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07 April 2009

So You Wanna be a Pilot?: Don’t sleep and dream, wake up and do something to make the dream comes true!

By Wai Weng

Note from Blog Team: Get back to work Wai Weng if you’re reading this. Another Penang boy, where do all of you come from? Congratulations on being number ten. This does not end here. Look out tomorrow if you’re number 11. Congratulations once again and take your girlfriend somewhere nice today Wai Weng.

Since my childhood, I already had a very deep interest in planes. The place that I loved to go is not the Sunway Lagoon nor the shopping complex. It is the airport. I liked to see the planes taking off and landing on the runway. The sound of the aircraft engine is the sweetest music in this world. At that time, I was thinking in the future, I gonna buy a private aircraft for myself so that I can fly whenever I wish to. A pilot I wanna be!


Airport is my favorite place to visit during my childhood.

Unfortunately, reality will not always follow someone’s wish. After SPM, I have further my studies in Mechatronics Enginnering at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. My family’s financial condition did not allow me to go private on my road to become a pilot. Moreover, my parents felt that engineering will have a brighter future and easier to get a job after graduate.

However, my passion towards flying is still burning in my heart. This might sound crazy but one of my favorite place to go dating with my girl friend is the airport. Thanks god, she shares the same interest with me and we always go to the airport to watch the planes taking of and landing. It’s just like a great performance with the runway as the stage.

In my university life, I always seek for the opportunity to get myself involved in aviation. I still remember the second last year before I graduate, I was attending a final year project presentation by my seniors. One of my senior was making a Quad-Rotor Flying Robot as his project. Unfortunately, his project failed. The robot did not manage to lift off the ground. But this had inspired me, I wanted to take up the challenge and continue his project the year after as my final year project. When I approached my project supervisor to tell him that I want to make the Quad-Rotor Flying Robot, he was shocked.

Me: Sir, can I continue and improve the Quad-Rotor Flying Robot project?
Supervisor: You meant the one that failed last year?
Me: Yup.
Supervisor: Are you sure? Your senior had tried it very hard but he failed.
Me: Sir, please give me a chance. I have deep interest in the flying machine and I believe I can make it.
Supervisor: I tell you what, if you fail to do it, you won’t be able to graduate.
Me: I know that. But I’m willing to take up the challenge.
Supervisor: Hmm…Ok. Good luck to you!
Me: Thank you sir.

Why I was willing to take up the challenge despite the risk that I might not be able to graduate? It’s just like becoming a pilot, is either you try it very hard to make it success, or you fail and die. There is no room for failure. But thanks god, after few months of hard work, I managed to do it. It’s so excited when I saw the robot lift off the ground for its maiden flight. The excitement was not because of I can graduate, but it was just because of I had made something that flies. Yeah~! I’m one step closer to the aviation industry.


My final year project – Quad Rotor Flying Robot.

Other than that, I had never wasted my university life. I joined a lot of activities and one of them is the ROBOCON robot contest. Our team represented Malaysia to Bangkok in 2003 and Seoul in 2004 for the contest and I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the team player. Although we did not win any prize, but this was a really good experience for me. From there, I learned what is team work, how to communicate among each other, what is responsibility, how to think logically, how to manage emotion….etc. I think all of these can get me prepared to be a pilot in the future.


The ROBOCON Robot Contest in Seoul, Korea.

After graduate from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, I tried very hard to get a job in the aviation related company. With no luck, I failed and ended up working as an engineer in a multi-national semiconductor company. However, I never gave up my dream. When I got the first salary, I bought a gift for myself. It’s a radio-controlled Cessna 182.


My radio-controlled Cessna 182.

One year later, I had a chance to talk to the director of a local robotic company. They were looking for engineers for the UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) project. They wanted to develop a low-cost autopilot system for the aerial photography purpose. Without thinking too much, I straight away applied for it and fortunately, I got the offer. Even though the salary and benefits offered by that company were lesser than my previous company, I still accepted the offer as it’s part of my dream to join the aviation industry. Yeah! It was another step closer to my dream.


I was lucky enough to be the UAV pilot for my company.

So…What inspired me to write this blog and take part in this competition? Actually I need to thank one of my best friend.

Friend: Hey, after working for 2 years, have you ever think of your future career path?
Me: Hmm…actually I don’t wanna be an engineer. I wanna be a pilot.
Friend: Huh? Seriously, are you sure?
Me: Yup. I like flying very much. In fact, I quit my previous job to join my current company is just because I wanna do something related to aviation.
Friend: Don’t you think that’s boring?
Me: No, not at all. It’s just about the passion. Do you know why I like driving? Cause I always imagine that my steering is the yoke of a plane, the highway is my runway, of course I don’t speed as fast as a plane. Hehehe.
Friend: You’re really crazy. Pilot is such a dangerous job.
Me: Friend, do you know that the rate of accident happened on the road is much more higher than the rate of air crash? Why you still driving? In fact, if the pilot is professionally trained, the plane is the safest type of transportation.
Friend: I’m speechless…Anyway, why don’t you try applying to be a pilot?
Me: Yes, I did! I did send in my resume to Air Asia, MAS and SIA. But nobody called me up.
Friend: Hey, I heard that Air Asia is having a blogging competition where the top ten winners will have a chance to become their cadet pilot.
Me: I heard about it too, but you know, I’m a logical person, I don’t have creative mind, I don’t know to write all those fancy fancy stuffs.
Friend: Hey, just give it a try, be yourself and tell your true feeling. I don’t think that’s an essay writing competition. Don’t sleep and dream, it’s time to wake up and do something.
Me: Yup… You are right, I need to wake up! I need to wake up!

Now, I want to tell the world, Air Asia, I’m coming! So you wanna be a pilot? Yes I want to be!

  • Wai Weng

    Ya ya… My body is in the office, but my soul is already flying high (Hopefully my boss will not see this :P)

    Thank you so much for giving me this chance.

  • Yee Chun

    Congratulation, Wai Weng~

  • AirAsia Blog Team

    Get back to work Wai Weng or we’ll have to smack you. Congrats once again

  • Wai Weng

    Ok ok… Thanks again.

    Chang, thanks for your greeting too.

  • Low

    Congrats! I’m at work as well* =p

    *(I’m not at work for AirAsia team) =pp

  • Hare

    Fly high my fren, fly high, catch u up in the sky very very high…..congrats….

  • Daphne Siew Li

    Congrats!!
    yr flying robot was awesome!! :)

  • Kong Sun

    Well Penang are full of talented pilot wanna be.

    Anyway congratulation to you man

  • Wan Siong

    Wai Weng,
    Congrats man on your short-listed post! The UAV was just downright Amazing. It’s so much more stable than the ones I can buy out there in the market.
    Anyway, congrats once again.

  • Sin

    Hi Wai Weng,
    Ur project is awesome!
    Congrats to you…^^. I wish someday I can meet u up in the airline~^^

  • Dominic

    can i do the smacking too? haha.. good luck…

  • Wai Weng

    Thanks everyone for the greetings.

    You guys are really warm. :)

  • Ai Bao

    Hi UTM senior!

    I was in Robocon workshop…:-p

    Congratulation to you!

    I doubt if you remember me…

    My bro always wanted to be a pilot. I hope he can be shortlisted too. :-)

  • Wai Weng

    Hare: Ya, let’s flying together :)

    Daphne: With the power of dreams, nothing is impossible, right? (Quote from Honda) I believe it’s the same with our road to the sky.

  • Wai Weng

    Wan Siong: Did you actually bought one? can lend me to play? Hehe…

    Sin: Thanks. Hope to meet with you guys too :)

    Ai Bao: Thanks for you wishes but I’m sorry, I can’t remember who you are. Maybe I can recall back if I see you. Anyway, gambate on the Robocon, hope to see you guys this coming Robocon in May. Goodluck to your bro too. :)

  • Chee Keong

    congrats wai weng!!

    another penangites!!!
    haha…

    well, i love your project..
    great work done indeed!!!

    wish you all the best, and may the best wins!!

    =D

    Regards,
    CK

  • Wan Siong

    Wai Weng,
    Lolz.. Sorry I don’t own one. My neighbour bought one for RM3k plus and I had to chance to play with it. Boy the 2 stroke engine was so noisy. Anyway, how much did it cost you to build that 4 rotor flying beast? It’s so awesome!! Pass me the specs! Maybe I can go build one out of my own free time. Hahaha..

    Benjamin Siew Wan Siong

  • Wai Weng

    Chee Keong:
    Thanks for your wishes :)

    Wan Siong:
    It’s an expensive toy… The total cost was over RM2k, but of course that included the cost for the failed prototype :P

    If you are really interested, I can give you the details. Contact me at waiweng83@gmail.com :)

    AirAsia Blog Team and Dominic:
    I’m sorry, I’m checking this blog during my work time again. In fact, I check this blog every moment when I have chance to online. I really can’t resist. You guys rock. Don’t smack me ya :P