Friday 23 December 2011

"Friday Fabulous Flyer"

Today, I was lucky enough to wake up to a wonderful blog post by Karlene Petitt. It wasn't any blog post, it was one about me. I earned the opportunity to be the "Friday Fabulous Flyer" on Karlene's blog, one of the most coveted achievements anyone can ever have.

If you wish to read the blog post, please pop over to Karlene's blog, accessible from this link:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Karlene sincerely for all the hard work and effort she puts into her blog. It truly is a credit to her. I feel privileged to be featured on such a wonderful blog.


Tuesday 29 November 2011

Why do I want to be an Airline Pilot?

My ultimate career goal is to be an airline pilot, but what exactly are my reasons for craving such a challenging career?

1. Everybody wants something in life but a 'want' is not essential to live. It is possible to survive very easily without it and most people forget about their wants over a given period of time. That is why I don't want to be a pilot; I need to be a pilot. I need to be an airline pilot because if I never fulfill my dream, I will never reach Self-Actualistation on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. It has become a mental thought and I use it for motivational purposes while studying. Often times while studying I lose interest and I believe that I can find more answers in the four walls that surround me. But reality always sheds some light on the walls and I discovered that even by using an infra-red light the answer still doesn't show up. I determined that if you need something enough you will work extremely hard for it; be it that you just sit down and learn your Macbeth quotations or you run twenty miles a day, it's a sacrifice that has to be made and I am willing to make that sacrifice.

2. I believe that being an airline pilot suits my personality. I cannot justify that with an example, but I feel that I have developed a sense of love for aviation that i never even knew could exist in my genes. I knew it would be an amazing job to be involved with the airlines, but I never believed that I could do it. It was beyond my wildest imagination to even consider working for the airlines. I never knew what I wanted from life until my peers began to ask me about my career choices. I looked to the sky for inspiration and there it was, my dream career flying over my head in a Boeing 777 to New York.

3. I want to be the first to greet the day and watch the sun peek up from beyond the horizon at FL380. I enjoy watching the sun rise and the sun set on any given day but it would be even more magical if i could do it from the cockpit window while soaring through the sky. A lot of the population of today's world rely on modern day technologies to keep ourselves satisfied, but we rarely realise how much natural phenomena can influence our day. Watching the sun take its course throughout the morning us especially fascinating because there is a feeling of unspoiled nature produced and animals scurrying around in their natural habitats. Natural light sources remind me of family in far destinations, but the fact that we see the same moon and sun everyday shortens the distance and makes far away feel like over the road.

I do not mind having to succumb to jet lag every day of the week, in fact I am looking forward to it. I feel like I have the right attitude and the right state of mind to carry out this enthralling vocation that has been assigned to me for I believe that no other career path will suit my needs and temptations.

It is a deep desire that can never be unsettled.

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Joint Career Venture

In my previous post I wrote about my first choice career of being an airline pilot. Even though I believe no other career will suit me, there is one other that I can combine with being an airline pilot. I have seen many people do it and many people dream of doing it. Often on long haul flights there is minimal to do in the cockpit apart from occasionally checking that everything is running smoothly and the odd announcement about the weather at the destination airport. Because of this, to avoid boredom, I have chosen to become an author.

It is only in the past year that I have begun to enjoy writing. Everyday my biggest fear was walking into English class to study Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry and Romeo and Juliet. I hated it and I always tried to skip it and go to football instead. I did bad in tests, I only ever received 55%. I lost all hope for English, and even avoided being caught not doing my homework on several occasions. However, I wanted to prove to my teacher that I could do well in my Junior Certificate - and that is what I did. I entered the exam hall and wrote every ounce of information that was present in my head with the best vocabulary I was capable of using. When I walked out of the exam, I felt that I had hammered the nail on the head and ended up receiving a prestigious A.

That is only one of my miraculous stories, I continue to produce more every day. I enjoy writing more than ever now, so much so that I have began to devote at least thirty minutes of my time a day putting the most effort that I can into writing my blog. Many people continue to believe that writing is rather pedestrian and mundane, but the truth is that it is only monotonous when you are discussing a topic that you have no interest in. I have began to write about aviation and I couldn't enjoy it any more than I already am.

I have studied more career options than I can count on my hands and feet. I have dismissed some by simply glancing at their titles. I am positive that I am going to be an airline pilot, but people keep reinforcing that I need a backup plan. I believe that I don't need a second plan, I am determined to succeed. Then again, why would I need a second plan if I can combine two-in-one and have a joint career venture? This is my favourite plan so far, even if it is just updating and editing my blog I am considered the author of the work. In fact, I am already fulfilling one of my career options right this second by scribbling this down. I suppose you could call my blog my online novel or diary or read it as in eBook or something. The main thing is that I write to motivate and enlighten people. I also try to provide encouragement and an optimistic aurora. Writing is now one of my favourite things to do on a Saturday. I like to play with words - add some in, take some out and jumble them up. I would be delighted to write from a window above the clouds at FL370.

My dream whizzing through the air. The best thing? I would be in a different place for every word I would write. I believe that this would provide a magical feeling for the reader, these words have been composed from high above varied lands and seas. A different inch of the earth for almost every letter.

Not only can it be my second job, it can be my hobby.

Monday 21 November 2011

Personal Life Objectives and Career Goals

We all have objectives in our lives, whether it is cooking the easiest recipe or overcoming your biggest fear. Personally, I like to set small, achievable goals. Instead of taking flight training in a big block of work, I like to think of it as first obtaining my Private Pilot Licence and then the Airline Transport Pilot Licence. I do not like making huge objectives and aims, I usually lose motivation before I can even make my new hobby a habit.

Where am I going with all of this?

I think it is easier to share your life objectives and career goals with the rest of the world. When I read someones objectives, and then see them completing their lifelong ambition, it makes me think "I can do it". It motivates me and puts things into perspective. It makes me wonder what I am really capable of doing and then putting it into practice. When you share things with your friends and peers, they tend to encourage you and urge you to complete your aspirations. For example, since I have joined Twitter and Blogger, I have received nothing but encouragement from my acquaintances.

So, what are my life objectives and career goals?

1. My first ambition is to do well in the Leaving Certificate. A good Leaving Cert is everything when you are applying for a college course. The Irish system relies on 'points'. There are two levels of each subject to cater for each individuals intellectual level. Higher level subjects are worth 100 points, being more difficult than ordinary level subjects worth 60 points. The maximum amount of points attainable is 600, which is extremely desirable. The average amount of points achieved in the Leaving Certificate is about 350 - 400 points. The course that I wish to get a degree in is a mere 425 points, so I will have to work extremely hard over the next two years. My second choice course is around 300 points but with 6 higher level and 1 ordinary level subject I believe that I am capable of acquiring the 425 points required.

2. My ultimate career goal is to be an airline pilot. I believe that there is no other career that will suit me, I love aviation and the thought of transporting passengers around the world appeals to me. It is a dream for me to think that I could be the captain of a jet someday, a dream that I am going to make come true. Everyday I look to the sky for inspiration and I believe that once I am up there controlling the aircraft I will never want to descend from my high. It has been my dream to travel the world and being a pilot will hopefully make that a little easier. Less time but more varied destinations!

3. Last but not least, I want to enjoy my life. People often squint and say "how can you enjoy life by being an airline pilot?" I smile and respond "when you have a dream since being a young child, you have the intention of fulfilling that dream. Often, my dreams have faded and extinguished, but the dream of being an airline pilot has not which just proves my longing to execute it. The quality of life appeals to me, I enjoy the idea of living out of a suitcase for days on end. For me it is a win - win situation, I like both the advantages and disadvantages of the job. I have read many dismissive articles about the cost of training and about how being an airline pilot is not worth the hassle, but this makes me want to succeed even more." Let the encouragement prevail.

Saturday 19 November 2011

Work Experience

Day 1

It all began by walking into the security office. As expected, my picture was taken and I was presented with an I.D. card. I waited to be escorted to the Human Resources department where I was given a mini Health & Safety induction. I then walked to the Laundry Room, and was given a uniform and steel-capped boots. No chance of accidents happening here!

Without delay, we headed for the maintenance hangars, only to be advised that the aircraft didn't arrive on time and would be coming at 20:00 on Tuesday night. Nonetheless, to avoid disappointment, my manager accompanied me into the cockpit of a Boeing 737, belonging to Nok Air and I had a good snoop around before moving on. (I later realised that this was an ex Ryanair 737 just after being repainted in the Nok livery.)

Next to be seen was an Airbus A320 from the airline BMI. I walked around the exterior and learned the locations of some of the most commonly used control surfaces. I progressed to the flight deck and felt in my element in such a spacious cockpit. I made my way to another Airbus A320 in the paint shop which was destined for Aerolineas. The fuselage gleamed in its rust primer and glossy white paint, the sight of new aircraft.

Next, I was accompanied to the schedule for the Boeing 767 which was due in. I was notified that it was from an airline called Arkefly, a Dutch charter company part of TUI. I learned the structure of the A320 engine from the airline AviaNova and also was taught the instruments in the flight deck. I took the captain's seat, fiddled with the joystick and imagined that I would be sitting in one of these two seats for the rest of my life. Needless to say, it was an overwhelming feeling.

Day 2

Suck          Squeeze          Bang          Blow

I will never, ever forget these four simple words, which explain the structure of such a complicated engine.

I ascended the stairs, and was surprised to see a Boeing 767 staring back at me, creating an ominous feeling. I gasped at the great magnitude of the aircraft and tripped over my feet trying to speed up. I was taken up to the cockpit where all of the Liquid Crystals Displays were smiling back at me. This was only the third time that I had been in a live aircraft, it was a totally different experience.

I was introduced to the Electronics & Avionics team with whom I would be working with for the rest of the week.

The first task I was presented with was a Timex replacement of a strobe light on the wing. I stared in disbelief when I was handed the screwdriver. I decided that it was now or never, I had to learn sometime and take responsibility. I took all but two warped screws out, and needless to say my manager was quite impressed.

The next task to be fulfilled was to replace the Auxiliary Power Unit battery. This job required absconding into the belly of the aircraft to pull a circuit breaker on the P33 panel. As I escalated into the belly I was surprised at the great expanse of black boxes which automate so many functions. Afraid to touch anything, I knelt on the bright orange floor, similar to the colour of a carrot. The floor above my head creaked as people trodded over the escape hatch. I was startled to see my manager peer around from the cargo hold, and followed him to behind the black boxes to see the wiring leading into them.

I was notified that another task had to be carried out before the APU battery could be replaced. We traveled to the cockpit, and switched the power off. In due time, we returned to the cockpit, where I was permitted to switch the power back on. I carried out what most pilots call the "L shape". I felt over the moon, as if I had just taken the first step to what I would be learning in training. I thought things couldn't get better, until I was shifted to the first officers seat and instructed to extend the flaps to 25 degrees. Again, I thought "it's now or never", and extended the flaps. I heard the hydraulic fluid flow seamlessly until the flaps reached the desired position. I felt exhilaration flowing through the arteries and veins in my body, just as the hydraulic fluid is essentially the life and blood of an aircraft.

I was surprised to find myself climbing the scaffolding which surrounded the tail. I landed on top of the tail, and stared down at the big bird. It was a breathtaking view, watching people working from a height on such a big aircraft.

On top of the tail

After lunch, we began the job of testing the extinguishers in the APU section of the tail. I poked my head up
and turned the hex key in an anti-clockwise motion three times, until a positive reading was obtained in the cockpit each time. Comparing to the other jobs, this one was relatively easy apart from the mark it left on my index and middle finger for the rest of the day!

Day 3

On day 3, there was limited power available, so instead I seized the opportunity to do some work on the engines. I scrambled up to the EEC box, and I was instructed to test the wires for the amount of resistance. I shifted between this job and seeing engine number 2 being dropped. Witnessing the engine being dropped was a totally different experience, the wing is manufactured in such an amazing way.

For the rest of the day, I wisely spent my time in the cockpit. I learned all of the instruments and dials, and it proves that the cockpit is not as complicated as I thought. I listened the the arrivals and tower frequency at Shannon airport, and I heard a lot of interesting conversations. I felt in my element sitting in the captains seat, and words cannot describe the feelings of perplexity that this seat produces.

Me in the cockpit

EICAS systems on the 767

Thursday 27 October 2011

YouTube documentaries

Since the latest series of Air Crash Investigation has come to an end, I have scoured the internet in search for some more documentaries about aircraft and aviation. I have decided to post some of these documentaries, which are primarily from YouTube, here on my blog. I intend to watch these documentaries over the next couple of days, to find out as much as I can about aircraft before going on work experience.


Wednesday 26 October 2011

Work Experience

Every day is a day closer to Tuesday morning. The 1st - 4th of November will probably be some of the best, most informational days in my life.

The reason why? I am going to work experience in an aircraft maintenance center near Shannon Airport, Co. Clare. I am eager to find out about the the different aircraft and how to maintain them. I have only been up close to aircraft on about two occasions, so this will be a new experience for me.

I have great respect for the company who offered me work experience, as the jobs that they carry out are truly amazing. They fix otherwise broken aircraft and make them airworthy again. The thought of being up close and personal is like a dream.

I consider myself lucky for obtaining work experience in the field of aviation. I am one of the lucky few who got chosen, and when I say lucky, I mean it. Not many people are as auspicious, but I suppose what you need and crave, you will get.

Monday 24 October 2011

Since I spend much of my time on , I have decided to post a few atmospheric pictures from the dedicated aircraft website.

A Finnair Airbus A330-302:

Another Finnair , this time a MD-11:

Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 just after rotation:

An Aer Lingus Airbus A330 departing from Boston. I have traveled on this one myself from Boston!

British Airways Boeing 777 preparing to land at Heathrow:

Ryanair Boeing 737:

Sunday 23 October 2011

My visit to the ATC tower

Today was most certainly one of the most inspirational days in my life. Without a doubt.

I arrived to the airport and was greeted by a Ryanair 737-800 staring me in the face. I realised what a powerful beast it is when the engines were fired up and an ominous atmosphere was almost created. I instantly thought 'I will fly a plane like that someday'.

Off I trodded up the stairs and met the Air Traffic Controller on duty. It wasn't long before the next plane arrived, another Ryanair 737-800.

As the Ryanairs continued to filter in, the much anticipated Aer Lingus a320 bolted down the runway. It was the sight I was looking forward to all day, two shades of green and a stripe of blue, along with the Irish EI registration beside the stabilizer. 

As the two Irish carriers left, bmibaby made an appearance in its 737-300. A little smaller than the previous aircraft, but nonetheless a UK registered aircraft was a pleasant view.

Along bobbed more Ryanairs, and then a FlyBe Bombardier Dash-8 Q400. 

Then, out of the blue, a womans voice emerged through the speaker. "Baby 3901", she exclaimed. I was elated. Before today, I had never heard a woman pilot live. She had a thick English accent, and was flying this bmibaby 737-300 from Manchester. I was so inspired, and my eyes lit up like torches.

Needless to say, this was one hell of a day. I seen everything I wanted to see and learned everything and anything I could about airplanes and airports. 

Thanks to all of the staff at Ireland West Airport Knock for such a brilliant day. I am looking forward to visiting again. Keep up the good work!

Well done to the All Blacks, you truly deserved that win. Commiserations to the French

Air Traffic Control tower... I'm on my way

Well, the weather is holding up, hopefully it will stay the same way for the rest of the day. Very unlikely.

I am REALLY looking forward to today, to be in between 737s, a320s and maybe even a couple of Bombardier Q400s is a dream come true.

I feel so privileged to be able to go visit my local Air Traffic Control tower. It is an amazing experience, and I hope that I can continue to do it.

A lot of my free time is now devoted to aviation. I need to make sure it is what I want to do, even though I am already 99.999% sure. However, it does cost a good bundle of money so I need to get that other 0.001% sure as well.

Off I go to get ready. I promise to post some pictures! Up France.

Saturday 22 October 2011

My Android

Well, about a month has elapsed since I acquired my Samsung Galaxy Mini. And I must say I spent most of the month learning how to use the Android Froyo interface.
I am enjoying my new pocket companion so far. To me, it's like a mini-computer with constant Gmail, Twitter and Facebook updates springing up like grass in Summer. After examining the whole phone, both interior and exterior, I can find no faults.

Except for one. Now even though I only occasionally use the mobile internet on my phone, I still find the battery life shocking. It has come to the point that I am considering getting a new battery to keep in my purse for emergencies.

The keyboard is exceptional, and I'm typing with it now. There is a built in auto-correct feature which interjects every time you make a spelling mistake. Everything else is running smoothly so far, except for the odd glitch here and there.

But hey, that's to be expected on any phone!
Well, they always say that after every bout of rain the sun reappears. Well that stands so far, but as I gaze out the window I can see a big, grey cloud approaching.

As you can see from my previous blog post, the weather was exceptionally droning. However, the weather did let up for about 2 hours, and here are some beautiful blue-sky pictures that I enjoy.

I really hope the sky stays like this for a while longer to see the British Airways 747 approaching my house! (BAW13K). I had a good two hours of plane spotting, and I captured this picture while out and about.

The American Airlines 757 to Boston is on the top and the British Airways 747 to JFK is on the bottom.

While writing this, I ran outside and I caught a glimpse of another British Airways 747 flying by to JFK.

Well, the clouds are beginning to sag  downwards and it is obvious that the water within will soon fall down to earth as gravity had intended it to.

Air Traffic Control tower

Well, my hopes for visiting the National Flight Centre in Leixlip today were diminished. But my excitement continues to build for tomorrow.

I will be making my second trip to the local Air Traffic Control tower tomorrow at 1 o'clock. It truly is an exciting adventure up the stairs where it is so easy to communicate with the aviators living the dream. There will be a high concentration of flights within the couple of hours I will be visiting, which is quite unusual for a regional airport. As it stands, there will be 7 flights arriving in the space of 3 hours, with more scheduled.

I am really looking forward to it, and who knows, if I ask politely I might even get to talk to a very special person who sits in the cockpit!

It's Raining It's Pouring


Aer Lingus A330 takeoff SNN - BOS 18th August 2011

Ryanair stake must go - Aer Lingus

Courtesy of The Irish Times

AER LINGUS chairman Colm Barrington has told Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary in a letter that Ryanair’s stake in Aer Lingus “cannot be maintained in the long term” and has had “a significantly detrimental impact” on the Aer Lingus share price.
Writing in response to a letter from Mr O’Leary, Mr Barrington said the company did not intend “to engage with further public debate” with him on issues including Aer Lingus’s pensions, dividends and its “leave and return” redundancy scheme.
“Such public debate with a single self-interested shareholder is not in the best interests of all our shareholders,” he wrote.
The Aer Lingus chairman also dismissed Ryanair’s criticism of its share price. “It was your decision to invest your shareholders’ funds to purchase Aer Lingus shares in 2006,” Mr Barrington writes.
“It is our view that the shareholding cannot be maintained in the long term.”
Mr Barrington repeated Aer Lingus’s willingness to have “constructive discussions” with Ryanair about its claim that it is open to selling its 29 per cent stake – as long as Ryanair is “truly interested” in such a disposal.
Ryanair and Aer Lingus have exchanged a series of tit-for-tat letters in recent weeks, with much of the dispute revolving around Aer Lingus’s €30 million settlement with the Revenue in relation to the controversial “leave and return” scheme.
Ryanair deputy chief executive Howard Millar, at a recent Aer Lingus event for investors in London, accused its management of a “cover-up” for not releasing an external report on the scheme.
In his letter to Mr O’Leary dated October 20th, Mr Barrington refers to Mr Millar “disrupting” the investor event.
Mr Barrington also writes that Mr O’Leary did “not made any substantive new points”. “You appear intent on ignoring our previous responses on these matters simply because the facts we have outlined and the views we have expressed are at variance with your own stated opinions.”

My Dream

Thursday 28 July 2011

Take Off from Shannon to Boston 23 October 2010

2 Die as Asiana Cargo Plane Crashes Off South Korea

Courtesy of
SEOUL, South Korea — An Asiana Airlines cargo plane crashed into waters off the southern coast of South Korea on Thursday after reporting a fire in its cargo compartments, government officials said.
A pilot seat, wing tip and other parts of the wreckage were recovered by maritime patrol boats about 70 miles west of Jeju, the southernmost island off South Korea, the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs said in a statement. The maritime police were searching the sea for the plane’s two-man crew — the pilot and co-pilot — whose fate remained unknown.
The Boeing B747-400F jet took off from the Incheon airport west of Seoul at 3:05 a.m. on Thursday, bound for Pudong, China. It was carrying 58 tons of electronic and machine parts, including batteries, paint and other chemicals considered inflammable, the ministry said. In its last communication with the Shanghai air traffic control center at 4:03 a.m., it reported a fire in its cargo, Kim Han-young, a senior ministry official in charges of air transport policy, said during a news briefing. The jet is believed to have crashed nine minutes later, as it turned around and was headed for an emergency landing in the Jeju airport, Mr. Kim said.
It was the worst accident for Asiana since one of its domestic passenger jets slammed into a hill in southwestern South Korea in 1993, killing 68 people.

Should I ask to enter the cockpit?

I am flying Aer Lingus on transatlantic in a few days, and i really want to try to get into the cockpit. I know regulations stop me from going in during the flight, but what if i was to go in after the flight? I don't fancy my chances before the flight as the pilots will be carrying out their checklists. So, what is the likelihood of visiting the cockpit?