Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas in Perth

My first christmas being celebrated Down Under. However, it was not a snowy white nor cold christmas. Christmas day was right smack in the middle of a dry and hot spell; a taste of what summer's gonna be. In the heatwave, the temperature shot up to 42 degree celcius. I spent the day in Mosman Beach. Very beautiful beach with fine and silky smooth sands. It was my mistake not to apply sunscreen on my entire body. My back was roasted and had to endure few days of sunburn pains.

Seems like BBQ is the preferred christmas and summer activity for the Australians. In the week alone, I had 4 BBQs to attend. My friend was joking the other day that BBQ is one of the Australians' staple food. In the SFC BBQ and christmas party, everyone was having a great time. One of the best party ever being organized in the college.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Symphony In The City

The West Australian Symphony Orchestra did an open air performance for the public at the Esplanade, in the heart of the city. Since it was performed in the open with help of loudspeakers, the sound was not really great. But still, they should be commended as it was a free event for the public with a new concept of picnicking while enjoying the music. The performance ended with the lively tune of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture with the Swan Bells chiming in the background and the 7 Field Battery of The Australian Army blasting the cannons.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Taming 600 Wild Horses

Been quite busy with the Baron conversion flights recently after my transition from the Cessna. From riding on the puny 160 horses, now I have a whopping 600 horsepower; 300 on each engine at my disposal. Taming the beast is not an easy task, considering the big jump in power and speed adaptation. I was literally stunned by it's speed on my first flight. On the Cessna, I cruise at 120kts (222kmh) and land at 65kts (120kmh). Now on the Baron, I cruise up to 195kts (360kmh) and land at 95kts (175kmh)! My old cranky car can't even cruise past 140kmh and now I'm landing the plane at 175kmh. The engines are so powerful that it can still fly safely with the loss of one engine. But it loses 80% of the performance. Therefore, one needs to arrest and fix the problem quickly or else the plane will spin out of control. The plane is heavy and sometimes I find myself with 2 hands on the column. It's time for me to go to the gym more often to work out the muscles.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

P3 Check: The Day Murphy's Law Strikes

10.00am, 20th Nov, 2007: Ring...Ring...Ring...Damn! Who would have call me at this time early in the morning. "Hello, this is the planner speaking. You have been bumped off again for P-check tomorrow". What the hell? I have already waited 10 days for P-check and still couldn't get it done. How much longer should I wait and be stuck with the Cessna 172? Feeling grumpy, I threw down all the charts and maps. Bah! Another unproductive day ahead. Might as well just relax for now and prepare my flight another time.

1.30PM: Ring...Ring...Ring..."Hello, this is the planner again. You're up for P-check." "Oh, that's great. When will it be?" "It is 1 hour from now." I nearly fell from my chair. WTF? How on earth can one be prepared when the flight normally needs 2 hour planning ahead and also some revisions the day before? "Who will be the instructor?" "It's Andrew Spencer." Hmm...wait a minute. Now that changed the whole scenario. I did my P2 check with him as well. It was great and fun to fly with him. "OK! I take it."

When I got over to the ops room, I only had another 30 minutes. Oh no, this is getting bad. In a rushed and unprepared state, this where Murphy's Law comes to strike. Started the engine of VH-YXZ, but the ADF was found not working. Crap! More delays. Managed to change to another aircraft of VH-BZI. But by this time, my departure time was already 30 minutes behind schedule. Everything seemed fine after I took off. But Murphy visited us again. Unknowingly, the DGI had precessed more than 10deg from the compass. I was darn sure of it being set correctly as I had synchronized it just before entering the runway. Also on a climb, it was still showing 240 and I was aligned with the runway. I was flying all over the place trying to figure out what went wrong. There was no way to tell the problem as I was in a climb and cannot synchronize the DGI yet. Perth Radar started to call in to inquire about the erratic movement of my aircraft. Only when I reached the top of climb, I was able to find out the problem and quickly rectified it. By this time, I have already lost half the confidence. Add in the bad turbulence, my concentration was thrown off further.

On the way back, I had already lost all hope on this flight and was prepared to repeat it. Andrew broke the silence and said overall the sortie was a pass. I couldn't believe what I just heard. I wished I could have done better and I felt so bad at that moment. He said he will not pass a student without any reason. That lifted up my spirit. I kept thinking about the bad things and never see the good points in my flight. He was right when he advised me to correct the mistake found and then move ahead, don't dwell on the past. Thanks Andrew, for your advice and the flight.

So, that was my last flight on a single engine Cessna172. Till now, I have already completed 3 phases and will be entering the final phase. Baron, here I come!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Internet On The Go

Forget about touch screen PDAs and portable WIFI devices. You just need one Moto Q9 with a little love from Tuzki to rule them all. The Q9 has redefined mobile internet and IM. Featuring a full QWERTY keypad, nothing can beat this baby when it comes to the ease and speed in messaging. It comes fully installed with Windows Live Messenger with other IM applications. With certified pre-installed applications, you can be assured of stable and seamless connectivity. It runs on the fast HSDPA network and you'll never miss a moment with your loved ones.

To find out more about what makes the cute little Tuzki fall in love with the Q9, click on the picture below and discover a whole new world in mobile IM.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Freo Day Out 2

This was my second time to Fremantle in a month time. This time, I was there with a smaller group of friends. Less people, less demands, less complaints and thus more time to explore. I spent the whole afternoon there to explore almost all the places of interest. I had a great time photographing as the sky was sunny with cool breeze from the sea. The old buildings and structures are all still standing strong and looking magnificent against the stunning backdrop of blue skies and ocean.

Later in the evening, Ariel invited us over to her house to try out the piano. I was very excited the first time I saw the piano. It is an antique piano in mint condition. A closer inspection revealed that this piano is actually a mechanical piano which can play by its own by loading up paper scrolls with punched holes and pedaling the motor with the feet. Long before the invention of electric piano, this gem already existed. The engineering of this is a marvel. This was also the first time I've seen such a piano.