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06 April 2009

So You Wanna Be A Pilot? (I Wanna Be!!)

By Mohd Muhaimin

Note from Blog Team: We just got back from Perth and Muhaimin, you’re lucky number seven. Congratulations. We’re a bit tired but to summarise, you did your best in showing how much you wanted it. To the rest, its not like we did not read your entries, the key is to be patient.

This is my story…

What is pilot? The first time, I can remember looking at pilot is when I was about 8 years old, my uncle from Sabah arrived at Subang Airport. While waiting for him to come out of the arrival area, I saw 2 people walking side by side with hat on their head wearing blazer with shiny gold lines on the sleeves.
I said to my mother, “Umi, tengok tu ada ketua askar”.
My mother corrected me and said that they are pilots not “ketua askar”. She explains that they are the “driver” of the aeroplane. That’s the first time I knew, what is pilot.. “aeroplane driver”. As time goes by, when I was in highschool in Form 3, my mother went to US for her medical operation, that’s the time I decided that I am kind of like to be a pilot after I saw pilots at KLIA. They walk and dress properly and looking very smart with cap and blazer, they caught my eye thinking that their job must be joyful. And when my mother came back from the US, she represented me with 2 aircraft models, B747 and B777 that she bought during her visit to Boeing factory after her operation. I became more interested to become a pilot and thinking that maybe I can become a pilot someday.

The most important moment in my life was the day I decided to live my life as a pilot. It happened before my first flight. It was from KLIA to Nagoya, Japan, Sunday night at 2345 hours. That was my trip for a month of Hippo Family’s Homestay Programme at my penpal’s house. My family members were not familiar traveling using aircraft, especially on my mother side. In fact, they haven’t board any aircraft before me. When they heard about the news that I was going to Japan, one of my auntie said to me 2-3 weeks earlier, that it is very dangerous to fly because there are many air accidents happened. She highlighted the air crush in Sarawak few years earlier where a helicopter crushed into the rain forest, all the passenger and captain were found dead. She told me how terrified the condition of the corps. That thing could happen to me she said. She also said that I better cancel the trip for my own safety. After all, that was only homestay it’s not like a thing I must do she told more. My mother doesn’t know about this because she might be seduced by my auntie’s word and cancel the trip. So, I keep it as a secret between us.

At that time, the story she told me doesn’t bother me because I was really happy to go oversea for the first time of my life. The day I went to KLIA for my flight, I wait in the waiting lounge looking at the aircraft that I will board. At that moment, my aunt’s story really haunts me. I was thinking of the movie Final Destination, where the aircraft blow and I was stuck in the middle explosion. I was thinking of going back home instead of board the aircraft and went to Japan. I really felt that aircraft was much more unsafe because that flight was at night – maybe the pilots don’t see other aircraft flying (that’s what on my mind). The worst thing was that I thought to quit my ambition to become a pilot. All I thought was “I won’t go in. I don’t want to die like this”. There was no one to talk to because most of the passenger is Japanese. I was so worried all by myself. And then the stewardess called for passenger to board the aircraft. Ofcourse I board the aircraft, if went back home and cancel the flight, I’ll waste the ticket that had been paid for me. My mother surely got angry, it is much better to take the risk and board the aircraft rather than got scold by my mother. That’s the worst thing ever. When I board the aircraft, I put my bag on my seat and I wait near the entrance, I was waiting for the pilot to enter the aircraft. I was still worry to fly in that aircraft. The stewardess tries to comfort me but it wasn’t enough, I stood still waiting for the pilots. When the pilots enter the door, I go straight to one of them and ask him “Is this aircraft safe to fly?” “Will it explode in the sky?” “Will it fall down during flight?”. He asked me instead “Is this your first time?”. “Yes” I replied. He then told me this “I fly this thing with full focus and I trained well, your life are much more important to me than mine. You’ll arrive safely, enjoy the flight”.

Suddenly my aunt’s horror story fade away and I feel so safe for the rest of the flight – I sleep most of the time. Thanks to that pilot. Maybe for others it was just a flight but for me that flight made me think that a job as a pilot is no ordinary job. The pilot was so calm even though I scratch his feeling by asking him stupid questions. He can even ignores me and ask the flight attendants to take care of me. Instead of doing that, he answers my questions. Showing that what he said comes form his heart, not a standard pilot-passenger guidebook phrases. But since then, I am very clear about my goal and there’s nothing hard enough to make me let go of my ambition as a pilot. I really look up to pilot with respect and I want to get in their shoes.

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My path to be a pilot

As I get much more mature, I look the career of a pilot as something that is beyond career. Pilot is a lifestyle and becoming a pilot is not just passion, it is also involving high responsibilities and disciplines. So, I intended to be not just a pilot but a pilot with aerospace engineering knowledge. I want o become a pilot that have flying skills and also technical knowledge of aircraft and really understand the aircraft inside out. That’s the standard that I have for myself to become a pilot. For three years I devoted myself to study about aerospace. The fundamentals of flying, the aerodynamics of aircraft, the aircraft maintenance and the aircraft systems are some of the subjects that I studied during my Diploma in Aerospace Mechanical Engineering back in UiTM Pulau Pinang (Dec 2005 – Nov 2008). Those precious 3 year paid off with crucial knowledge of aerospace engineering especially involving aircraft. Thus, now I am well prepared to be a pilot and I believe that it is the right time for me to become a pilot.

Beside knowledge, interpersonal skills and discipline also a requirement to become a pilot. For that reasons, I become an active student when I was studying diploma. I join student associations to learn to become a much more discipline person with interpersonal skills. Through Majlis Perwakilan Komander Kesatria (MPKK) I earn discipline, the para-military association provide training such as marching and physical endurance. I earn discipline life through weekly and monthly trainings. I knew the important of time management, the responsibility I have for each duty given. Thus, working in a team as a leader or follower is a norm for me. I have conducted many activities and programmes when I was in Majlis Perwakilan Komander Kesatria such as Seminar on Organizing Association and Interpersonal Skill Seminar.

In class, I manage to come out with the idea to design own model aircraft base on the knowledge that I had learn during lectures. It’s not in the syllable to have such project, but for me, in order to really understand how aircraft fly, I must build one and learn from it. So, I form a group of friends with the guidance of my Head of Aerospace Mechanical Engineering Programme – Mr. Iswadi. We manage to build and fly a model aircraft. The person in red is Mr. Iswadi

I was given the honor to fly it among my friends since my ambition is to be a pilot. There were many hiccups and problems before the aircraft can fly smoothly. 6 times the aircraft had fall, crash and also burned. But, the effort to rebuild and redesign the aircraft was so valuable to me, I learn that it was a big responsibility to fly an aircraft. There’s no room for mistake. Much more than that, I learn the responsibilities that I had when I am operating the aircraft. I become much more understand what a pilot carry on their shoulders, it’s not the epaulette rank but the responsibilities the pilot have to take.

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My basic knowledge about aviation is stronger since I met a flight engineer that happens to be my friend’s dad. He is Mr. Baharuddin a Flight Engineer of Transmile with more than 30 years of flying experiences. As much as I want to know about pilot, he thought me the fundamental skills and the theories of flying when ever I came to his house. With that, I bear in my mind that knowledge he gave me. He gave me the big picture of a pilot’s lifestyle, the working schedule, the responsibilities and the risks. It made me much more understand what pilot really means. Sadly, he refuses to let his picture in this entry because he doesn’t want it to be publish on the web.

I did all of these things to ensure that I am well prepared to become not just pilot but a very good high standard pilot. Even though it took me few years but it was worth enough for me since I become a better person. A person with much more knowledge and well prepared to become a pilot. The best one I hope.

For now, even though I am not attending any flying school. The learning process is still on going, my passion to become a pilot always opens a wide view for me to learn to become a pilot. Since I graduated my diploma level in November 2008, I read few books on how to get Commercial Pilot License. Even if I can’t afford to buy those books, I borrowed them at a nearby library. I believe that if there a will there will always a way to gain knowledge before I become a pilot.

Sometime people ask me, “Why do you want to be pilot?” “Why don’t you go for pilot after SPM?”“Isn’t it wasting your time studying engineering” I answer them.
I do everything with my pride. Pilot is my ambition, a job dedicated for people that have passion to fly, people with responsibility at heart, people who have discipline and self control. People who put their reputation to the ultimate challenge. I fit those criteria, I wanna go for pilot. I want to become the best pilot I could, so I have to really be prepared before I study as cadet pilot. If anything goes wrong, my pride is the price, I’ll lose them. I don’t want that to happen, my pride is the quality to be respect by other peoples. If I become pilot with lack of knowledge, I had crushed my reputation and pride. That’s the reason, I studied aerospace engineering earlier before I become a pilot. It’s not wasting time because the knowledge is useful for all my life time as pilot. I made them understand this noble career. Fly with pride.

The first thing to do when I knew I wanted to become a pilot is that I asked myself “Am I eligible to be a pilot?” “Do I qualify to wear the white uniform and the epaulette on my shoulder?”
I search down through the internet and knew about a website that provide with information to become a pilot. With forums provided, I spoke to pilots and cadet pilots on the topics of “How can I become a pilot?”. They all helped me a lot and generously share their information and teach me.

First of all, I sent letter to Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), Putrajaya asking them whether I can study as cadet pilot in local flying academy or not. Few weeks after, they told me through formal letter saying that I was granted the permission to study in flying academy since my SPM result meets DCA standard.

Then, I went for medical check ups. There are stages of check up to be done. The Visibility Test, Physical Test, x-ray, Audio Test, Electrocardiogram (ECG) Test and Blood Test. The time when the doctor gave me the tests result. He said that, for most of the test I’m doing well but the ECG test was bad because my heart beat is higher than the normal heart beat and it will go higher if I am flying. Too bad he said to me while giving me a piece of paper, I feel so sad about it hearing that my ambition is over before it even begin. Thinking that the paper was bill I walk toward the room’s door. I almost cry, my eye were red holding on my tears from coming off. But then, the doctor said, why don’t you look at that paper. I stopped and read it , and I began to smile. It was not bill but certificate saying that I passed all of those medical checks up tests. The doctor certified me as an eligible person to become a pilot. He was then smile and laugh at me, saying that I must be tougher to become pilot. With that certificate surely I am happy, forget the red eye. I will be a pilot.

The next thing is to apply for cadet pilot programme. And AirAsia provide such a unique and interesting chance for me to become a pilot. This is another positive step I have taken to go for pilot as my career.

I walk the talk. I done all the things I could to realize my ambition and I tried and still trying my best to become a pilot. I hope my effort is impressive enough so that it can lead me to my successful life as a pilot. AirAsia here I come!! I wanna be your pilot !!!

  • Chee Keong

    wao…
    the doctor must have scared the pee from ur glands…
    hehe…
    anyway, congrats that you’ve made it through and thus, getting shortlisted…

    CONGRATS!!

  • Low

    Wow, everyone’s path comes from very different backgrounds. Congrats mate!

  • A

    hey Muhaimin, do u recomend doing Aerospace Mechanical Engineering? what is it about? Is it the same as Aircraft Maintainance.. coz i think i would also like to do that as it seems i won’t get selected

  • Hare

    Congrats, you made it Min….I believe you can fly…….

  • Dominic

    In your own words and opinion, what is the one weakness you think you may have, i.e. what would be the one problem you foresee yourself facing if you were to be given the chance to go take up flying?

  • Wan Siong

    M. Muhaimin,
    Congratulations on being short-listed. You’re one step closer to your dreams, and I understand your feeling. Take care and all the best.

    Benjamin Siew Wan Siong

  • Daphne Siew Li

    Congrats! :)

  • Wan Siong

    Dear Anonymous,
    I think I’m in a better position to answer your question. Aerospace Mechanical Engineering IS NOT the same as Aircraft Maintenance Engineering. Getting a Diploma doesn’t allow you to be a LAE (Licensed Aircraft Engineer). To be a LAE, you will need to work with an airline and collect experience and work schedule. Then you have to go thru all the basic courses before you can submit your application to DCA in order to take the test and acquire your license or better known as “License Without Type Rating). After that, you have to get a company approval for certain type of aircraft, it is known as “Type Rating” and pass the airline’s QA inquiries before you are established. All in all, it takes you 5 years. If you follow Mr. Muhaimin’s route, you can apply to be a Technical Service Engineer with one year plus of training under the Airline. Hope that helps.. Remember, do a lot of research before you choose your future career.. Cheers.

    Benjamin Siew Wan Siong

  • Mohd Rezza

    syukur alhamdulillah Muhaimin,may all going to be smooth and happy flying soon bro!im one of the pilot wannabe still stand here waiting for opportunity to become a pilot..may my dream and passion come true,amin.

  • Mohd Muhaimin

    Thanks to wan siong for answering anonymous question for me..

    I took diploma in aerospace engineering to understand the aircraft.. but aircraft maintenance is career where you get to repair the aircraft.. studyingin diploma is to do an engineer part of the aircraft, which is to design, to study the systems, to analyse each part of the aircraft.. there’s many different between the two things.. but the meeting of point of aerospace engineering and L.A.E is that both are working their guts for aircraft whether fix wing or rotorcraft.

  • Mohd Muhaimin

    Dear dominic,

    The one thing that worries me is that I’m a sentimental person. Sensitive at heart. I take everything down to my heart.

    Someday if I am pilot, I can imagine if there’s a patient inside the airplane. During flight, that patient suddenly got sick or having a heart attack. He ask me to land the airplane to get medical help. That would put me in dilemma, to continue the flight or land the aircraft. But surely there will be a positive way to control that situation. Because we have flight attendant to handle that situation correctly.

    Professionally, I would do according to guideline provided. It’s just my feeling, feeling sorry for that person having heart attack on my flight.. That’s the one weakness I have.

    In the other hand it can be a good source of motivation.. my sentimental feeling can help me. Thinking that I am bringing somebody’s family member on board.. their safeness is on my shoulder.. flying them to their destination safely is a motivation for me..

    For now, that is my only weakness to become a pilot. But through training. I’ll learn to differentiate between feeling and responding to situation accordingly. I can overcome this.

  • Mohd Muhaimin

    to all..

    thank for the wishes you all gave me.. it’s not just contgrats, they are motivations for me to grab my wing.

    I hope not just for me, but for others to chase their dream, pilot is not a one-shot career, if you fail to enter pilot world once then it’s over for you.. NO.. As long as you have patient, as long as you try, there will always be a door for you.

    I saw on World’s Most Amazing Video : an old man student pilot who flew a helicopter but fail to hover it and had a crash landing. he was safe and walk out the crushed helicopter with a shocked face. but later he still fly, with another helicopter ofcourse.. It may look funny for some people, but the passion that he have, old enough like ‘moyang’ already. but still have the passion to fly..

    that’s a sample for me and for you all i hope.. motivate myslef that i can be a pilot. I am only 22.. i live for once, and i living it the pilot way.

  • Mohd Muhaimin

    my advice for other who think they didn’t make it to be the 10 people..

    keep on posting, I believe airaisa will open opportunities for anyone to become pilot.. they proved it this time.. maybe next time, they will have reality tv show of “SO YOU WANNA BE A PILOT?”.. who knows? anything is possible with airasia.. never imagine airasia will go for international flights, now airasia go europe and china.. just ry and try.. never give up..

  • Mohd Muhaimin

    The most important thing that I almost forgot.. Thanks to airasia for this opportunity.. I’ll appreciate this since i go through hard time trying to be a pilot..

    I’ll wait for the next steps.. until I earn my wing..

  • Wai Weng

    Congrats… your self-designed RC plane looks interesting.

  • Mohd Muhaimin

    to wai weng..

    thanks man.. the design was not futuristic enough.. The cost is around rm800.. rm600 for the aircraft and the fuselage and the components.. rm200 for a second hand remote controller..

    imagine how much i spent for 6 times aircraft? newey the knowledge is worthless u know..

    and more, i saw your blog.. making it to ROBOCON Seoul was great. Surely you face bigger challenge and also the cost is big too.. My stage was only at national level in ROBOCON 2007, so i admire your ability.

  • Nurulain

    love this article.. brilliant.. Such a good planning and preparation before chasing your dream as a pilot.. I hope you will be one of them..just don’t stop praying.. I believe that one day you will earn your own wing..

    All the best..

  • Dominic

    Thanks for your reply.

  • Mohd Muhaimin

    to dominic..

    No problem man.. anything anyone would like to know, i’ll answer.. but don’t ask me whether I am dreaming of meeting superman during my future flight.. coz lots of my friend ask me that?

  • Mohd Muhaimin

    I want to know? will airasia call me if i am eligible to be the 10 person or I have to call airaisa to know about it?

  • Fadhilah

    S0 pr0ud 0f u br0.. I h0pe U r well prepared physically n mentally.. But i kn0w.. After all M0hd. Muhaimin bin radzuan was b0rn t0 be a PIL0T.. Just d0nt 4get the green grass when u are in the blue sky.. Hehe.. Chaiy0k!

  • Mohd Muhaimin

    check out my nest post.. simulator n me..