14 April 2009

“So You Wanna be a Pilot”: Just like It

By Chee Ping

Note from Blog Team: Chee Ping, we hope you like sweet sixteen because your dream when you were in standard six is one step closer to reality. Congratulations and have a nice day from your favourite blogging crew at AirAsia where the impossible happens.

So you wanna be a pilot? My answer is definitely a YES. Being an innocent standard 1 boy, my first choice in the ambition column was PILOT, as I grew up, it is always going to be PILOT and it hasn’t change until now. If last time you asked me why I wanted to be a pilot, my reply will be short and simple, because I JUST LIKE IT.

Here’s the proof

I took my first flight when I was in standard 5, following a school trip to Sarawak. That flight was flying from Johor to Sarawak and I think that was a 737-400 as during that time, I am not conversant about aircraft so I did not know how to differentiate different types of aircraft. I was really excited on my first flight and as soon as I got into the airplane, I was fighting to get the window seat but I failed to get it on both trips :(. Although not sitting next to the window, I still able to see some metal pieces attached to the wing flapping up and down and I kept on asking my friend “Look, why does that thing moving up and down?”. It was my first time to travel by plane, expected to be a fantastic one, but the exciting four days trip in Sarawak ended up with recurring disgorging and excruciating pain in my head when the aircraft was descending towards Senai international airport.(probably because I was exhausted after the 4 days trip and non-stop drinking the Milo because that’s FOC!!). At last I went back to the airport with one full airsick bag of hot Milo “tapao” from 30,000 ft above the ground.

I know that to achieve my dream is not easy, so I work hard, study hard and play even harder (I mean flight sim)during my secondary school. All my hard work was paid, I have successfully got a pretty good result for my SPM and after this I am going to be a pilot, yeah!! But how?? When will the cadet pilot intake open?? What I know about the cadet pilot programme is just the requirements and the selection processes from the airlines’ official websites. Now what, sleeping at home, pissing around and wait for the opportunity to come? NO!! I must do something……
STPM?? Matriculation?? A-level??
Among all these choices I opted for something related to aviation i.e. Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering in Nilai University College. At first my parents were strongly disagree on my decision but I was adamant on that and my determination had persuaded them at last. A lot of people doubted me for my choice because most of them think that diploma courses are meant for people who screwed up their SPM to learn some technical skills. Initially I doubted myself sometimes, I questioned myself whether I had made the right choice, but after 1 year in this course I can speak out loud that I had made the right choice, no doubt about it!! During this course I have got a chance to learn more about aircraft including the aircraft systems, how an aircraft flies, how an aircraft is manufactured, get a chance to go into the cockpit and even wash the aircraft. I will never get these precious experiences if I have gone for STPM. Not Just only that, I have got a bunch of new friends who share the same interest with me. They teach me and share with me lots of new information on cadet pilot that I have never come across. We also started collecting aircraft models, aircraft t-shirts and everything related to aircraft. Sometimes we enjoy going to KLIA for plane spotting but our favourite activity is still sitting beside the college’s football field looking at the aircraft from far queuing up for landing while chit-chatting and eating fruits, though what we can see is just a few bright spots in the dark sky shining like a star. As what the college’s slogan said, this course has really brought out the best in me. Now I am more prepared to take up any challenge to put me into the cockpit, I am ready to fly!!

Look how concentrate I am


That’s a nice shot from my friend

Last month I had got a chance to take my second flight from my hometown back to Subang, I was given a window seat and this time the view outside is all mine, I am going to stick my face to that window throughout the flight and no one is going to take it away from me. This flight was totally different from my first flight, the way I looked at it was different, the weather was different(raining), the aircraft was different(this time is a ATR 72-500), and I was different too. Time and experiences had made me a different man, I am no longer an unacquainted child before, I know this metal bird better than before, the metal pieces on the wing are no longer something unfamiliar to me anymore, and I was not airsick this time :). I observed every second of the flight from takeoff to landing, I know that to take the metal bird up into the sky and land it safely is not an easy job, it takes lots of trainings, hard works, and sacrifices behind. Last time the passengers used to give the pilots a standing ovation when the aircraft landed safely, but if you are doing this now other passengers will be looking at you as though you are a mad fellow. This time the plane landed quite smoothly and I did give the pilots a clap in my seat because I know that they deserve it, they really do.

But
When I can get a chance to look at the sunrise from 36,000 ft? When I can grab the side stick and say “I have control”? When I can sit at the left seat of the cockpit and tell everyone “good morning ladies and gentleman, this is your captain Leong Chee Ping speaking……”? There is a Chinese saying “opportunity is only for those who are well prepared” and finally the opportunity I have been waiting for has came
–>Air Asia “So You Wanna be a Pilot” blogging competition.
At first I really hesitated, because I have got no idea about blogging and I hate writing honestly. I am not that kind of person who can write all sorts of fancy words and convince people with my writing. But an opportunity missed is an opportunity lost, I am not going to miss this. Opportunity is not always waiting for you to seize it, there are just one or two intakes each year and hundreds of aspiring pilots are competing for it. I know that there are many people with better qualifications and experience out there waiting for this but if I just sit there and not giving it a try I will never be a pilot for sure. So after struggling for a few weekends finally I have come out with my own blog. This is my first blog and I have given it to Air Asia, because I strongly believe that Air Asia can give me the wings so that “now I can fly!!”

If now you ask me why I want to be a pilot, I can give you many reasons,
-Satisfaction of bringing hundreds of passengers to their destination safely especially when the passengers are giving a standing ovation
-Challenging (every flight is a new challenge because nothing will be the same for each flight, the weather will be different, the crew members will be different, the route will be different ……)
-Money (If I tell u I am working not because of money then I am cheating)
-Travel (Get a chance to travel to different countries and get to know different cultures and taste different foods all over the world)


That’s me in pilot’s uniform from my friend, smart right?

BUT,after all the most important reason is still because I JUST LIKE IT

  • Calvin

    I went back to my primary school data,
    From Primary 1 to 6, I too have ·É»úʦ (Pilot in mandarin) as my ambition. Besides Primary 3 sheet is missing.

    But I will have to admit that you guys have much better inspiration, preservation and the drive for success.

    Today I work in Changi Biz Park, 5 minutes away from Changi Airport, and I can see plane takeoff and landing from my office (observed more airasia plane takeoff and landing too!). That always a reminder of my dreams. Sometimes, I would even go airport for lunch, just to be closer to flying.

    Well done and all the best.

    p/s: Seeing plane is fun too. Just wondering if someone can tell me how to differentiate between B777 and A330.

  • Siu Ming

    Congrats to u bro for being shortlisted!
    it’s a very good post..so want to go eat fruit tonite again?=D..

    once again, congrats to you and hope we’ll all be able to make it thru the top 10.

    Leon Lui Siu Ming

  • Weng Hooi

    Hi Calvin nice to meet you here..To difference whether it is an Airbus or Boeing the most obvious part you can see from outside is the wing.If the wing is being curve up means we called it winglets.A winglet is a near-vertical extension of the wing tips.^^

  • Chee Keong

    Congrats Chee…

    hope to see u and work with u as a pilot someday..

    Best regards,
    CK

  • Wai Weng

    Wow, you still keep the copy of your primary school ambition survey form? Congrats man, “opportunity is only for those who are well prepared”, I like this phrase :)

  • Daphne Siew Li

    Congrats!

  • Wan Siong

    Chee Ping,
    Congrats on being short-listed!
    One step closer to your dream, twice the boost for your confidence! Good luck!

    Calvin,
    To differentiate a A330 and B777 from for are usually by looking at their winglets. A330 have winglets as opposed to the B777 which doesn’t.
    Another way to differentiate is also by looking at their main landing gear. The A330 has a 4 wheel boogie config, where as the B777 has a 6 wheel boogie config.
    Hope this helps.. =)

    Anyway, some quick fun facts about the B777.
    -The B777 has a “secret” compartment called LLAR (Lower Lobe Attendant Rest). It’s essentially a room with beds for the crew to rest during a long haul flight. You don’t realize it because it’s under the passenger cabin!
    -The B777 was designed with an option to have foldable wings, so operators can park more planes per square area. The design wasn’t carried out because operators did not favour the extra fuel consumption that was needed to have that special function.

    And now, you know! =)

    Benjamin Siew Wan Siong

  • Low

    LOLz, I have the same thing as Calvin does, from Standard 1 onwards to be a pilot (but there’s one year I wanted to be a askar, don’t know why)

    Congrats man~*

    It’s been awhile since any post came out

  • Kien Fui

    Congrats Chee Ping, I can feel your passion to fly when i read ur blog. Hope that I can fly with you someday. Cheers….

  • Kong Sun

    Hi Chee Ping, congratulation on being shortlisted.

  • Chee Ping

    Thanks airasia blog team for the morning call this morning and thanks for selecting me to be the sweet sixteen,I really like it.

    Sorry that i cant reply all the comment coz I cant get a good internet access in my college, anyway thanks for all the wishes and for all those who participate in this competition GOOD LUCK!!

    And i wanted to thanks the photographer of the 3rd pic, Siu Ming for that nice shot and his car for the background……

    Chee Ping

  • Ng

    All the best to you… Happy to see each one of you emerge in this happy moment.

  • Calvin

    Thanks Ben and Weng Hooi for explanation. Too bad now there are 2 new buildings infront of my windows and block 80% of the view. Going to Changi for a lunch later and will check out winglets.

    So cabin crew in A330 have no place to rest? what a pitty….

  • Chee Ping

    Hey Calvin what’s your current occupation??