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21 April 2009

‘So You Wanna be a Pilot?: Never Giving Up My Dream!’

By Henry Hieng Kui

Note from Blog Team: Can we call you Henry number two? Congrats number 26. We like people who do not give up.

My name is Henry and I have longed for this wonderful profession since I was 9 years old.

It was 1.37 p.m. on 5th March 2009(Thursday) when I received a message via mobile phone from my ex-university friend(Mr. Ho).
The message read:


I was in the oil palm plantation on that day as part of my duty and by the time I arrived home, it was already dark. I searched all over shops for English papers but to no avail. Finally, I found the thread on blog.airasia.com. My immediate response was, “Thank you, Airasia, for giving me the chance to be a pilot”.

My first flight on board an aircraft as a passenger took place almost 15 years ago. I was on a window seat, sitting next to my mother. It was a narrow body aircraft and the flight duration was only 45 minutes.

That was the flight which initially prompted my keen interest towards aviation. It began slowly when I was in primary school. My hobby used to be studying the world map because I was curious about the countries and places worldwide visited by pilots. I marveled at the courage and profession of the pilots, who were entrusted with the responsibility of flying an enormous machine inside the ‘sophisticated-looking’ cockpit.

My favourite cockpit image taken from airliners.net .

It was until late 2004 after I completed my STPM when I seriously thought that pilot is a ‘must be’ career for me.
I would choose flying as my first-choice career because of several factors:

1.) I see a pilot as someone who demonstrates leadership skills, teamwork, situation awareness and multi-tasking. I truly admire these important attributes and wish to display these attributes as a professional pilot too.

2.) I have an overwhelming passion towards this profession. I enjoy reading anything regarding a pilot’s career, aircrafts, geography as well as on aviation. I have gained much understanding on this job and can easily distinguish between Boeing and Airbus aircrafts by a brief glance. I am also good at geography.

3.) I want to show people of the big things that I can achieve in life. Becoming a pilot is the perfect way for me to showcase my ability and being addressed as ‘Captain’, flight commander, first officer, second officer or even a cadet pilot, definitely means everything to me.

4.) I am energetic, diligent and willing to be trained as 1 of the best pilots in any airline. Working with others as a team is always 1 of my career objectives.

5.) I never have any fears towards flying and honestly view this job as a noble profession which would train me to persevere and overcome pressures at work. While flying as a passenger, I trust the pilots who are on the controls and never doubt their abilities in handling any airborne situations.

6.) I have good academic results in SPM (A1 in Physics, Mathematics, English), STPM and good university CGPA. Good academic results prove that I am a fast and eager learner as well as not giving up in any circumstances.

My family’s financial burden did not allow me to be enrolled in a flying academy as a self-sponsored cadet. Nevertheless, that does not hinder me from chasing after my dream to be a pilot. After my STPM result was released in 2005, I applied for the Malaysia Airlines’ cadet pilot position and was lucky to be invited for the psychomotor test a few months later. The psychomotor test was held on 30th August 2005 in Subang. During that time, I was doing my first semester’s bachelor’s degree (Resource Biotechnology) in a Sarawak local university. I did not hesitate to purchase my flight tickets from Kuching to KL to sit for the test though the price was not cheap. To me, it was worthwhile spending on my flight ticket for the test because I had the opportunity to fulfill my dream of becoming a pilot. Subsequently, Airasia’s Boeing 737-300 flew me to KL.

I tried my best to perform well during the test but unfortunately, I did not make it. I was broken-hearted and therefore had to resume my university studies. My mother was not even upset at all as she always thought that flying was dangerous. Most of my university friends gave me the support and courage to be a pilot and I really yearned to show them that I was capable of achieving my lifelong dream. I had been watching so many aviation-related videos and dramas during my university life because my mind was clearly obsessed with a career as pilot. Despite being obsessed, I did not neglect my studies and assignments as an undergraduate. I remained optimistic about being successfully selected as an airline cadet pilot in the future.

Last year on March 16, I was shortlisted by Singapore Airlines to attend a cadet pilot interview in KL. Again, I grabbed the opportunity and flew on board Airasia’s A320 from Kuching to KL with great expectations. I love flying on planes and am thrilled at the roaring sound of jet engines each time preparing for a take off. The cockpit itself is truly amazing with so many instruments and I would always take a peep at the pilots and cockpit whenever the cockpit door is open. I never sleep on a plane and would treasure every single second to gaze and study the plane’s components, wings, engines and even the skies. I performed well during the interview and waited eagerly for good news from SIA as I returned to Kuching for my final semester of university studies.

Five weeks later, I was full of joy when I received a reply email from SIA inviting me to sit for the aptitude test and final interview in Singapore. The test was scheduled on 6th until 9th May 2008. During that period, I was extremely busy with my final year project and could hardly sleep at night as I was too excited at the upcoming final interview. Coincidentally, I had to check-in at the hotel in Singapore on the day which our final year project presentation was held. I was so hopeful at the thought of being successfully accepted as a cadet pilot until I did everything I could to become the first presenter on that particular day. I even dared pleading with my supervisor and examiner to be punctual so that I could catch a flight to Singapore immediately after presenting my project. Unlike other candidates who travelled to Singapore on SIA-sponsored fares, I purchased my own flight tickets via Airasia (KCH-LCCT-Singapore) as I could not retrieve the SIA tickets within the time allocated. At the SIA training centre, I was amazed to see so many cadet pilots. I felt honoured being given the privilege to communicate with the pilot interviewers. I learnt a lot through asking the captains regarding their flying experiences. However, I was devastated on the next day after hearing that I was not successful in the selection. I flew back to Kuching sadly and stopped thinking about anything relevant to pilot for several days. I understand that those who failed in the final interview would not be given a second chance.

Miraculously, everything changed a month later when I had a chance to fly overseas with a group of friends on board Airasia’s plane. It was the roaring sound of the A320’s engines during take off which revived my passion, dream and love towards the aviation industry. I really want this career badly and I told myself that I would do anything to be a pilot. I love the cockpit, cabin, jet engines, skies and anything relevant to pilot.

After graduation(August 2008), I realized that my passion and zeal towards becoming a pilot had never subsided. I am currently working in an agricultural industry and whenever I walk outdoors, I would often look up to the sky and try to gaze for planes. Recalling my past failures in cadet pilot selection, I noticed that those efforts were not in vain and were actually instrumental in steering me to continue fighting for this dream. While working, I had also applied for cadet pilot scheme in Etihad Airways and CTC Wings but was not shortlisted for the first stage of selection. I always bear in mind that I would NEVER GIVE UP my dream to be a pilot.

Airasia had twice flown me or given me the chance to attend my previous cadet pilot selection in MAS and SIA. I would definitely answer Airasia’s call to ‘blog and become a pilot’ as Airasia has made flying so affordable and given me the chance to spread my wings and fly. Airasia has given me hopes and I wish to fly on Airasia not only as a passenger, but also as a pilot in the future.

I strongly believe I have all that it takes to be Airasia pilot due to the following reasons:
1.) I am very systematic in everything that I do. I never use contractions when writing essays because I want my message to be clear to my readers and most importantly, that is my systematic way of writing. In the same way, pilots try their best to establish effective communication between themselves and also with the air traffic controller because that is their systematic way of ensuring the safest flight.

2.) I am an obedient and alert person. I wish to display situation awareness in my duty as a pilot as I am always alert of what is happening around me and getting ready to respond in case something occurs. I can sit in a room for long periods in the same way pilots are being confined in the cockpit for long hours.

3.) I love challenges and treat them as an opportunity to move forward in life. Since this profession is technically demanding, I will have the chance to utilize my skills and competencies to the fullest.

4.) I consider myself fit to be clad in a pilot uniform. I often think that I look very much like a pilot because of my personal attributes which include excellent leadership skills, confident, decisive and team work. Pilots are well dressed in smart, tidy uniforms. I would stare at pilots every time I see them inside airports or planes. The pilot uniform speaks for itself; highly-trained, disciplined, confident and high professional standards of work. I have great achievements and well-earned experiences during my school days as a leader and member in clubs which I believe, had equipped me with the attributes of a pilot. I like dressing up formal and smart as I really want to resemble a pilot.
The person on the right is me.

5.) I never give up and always strive to complete every task as fine as I could, knowing that pilots strive to keep the passengers’ lives as safe as possible. I would travel as far as from my hometown (Sibu) to KL to attend any cadet pilot selection test at all costs.

6.) I am analytical and never take risks unnecessarily. During emergencies, pilots must be quick, accurate and precise in decision-making and that is the working situation which I wish to be placed in. I would put all my reasoning skills to the test as a pilot and not taking risks.

7.) I am serious regarding healthy lifestyle. I took good care of my eyes since I was young, knowing that poor eyesight could deter me from becoming a pilot. Neither do I drink nor smoke. Pilots are subject to strict medical examinations every year and this is what makes the profession the most evaluated job compared to any other professions.

8.) Being single allows me to put all my commitment towards cadet pilot training without distraction and enhance my own potential. To me, becoming a pilot is not about getting high pays or pretty stewardess. It is all about passion, responsibility and commitment.

Lastly, I just want to be a pilot and nothing else. I understand the sacrifices that pilots have to make as well as the rewards of this career.
I thank Airasia for giving me a golden opportunity to realize my dream and spread the words on this great profession. This is my first time posting a blog and I do it because ‘I Wanna be A Pilot’ and I am never giving up my dream!

  • Hamimah

    hi there..
    congrats..I adore your spirit..
    wish me luck because I’m going to be your competitors too..hehe

    ^^

  • Kong Sun

    Congratulation man. Welcome on board. Wow you have a lot of experiences on interviews. That gives you an extra credit if you have the chance to be in the top10. Good luck man.

  • Low

    Congratulations on being on board with us all.

  • Hee

    Congratulations ~~~
    ^^

  • Wan Siong

    Hieng Kui,
    Congratulations on being short-listed.
    You’re now another stop closer to your dreams. Hope everything works out fine for you.

    Benjamin Siew Wan Siong

  • Kung Yung

    Hi Henry (and all aspiring pilots),

    I am currently pursuing my flying course privately. I can feel all your drive and determination to chase your dreams. I wish you all nothing but the very best. Go grease that interview. Relax, and most importantly, be confident, and know your stuff!

    Who knows? Maybe we’ll be colleagues one day!

  • Wai Weng

    Congratulation…Good luck and all the best :)

  • Sin

    Congrats Henry,

    Haha,being single also is a strong point to become a Pilot…Not bad not bad…Hahaha.

    Welcome onboard. Cheers ^^

  • Daphne Siew Li

    congrats!

  • Chee Keong

    Congrats bro…

    welcome onboard!!

    Regards,
    CK

  • Henry Hieng Kui

    Thanks to my fellow bloggers for the comments. Good luck to all of you and never give up!

  • Lee Yee

    Hello. Just wanna congrats you.

    I am your junior who is currently doing the same course as you do back in the local university in Sarawak. Am going to be 3rd year starting next sem.

    I understand your passion.

    Good luck!!!

  • Kungu

    Mmmmmm I can’t believe this, Wao! I have always wanted to become a pilot too….& not only a pilot, a professional airline pilot…but you know how expensive it is. Any one out there to advice me on piloting scholarships? I can’t let go of my dream.
    Kungu Keige