experience to normal people like you and me, by providing a fixed-base flight simulator that looks and feels like a Boeing 737-800 cockpit. Supposedly, it is so detailed that even airliners use the facility for training purposes. In Singapore, Flight Experience is located at Singapore Flyer, which is currently having a breakdown.

Here’s how it looks like inside:

Inside Flight Experience

Inside Flight Experience 2

Some shots of the overhead panel:

Overhead Panel

Overhead Panel 2

And the Flight Management Computer:


And here are two sample videos of the flights:

I am allowed to bring 2 guests for the flight. One is taken by my brother, while the other is still free.

I would like to invite one of my friends for the flight as a guest.

I intend to make the 90-minute flight a good learning experience. According to the planned itinerary, we will be covering basic flying skills similar to what is taught on a PPL (private pilot license) course, i.e. effects of controls, steep turns, stalls, circuit flying, etc.

As a guest, you won’t be allowed to touch any of the controls. However, you are welcome to listen in and learn a thing or two about the flight simulator experience. Probably, you will also get to understand my obsession with flying. Who knows, you might just be interested in flying yourself!

You don’t have to pay a single cent, the flight cost is on me.

To participate, drop me a message (email, MSN, SMS, comment, Plurk, or in fact any other ways you can reach me) and let me know why you should be chosen. Don’t worry, they don’t even have to be related to flying or aviation. 😉 I will contact you by end of day of 4 pm, 27 December if you’re chosen. I know it’s very tight, but I’ve just booked the flight today.

The terms and conditions are simple: you just have to be able to come to Singapore Flyer on time by 9.30 am on 28 December, and bring a photo ID along for identification.

Be aware that the flight is 90-minute long, and some people might experience motion sickness. Also, this is my first time using such a simulator, so don’t expect to get perfect landings on the first few tries. 😀

%d bloggers like this: