Friday, February 19, 2016

Zero out

I have been flying for a month now, and I have already learned so much. And I know there are still infinity to go, and I am no longer intimidated by that. I am excited. I am here to learn.

One of the things I have noticed that is almost pretty common to all the crew I have flown with so far, and it is not written in any manual that we use. Clear out the clutter. Each flight a lot of information passes through us, and it can pile up in many flights a day. It is up to us to figure out whether that piece of information is still useful or just taking up space...clutter.
In Cranbrook, BC

So when that time comes, we set it aside, either to a garbage bag that fills up pretty quickly, or I try to put it in the side pocket for recycling later on. Clearing out the clutter helps keep distractions to a minimum and eventually allows us to find and reference required information more quickly.

At the end of each flight when we are changing aircraft or are done for the day, we do our best to leave the cockpit the way we found it. Lights all dimmed, altitude select to zero, screens off, and FMS cleared out of the information we used. Some even cross the belts and leave the clipboard where we found it, usually in the copilots side pocket. Some people even go the extra step of helping set up frequencies for the next crew. All of this allows for efficient preflight preparation when it is our turn to pick up an aircraft from another crew. 

Not to mention the safety factor of someone else assuming that their partner have already set up something and both crew missing a critical item. Altitude select zeroed for example. All of these are not written any where. It is courtesy to others, so much so that it has become common cockpit etiquette. 

So why am I talking about this? For one, I find it completely amusing, and if anyone is remotely like me especially not exposed to this practice, may find it amusing also. But more so because this can also be applied to life.

When there are things or (unfortunately) people in our lives we absolutely have no use for anymore, it is time to clear out the clutter, zero out the meter. As I'm writing this, my google chrome browser is doing funky things and so I went to "reset all settings". Cleared it right up.

Walked right to the water in Kelowna, BC
When we are done with things we have to let them go

Life will then become much clearer, and finding things, your passion, your purpose, yourself...will be that much easier.

Clear your head and reset all settings every now and then. Spend some time to quiet your mind and just listen deep within. Calm the seas and focus on being in that particular moment. Pay it forward. Leave a space the way you found it or the way you want it to be found. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Decrease Speed

ATC: Jazz 122 say speed

With all my might I resisted the urge to say "speed"
instead of what I actually said, "190kts, we're operationally limited to that today"

Day 8 of line indoc complete and I am starting to understand the airplane more and more. It's a Dash 8 so it's not overly fast, but it can be quite a challenge slowing it down when you need to slow down. I am learning that, for myself the greatest challenge I still face is knowing when to slow down, getting to know the rhythm of the airplane when it's time for approach and landing. When and by how much to slow down.

Today made me even more aware of that as we had an operational limitation on our airplane due to an item on the airplane that wasn't available (it was perfectly capable of flying without it) and therefore we had to operate under very specific limitation. Max 190kts.

Now sitting on the bedroom floor I am reminiscing about simpler days, which was actually not that long ago. In almost an instant everything seemed to come rushing down and before I could figure out what was happening, I was busier than a bee.

Work is keeping me on my toes, moving to a new city to be based out of, and traveling back on my days off to see the people I love. Not just me, everyone else seems to be moving quite quickly with life. Getting engaged or married or pregnant, I am seeing it in every corner of my friendships.

When did everything become so fast? Faster than 190kts. Faster than what I could fathom at this time. We can't just turn around in life and reverse or even stop dead in our tracks.

But we can mindfully slow things down. We can be here now.
We're not meant to go fast, we were built with legs, not wheels or wings. We have to be able to enjoy ourselves, the people around us, and the universe.

Take the time to do absolutely nothing. Dolce far niente
Slow down your breathing, your walking, your eating. Let a slow and steady pace be the norm.
Put a limit to yourself every now and then: 190kts.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Flying with the sunrise along the cascade volcanoes of Washington

I've always believed (or liked to believe) that there is a balance in the universe. You win some and lose some. Things are given or taken away. A constant battle of good things and not-so-good things. But every now and then I am reminded that it doesn't work like that all the time. It may in the grandest scheme of things but individually or specifically it's mostly just random.

For most people random isn't something really frowned upon, many people actually embrace the idea of spontaneity, something happening that is not directly related from a previous something. I guess I've chosen a career where randomness causes certain uncertainties that may be beyond our control and we are infinitely infuriated by it because as a pilot, I like control, I like certainties, expectations.

I pull on the control wheel and I expect the airplane to come off the ground.

The past half year have been nothing short of complete randomness. I became roommates with a friend of mine after jokingly stating in a group chat that we should find a place and live together. Sure enough the next ad I saw was for a 2 bedroom and we end up going for it. I have almost completely given up on finding someone special in the transient place I've called home for 2.5 years and yet almost out of nowhere, she came rushing in like a waterfall and we fell in love faster than I could have ever imagine. Unfortunate series of events led to getting a lay off notice and all of the sudden I was unemployed breaking my record of never having been fired or laid off ever since I started to work.

Then the biggest curveball came almost instantaneously right after. I then found myself all over the country for a month travelling for the recruitment process, losing my grandmother, and then getting hired at a major regional airline with very positive reputation (a complete 180 from my previous company). 7 weeks of ground and simulator training between Vancouver & Toronto. And here I am in the west coast for the first time in my life trying to settle back down again, in a different (completely different, almost like another country actually) place.

Uncertainties are life's most certain mysteries that one could always expect to come out of the blue. Might as well embrace randomness.

I just wonder what comes next....or I should say how soon will what comes next happen?

Sunday, October 12, 2014


I've finally reached the all and mighty 1000 hours of total flying time! I have learned a ton and gained valuable experience over the past 1000 hours.1000 hours of Seneca, cops, prisoners, dead bodies, fire evacuations, fireworks, fish eggs, boxes, hydro workers, construction folk and equipment, fishermen, locals, executives, lumber, fuel drums....and so on.

Cheers to those I've shared the sky with in the last 1000 hours and to the next 1000 and beyond.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Two nervous flyers

Despite the infant stages of my flying career, I have noticed that there are (at least) two different types of nervous flyers.

They both would rather not go flying but has no other choice, due to their type of work, time constraint, or the remoteness of their destination, but to get inside this flying tube of metal and gasoline. However, I found that one is more pleasant to deal with than the other.

There's the one that knows their stuff. They know that smaller airplanes are usually more dangerous than the airliners. But they accept it. They work with their fear, so you usually find them asking a lot of questions and yourself answering most or all of those questions to the best of your ability. This is totally fine with me; I actually prefer that they tell me of their nervousness so that I could do my very best to make them as comfortable as I can. They ask about the operation of the emergency exits and actually and genuinely pays attention to your passenger briefing. In flight, they tend to be on the edge of their seat for the takeoff and landing but for cruise they sit quietly or close their eyes with their seat belts fastened. When I have this type of passenger I tend to make my control inputs as smooth as possible. Which is completely fine with me as I dislike turbulence either!

Then there's the other type. The obnoxious, just-get-me-there-safely-already type of nervous flyer. They make uncomfortable comments about the smallness of the aircraft, or how fast/slow it goes. They make a comment on how young you look despite your actual age (I just shrug this one every time because I'm pretty sure I will forever look like I'm 18). Then once you get inside, they are in a hurry are-we-there-yet-esque type of behaviour. When you give them the passenger briefing, they don't pay attention because in their mind you know nothing and will probably kill them. When you try to make them feel comfortable by showing how to use the doors/emergency exits, they make a stupid comment "I don't wanna know that!". And it just makes you want to smack them in the head and say I don't want you to have to use this information either but I have to give it to you, but you don't, because that's not very professional. When your captain tries to use humour as a tool to calm their nerves, there's a silent sound of crickets in the middle of winter.

So for me, I'd prefer one over the other but I have to accept their anxieties because it's human nature. And despite their obnoxious comments, I still have the responsibility for their care while we are operating the aircraft they are in.  It's my contract and promise to them whenever they step foot in the airplane to make flight safe and comfortable to the best of my abilities. It's still a part of the job description I take pride in and enjoy.

Some more videos

I recently borrowed a friend's GoPro Camera and took some shots and compiled them into a few YouTube videos.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Flying Video

Here is a quick and simple video I mashed up together last night. Footage were taken using my good ol' flipcam camcorder and a gorillapod on the dashboard. It was my cheap version of what I want to eventually upgrade to, a gopro set up. 

So it was a bit shaky but youtube added a bit of video stabilization which now means that the aircraft seems like it was vibrating like crazy when it really wasn't.