... read more " /> ... read more " />
17 April 2009

So You Wanna Be Pilot? : Personal Odyssey towards Aviation Discovery

By Chu

Note from Blog Team: Henry, yes we dialed. Congrats number 22. Have a nice day.

Hello AirAsia Blog Team, I am making my 2nd attempt of add-on in my blog with the hope that my blog will be entered as the top 10 list which giving me an opportunity to meet with the pilots, interview them, asking questions, and eventually be part of them yeah…I am craving for it eagerly…and of course anxiously. I am sure I will be the one for it….Here goes my 2nd attempt

My first flight was dated back to standard 4 at age 10, a naïve little chubby boy knew nothing about airplane but was excited and love to be on board flying high on air.

That was the trip where my entire family headed to Singapore with the transportation fee being sponsored by my dad’s best friend. That was the time I boarded the airplane with fascination and excited about the ability of the enormous chunk metal flying so high and yet had no idea how it works at all. Since that 1st time, I am in love with flying. When the time I discovered about the concept of how a plane lifted up, that was 7 years later when I was in Form 4…The Bernoulli’s Principle!

Well, the second time I boarded the plane was 16 years later at the age of 26….Thanks to Air Asia that allowing everyone to fly. Since then, I was appreciated to the company I worked at by allowing me for business trip where I have the opportunity to travel by flight as well as local traveling with the mushrooming of Low Cost Carrier Airline Air Asia. Being matured enough to appreciate the transportation that shorten the time traveling as well as the technology involved in airplane, I was intrigued to discover myself how the airplane works and what are the roles of the pilot in the cockpit.

With the aviation curiosity in mind, my odyssey to the exploration of aviation knowledge began with my first purchased book titled “The Flying Book”!

If you were to look at the actual size, it seems to be small, but do not underestimate the contents of the book. I termed this as “Cili Padi” of aviation book. The materials are interested enough to keep me at bay to read through every single page. From this book, not only I aware of the basic concept of how an airplane works, what the pilots are doing, I realized a lot more things that was not taught in school. Oh my goodness, suddenly I am a huge fan of the book. Do you know what pilots are doing in the cockpit? Do you know how Air Traffic Controller (ATC) collaborates with pilots? Do you know how the evolvement of airplane technology? Do you know how the airport works? Who was the inventor of airplane? The question goes on and on! While reading the book, the information was enthralled enough to keep me continuing read on it. This is not the beginning yet…

Last time when I boarded Air Aisa A320, never have I failed to peep into the cockpit looking at their highly complicated screens & buttons…admiring a while before looking for my seat. If I were to stand there admiring for a longer duration, I am sure the Cabin Crew will be wondering at me the peculiar way that I am observing the cockpit.. Having known that there are so many screens available in the cockpit, that spurred my interest to look out for more information. Having known enough my “Cili Padi” is not knowledgeable enough to propel me further! Hence, I am hunger to search for more information in the cockpit. So curious that I had no choice but to look out at Borders Bookstore and there came my second deeper aviation exploration through “The Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge”.

From the cover itself, it shows that it is the book for pilot. I am just a novice, but fortunate enough that I am endowed with the spirit of loving to read and couple with that I am from technical background, reading the technical book like this is more or less like reading the spec in office. Sometimes, it is pretty challenging to absorb the concept of certain areas. After reading the 1st two chapters only, I observed that this book is not only suitable for pilot, but it is suitable for whoever is interested in aviation knowledge. This book encompassed the aviation knowledge in VERY detail as compared to my first book of “Cili Padi” which hover the basic of aviation knowledge that layman can understand. Well, for my second book, I termed it as “Cold Water”. Hahaha…the contents are pretty “cold”, it is mundane and like a text book. If I were to read this book entirely to master the aviation knowledge, my goodness, with the strong passion I have in aviation interest, I believe my passion is going to reverse and dwindle to none! The contents just couldn’t hold my interest to keep continuing read on it. Compare to my “Cili Padi”…I just love it so much! I just felt that I still lack of something that couldn’t ignite my interest to move on aggressively! Something was missing which I hadn’t realized at that time. Moreover, I was pretty disappointed at one time when I found out that this book actually can be downloaded FREE OF CHARGE from FAA webpage. Goshh! I should have surf the net to look for more aviation knowledge before direct purchasing the book. Arghhh…what a mistake I made! For those who wish to learn more about aviation knowledge, please do not follow my mistake. Go get the knowledge from the link here:

http://www.faa.gov/pilots/training/

Well, from that time onwards, surfing nets for aviation knowledge will never be a missed. With advent of broadband internet, I am so addicted for information trawling. I wish 10 years ago the broadband internet is available for every household with an affordable fee where at that time I was still using dial-up internet with speed slow like a snail. Aviation knowledge was scarcely available in the net by then. And now, it is abundance and within minutes information can be downloaded easily. I found a number of useful forums discussing about aviation industry. One topic that I came across in the forum which I am so attracted at was the simulator game. Woww..a lot of technical jargon being mentioned inside which puzzled me! Being curious by nature, of course I bought one for my self! I would highly recommend this simulator game to everyone who loves to fly.

Upon completed the installation, I am excited to look into the game. The area that I appreciated the most is the training provided in the game. There are lessons started from Student Pilot to Airline Transport Pilot, which are the courses a real pilot needed to embark through. Started from the beginning with Student Pilot, I went through all the lessons, making sure every single line I read through and making my best to absorb the knowledge. Compare to my “Cold Water”, the lesson in the game really hold me for hours sitting in front of the PC kept reading it. The best part of the game, upon completing every single lesson, there will be practical training involved. That is the fun part I LOVE THE MOST where I can fly the Cessna 172. Remember I mentioned before that I lack of something that I couldn’t proceed aggressively during my reading at “Cold Water”? Yeah…this is the area that I am lacking of, which is the PRACTICAL TRAINING! Having played a few times with keyboard, arghhh…the experience was terrible. Well, I am elated to have my own cockpit to further enhance my flying experience…haha…just to share out the photo of my cockpit.

After going through the course of Student Pilot, there I realized how to understand the 6 metering (Attitude, Altitude, Speed indicator, Heading indicator, Turn coordinator & Vertical Speed Limit indicator) during maneuvering the flight. With just this course I went through, I was on top of the world! I managed to earn my solo flight Student Pilot certificate after passing through my check flight. Believe me, this is the REAL BEGINNING of the fun part! The motivation of understanding the concept pushes me further. I moved on further to study the course of Private Pilot certificate, taking weeks to complete (I only practice during weekend..hehe) and earn the certificate. In every practical lesson, “Ah hah” was the sound that I always emitted indicating I realized how a real pilot do the job inside the cockpit. When I was studying the Instrument Pilot, I think this was the best part I had ever learned. Ah hah…now I know how a real pilot using their instrument landing system (ILS) to guide them align correctly to the runway and land successfully. Yahoooo….for your information, with the concept I learned, I am able to fly my Cessna 172 in simulator from KL to Penang as well as from Penang to Langkawi with no problem at all! To be simple, the concept allows me to fly to any airport I like. Having purchase the game, I knew I had made the right decision!

Visiting Borders bookstore and stop by at bookshelf related to transportation topic is a norm to me. Having looked into the aviation book is always my interest. There came I saw this book which was related to the simulator game which I am practicing. I couldn’t resist but to purchase on it with the hope to gain more insight of flying. The book consists a CD with lessons available that couldn’t be found in the game. The notes are comprehensive and easy to understand. I am still on going exploring on this book. I am making good use of this book. It is very worth the value!

Well, having gone through the lessons I learned, my passion and dream towards becoming a real pilot grow so strong that I am curious enough to try out A321 plane in the game. In A321 cockpit, those are the complicated screens and buttons I peeped into it when I boarded Air Asia A320 last time! First time looking into cockpit A321, I have no idea how to operate at all. That do not dither me from trying. The unknown feeling is like the first time I am handling Cessna 172. I still need to learn from scratch on this giant plane! Having learned the basic concept of the cockpit in Cessna 172, I explored further on the basic flying concept of operating the Jet plane in the game. Of course, Internet is another avenue to look for more info on Airbus airplane. Hence, YouTube is my favorite site to pick up the knowledge in operating the plane. Just by typing in “A320 tutorial”, there will be lists of tutorial video to be selected. One video that I love very much and would like to share out with fellow friends here on understanding the cockpit of A320 is as below. This video is an eye opener for me to further understanding the basic function of each screen. I believe it will be an eye opener for you too..

With self learning, self searching and self exploring in aviation knowledge, I am grateful with the spirit I am having. As of now, I managed to take off and land the A321, of course, not in perfect, most of the time I crash during landing. By the way, I am still fine tuning my skill to have a better landing. Of course, there are a lot more to learn on other screens in the cockpit as well as other area in aviation knowledge! I appreciate a lot the technology involved in airplane by making it to fly more safely, longer journey and yet better fuel efficiency. The best part as of now is that I manage to learn the fundamental knowledge of the cockpit be it in big or small plane irrespective of manufacturer. The concept is all the same! If I were to travel with A320 in future, I no longer need to peep into the A320 cockpit; YouTube has unveiled all of it to everyone as long as you have broadband Internet access. Apart from that, when I boarded Air Asia A320, I observed majority of the passengers prefer to choose the front seats. For me, being admired on the technology of the airplane, I purposely opt for the seat further then the middle seat so that I can have a good view on the wing. Whenever the plane is banking either to the right or left, I managed to glimpse on the movement of aileron which reflected back the lessons I learned in the game. The moment I love the most is during the approaching phase where I can observe the flap of the wing being extended out and immediately you will feel the transition speed to slower. When the landing gear started to drop, I can hear the sound too. At that time, I will start imagining that the captain must be now trimming and aligning the airplane and slowly controlling the throttle to descend towards the runway. The imagination is just the same as when I am flying the A321 in the simulator.

Personally I am a person who loves to seek for improvement in term of personal development. Life long learning is always my priority. I was a Police Cadet when I was in my secondary school. Moving on to my tertiary education in college study, I am actively involved in engineering club for events organizing for the members as well for secondary school students. All I love is self-improvement and to be a better & knowledgeable person. Even when I am in the working society; I have never stopped learning to be a better leader and better communicator through joining external activities like Toastmaster Club that I joined 4.5 years ago. Being actively participated in the program and joining as a committee initially and becoming part of the Exco member now is an honor for me. With that, I have the opportunity to learn and to be a good team player in the club as well as in work and corporate as a TEAM to perform the task efficiently. I always stressed on TEAM works as TEAM stands for “Together Everyone Achieve More”. With the skill I had learnt, I am able to convey my message clearly and confidently in front being small or large audience. Being an advocate in public speaking, I participated in numerous competitions to gain the exposure what I had learnt in the club and apply it when the opportunity arises.

http://eaatmc.blogspot.com/2008/09/toastmasters-area-s5-humorous-and.html

Check this blog out as I am one of the winner yeah!

Being a vivacious guy, I love to mingle around with diverse level of people irrespective of creed, race & age. Meeting with diverse of people is great for me as I am exposed to different knowledge and experiences from each of everyone. I am sure this is the quality traits the pilot will need to have. Being a Pilot, he needs to be ale to communicate effectively with the control tower; he needs to be able to work well in a team with the crew members; he needs to be friendly at all time with the crews and passengers; he needs to be disciplined; he needs to be able to make good decision as a leader; I am proud to possess all the quality traits mentioned above.

As of 2009, a lot of the countries being inflicted by economic turmoil, it is very surprising that the business model of Air Asia still allowing it to hire cadet pilot. In fact, I believed that Tony Fernandes has a great vision that the aviation industry will always be expanding especially for Low Cost Carrier Air Asia as every one would prefer on it. According to Airbus Global Market Survey, it is forecasted the passenger air traffic demand to grow 4.9% worldwide. Below is the excerpt from the survey:
“All of which means that over the 2007-2026 period covered by this forecast, world passenger traffic is expected to increase by 4.9% per annum and the number of frequencies offered on passenger routes will more than double.”

Full survey document can be downloaded from Airbus website.

http://www.airbus.com/store/mm_repository/pdf/att00011423/media_object_file_GMF_2007.pdf

We are well aware that every country is facing the economy turmoil as for now. But for long term wise, the aviation industry will surely bounce back. It is the nature of economy that needed to go through the cycle.

Well, from the survey, the pilot demand is ever growing! As age of 26+ (Haven’t reach my birthday, so not consider 27..hehe) in 2008, I am aware that cadet pilot opening was available from Air Asia homepage. I had applied, but to no avail I had not received any response. When I saw the Cadet Pilot hiring advertisement on 28 Feb 2009 from The Star newspaper, my never give up passion to be pilot still burn strongly. I know this is another opportunity for me to apply before I turn 28. I submitted my application of course! On Thursday (5 March 2009) morning in office during reading The Star newspaper, I was surprised to read about Air Asia blog to be pilot! Well, I am so grateful to Air Asia by allowing every Malaysian an opportunity to be a pilot. I am very happy to take this avenue to share my passion of flying with fellow Malaysians..perhaps with the world too!

Having gone through my odyssey of aviation exploration, from purchasing my first book and self knowledge exploration until my ability in handling the airplane in simulation, my passion in flying is deeply engraved in my heart. Being a pilot, it is understood that the job nature is risky and the responsibility is tremendously huge with all the lives depend on it. In fact, it is a challenge. It is not easy I know, but with passion, all these can be overcome! If there is a will, there is way! Being a pilot will have the opportunity to explore new frontier..being traveling to new places, seeing different cultures, experiencing different tradition, meeting different people…in short, the horizon of life will be expanded.

“Blog to be pilot” available from Air Asia…It seems unbelievable, it seems impossible…

But the mottos from Tony Fernandes always love to share in his blog:
Believe the unbelievable
Dream the impossible
And never say no to an answer

And now, if you were to ask me “So you wanna be a pilot?”, my answer will be fervently YES, I want and I am ready with my passionate dream to pick up this challenge and be a professional commercial pilot with Air Asia!

  • Hamimah

    Hi Chu..
    omedeto gozaimasu..
    I wonder when will my turn be..is it possible for me to made it to be shortlisted ?

    OMG..

    however, I’m happy for you.

  • Chu

    Hello Air Asia Blog Team, thank you very much for blogging out my piece of baby. It is an honor for me to have it posted. Thank you for giving me the opportunity.

    Bingo….Kudos (Jumping here and there..very excited and happy)

    Actually I tried calling the same number a few times but no body pick up. Anyway, thank you for the opportunity given.

    I would wish to meet you all one day if I am in the top 10. Cheer..have a nice day.

  • Low

    it took me awhile 2 read your post (kinda hard with my mobile)
    congrats :)

  • Kong Sun

    Hey Chu, congratulation on being shortlisted. Welcome onboard of AirAsia future cadet pilot.

  • Daphne Siew Li

    congrats!

  • Wan Siong

    Chu,
    No more sleepless nights for you from now on right?
    Haha…
    Congrats on being short-listed.
    Those books really cost you a bomb, don’t they?

    Benjamin Siew Wan Siong

  • Chee Ping

    Hey Chu Congrats!!
    Wow u really have got lots of aviation books …How much the third book cost u?

  • Wai Weng

    Wow Henry, what a nice blog! Congratulation!

    I did actually browse to the Toastmasters blog and to my surprise, i saw 2 of my friends in the photos :) This world is really small huh.

  • Chu

    Hello friends here, thank you for congratulating. Let’s together patience for the top 10 result announcement.

    Hamimah, pls be patience and I do wish you the best for your blog to be posted.

    Wan Siong, from knowledge perspective, I think it worth a lot with the cost given.

    Chee Ping, if not mistaken is less then RM120 (Couldn’t recall exactly the amount) from Borders. Actually Borders has a lot of aviation books…discover it during your free time :)

    Wai Weng, it is great that your friends are Toastmaster member. Visit them and joint the club as a member. I am sure you will benefit from this program :)

  • Sin

    Congratulation, welcome onboard ^^
    Btw, your computer table are very neat,LOL ^^
    P/s: it took me awhile to finish reading ur post, kinda long. Haha, but it is good ^^.

  • Chu

    Hello Sin, thank you.
    Actually the table is neat within the photo frame only…

    Out of it, the monster will be revealed :P
    LOL..

  • Chee Keong

    You’ve got great interest man…

    Congrats bro!!

    Regards,
    CK

  • Subramaniam

    Hi Chu,

    congrats man…ur blog really shows ur passion for flying.

    on the other hand, wanted to ask you if the Microsoft Flight Simulator comes with the joystick, or was it a separate purchase?

    thanx man…

  • Chee Keong

    its separated..
    you’ll have to go buy it from the stores..
    ;D

  • Chu

    Hello CK & Subramaniam, thank you.

    Subramaniam, please go buy the game and try out, especially with the joystick, wow..the experience is awesome!

    If you have enough hard disk capacity and a very good graphic card, you can try out X-plane 9.