Sunday, April 17, 2011

Starting the new gig tomorrow

So i start the new job tomorrow. Very exciting. Im told to bring a suitcase for all the training books and manuals we are meant to be given. Lots of study to come, and once again becoming a hermit.

The drive from Darwin to Sydney was really really long! But made it safely back. My car was covered in bugs, and im pretty sure the suspension is completely destroyed. Lets just say it wasn't designed for country roads at 130km in the Territory and 110 all other places.

Here are some photos from the trip -

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I thought this was cool

So you can see the evolution in my career. The first 2 bar's i wore literally dissolved due to sweat, dirt etc. I think i must have wiped my face on my shoulder a few too many times, and you can see how scabby they become! My dad would have hated seeing something as gross as that. But he wasn't here to complain. The second set of 2 bars was my room mates old ones which were donated to me because he thought mine looked "unprofessional."

I actually had over 500 multi engine command before i got 3 bars. The only reason i bought them was that everytime i did the RPT (regular public transport) flights all my pax started commented that they "had the junior pilot!" Naturally i couldn't have that, but the crux came when i was flying with a more junior pilot than myself, but they had 3 stripes and everyone thought they were checking me to line. Petty aren't I? Anyhoo, thats the evolution of my GA uniform. 3 sets of wings, with a 4th to add soon. I start driving south tomorrow, exciting stuff.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ok i lied - one more post!

Just to keep you all entertained i uploaded some of the photos off my phone the other day. Some i have no idea why i took, others are pretty self explanatory. There is one when i closed the main airport at Darwin due to blowing a nosewheel on landing.

For those who want more details of the new job? Yes it is still in Aviation, it is still flying, i have to wear a coat and hat, and it burns kerosense, with around 6.6x the power of the current plane. And roughly 5x the amount of people! Its on the East Coast of Australia, and i will be based at Sydney International.

This is from a Baron about to head over Bathurst Island in the dry season.

This is a funeral plane, carrying a dead body. It was on Bathurst Island. It was one of 7 flights i did in a single since i was checked on twin engine aeroplanes.

Troughten Island! This in my memory was probably my favourite charter in GA. If not my favourite, it was in the top 3. Thats actually not a bad blog post - 3 most memorable flights to date.

Approach into Darwin at night. From memory this was from a Titan, returning from Ramingining.

Following a 747 on the taxiway at Darwin. I stopped here to avoid jetblast. It is really bad if you get to close to a 737 or 717. I didn't even test the 747! It went via a Malaysian Airlines flight number.

Finally, yours truely blowing a tyre on landing. The first incident i had that closed the main airport, and caused 3 jets to do missed approaches! Sorry to them if they read!


Monday, April 4, 2011

My last week of flying in the Northern Territory

Yup, thats correct, it's my final week of flying piston powered aeroplanes in the 'top-end' of Australia. Greener pastures await, and i'm moving back home, much to my parents dismay! (I don't think i'll be living there for too long - I think it's a mutual decision)

I found out the good news a few weeks back, and found out the really good news around 2 weeks ago, with a start date, my basing, and the type of planes i was allocated. To say i am stoked, is an understatement and it is literally a dream come true at this current point in my life. I worked incredibly hard for this position and don't think i have ever studied, practised, put effort into, stressed about etc etc more about anything. BUT thankfully, it all did pay off in the end, and i was awarded a job i have always wanted and cannot wait to start!

The only down side of all this, is the bitter sweet reality of it all. Don't get me wrong, getting out of general aviation is the goal, and has always been the goal. Handing in my resignation was definately awesome, but i am on good terms with all my bosses, trainers, operations etc. Going back to Darwin after visits home is the hardest thing in the world to do! I guess what i'm trying to say is the journey ends. It's been over 3 years abroad working in some of the remotest areas of Australia. 3 seperate moves to start at a new company and a new circle of friends to be made. And it starts again! But i'm incredibly satisfied with this move. I guess as it comes to an end i look back on it all with fond memories, but there have been some of the worst memories, some of the best memories, sad moments, fun moments.. memory loss many times and a lot of hang overs thrown in.

Anyway, i still have the drive from Darwin to Sydney, that will be interesting and long. I semi-dreading it, but it's a good feeling knowing it will be the last time i do it, and the last time i live in a remote area of Australia.

Anyway, in a flying related story matter of speaking. Just to make my last few weeks at work interesting they threw in another tropical low/developing cyclone to make the conditions extra challenging, for one last time. I also love passengers great comments. I'll set the scene for you. I was flying from Tindal to Lake Evella to evacuation the teachers due to the cyclone risk. I was in solid IMC and buildup, rain etc etc, bumps, weather radar painting a picture i'd rather not see. After arriving at the destination and buzzing around at the lowest safe altitude (no approaches into Lake Evella) i eventually find a hole and manage to get below the cloud, avoid the muck and visually land in Lake Evella. Upon getting the names and doing my manifest for the flight + weight and balance paperwork, i was asked possibly the best question in 3 years of flying.. "is it going to be bumpy or is there any weather on the way to Darwin?" I seriously looked at them and laughed and told them "you chartered a plane due cyclone risk, there is weather surrounding us everywhere and i'm 30 minutes late due to this weather - it's going to be smooth of course!" You ask a stupid question you get a stupid answer! That flight was acutally uneventful - a little bit bumpy at times, but ended up doing an ILS into Darwin, at night, down to minima's! That was a first for me. Was very cool seeing the approach lighting appear through the muck and then the runway lights.

However, my other favourite comments from passengers were "have you put enough fuel on for the flight?" followed by "are you sure you can fly this thing?" All you ever have to do is a good landing, and all of a sudden you are the best pilot in the world. I'm sure there are a million others as well. Weirdly when the engines on the 404 bog down, no one has ever said anything about that, and as a pilot i cringe when it happens! Strange. (Bogging down is too much fuel - and the engine as you apply take off power tries to die on you. Its our company procedure for this reason to increase power to over 29" of manifold pressure, while holding the breaks so if it does happen, you are not rolling down the runway at speed.)

Another first for me was doing an ILS to the minima as a storm front hit. Lets just say in 5 years of flying, that was the scariest landing i have ever done! Anyway, my thoughts for the week. I probably won't get a chance to post till i start the new job, so enjoy and i'll have a whole new set of pictures to post!