I attended a Transport Canada safety Seminar last night. My first
one. These events are run monthly, usually at the TC Canada offices (where I
sat my written exam, I did get momentary flashbacks of exam anxiety!)
They fulfill many purposes: general interest, safety information,
TC updates and finally attending one in the previous two years negates the need
for you to do a two yearly check ride for currency.
So some numbers:
The first number you
need to know is 95
This is the version of windows that the computer in the seminar
Unsurprisingly, for a no-longer-supported-twenty-year-old-operating-system,
it crashed about 5 minutes in.
The next number you
need to know is 8.
This is the number of females I spotted in the audience of maybe 40
While that is a little disappointing, the next one is even more
The next number is
This is what I calculated roughly the average age of the attendees
to be. I’m not trying to be ageist or anything but this seems to mirror the
demographics of anything I attend that is flying related. It actually worries
me that my generation and younger don’t seem to be involved in general
aviation. I guess cost is one thing but I can’t help wonder if it just isn’t
seen as something cool or worthwhile. I read of airports closing, flying schools
folding and it makes me sad.
The next number is 6
This is the number of lines taken up in my log book by the
huuuuuuuuuuge sticker that TC issues to prove that you attended the seminar.
Seriously? Log books are of a standard size, could you not design a sticker
that fitted in a reasonable space?
The final number is
Unfortunately, this is the number of useful bits of information that
I felt I came away with after this Seminar on “Aviation medicine”
Now I have to give some context here, I’m very aware that I’m a lot
closer to my initial training than most people attending so it’s fair that most
of the regulatory stuff should be very familiar to me but people who are twenty
years into their PPL might benefit from a
Still the speaker wasn’t massively engaging and while, given the
demographic that I’ve outlined above, it’s understandable but irritating when
he kept referring to “your wife” and constantly gave the validity of a class 3
medical as two years (it is 5 if you are under 40).
The one next month is on float plane flying, which has the
potential to be a bit more interesting I hope.
·I kept my neighbours cats alive for a week while she was in Mexico.
Despite one of them trying to Ninja-escape into the corridor every time I
opened the front door
·Level 1393 on 4 pics 1 word and level 409 on Candy Crush – I haven’t
spent a cent on either game but I am stuck on CC at the moment.
·First City Tour flight with a passenger – and first flight with Bob
post license as well
·I assisted in the construction of one Lego sand crawler and two
Lego “creator” sets – fun but on some occasions it does highlight my lack of
spatial awareness when I’m trying to “mirror” a construct RTH is doing
·I read 4 novels that I hadn’t read before – am enjoying playing
around with Overdrive on my e-reader. It’s a fine art of stacking up your holds
so that they become available when you want them
·Got hooked back into online gaming again; yes, World of Warcraft….
I’m back! Still not 100% sure if this is a good thing or not.
After my last flight with A, it occurred to me that I have really
Friends who are, for a start, willing to get in a plane that I’m
flying. It might sound a bit trite but it does take a certain amount of trust
to get in a light aircraft piloted by someone who does this for a hobby. People
have an inherent distrust of flight in general. Let’s face it, it does seem to
be somewhat “unnatural” and couple that with the fact that my friends have had
a pretty much blow by blow account of everything I’ve found tricky or had
issues with. I’m intensely flattered that they trust me enough to fly them
Then add in to the mixture that the weather is so unpredictable this
time of year that you have maybe a 50% chance of actually getting the flight
in, and an even smaller chance of going where you initially planned. My flight
with K and M had to be cut short because I encountered some snow.
My flight with A didn’t look like it was going to happen at all.
On the Friday night the TAF actually looked pretty optimistic, in
comparison to what the forecast had been predicting all week. In fact I was so
sure that the weekend weather was going to be cruddy for the weekend and that I
wasn’t going to be flying, that I hadn’t bothered to think about passengers at
all. RTH had plans in the morning, so I’d
probably just go up and have a little solo wander around the sky. After a circuit
check with Bob to renew my currency.
Well when I saw the TAF, I fired off a quick text to A, enquiring
as to whether she had any plans for the morning. Once she realised what I had
in mind, she was very quick to reply. We agreed on a time and place to meet.
The next reply I got is testament to how well trained my friends are, as it was
a text with her weight in pounds. See they know what I need from them!
I have an email that I send out to potential passengers, explaining
what to wear, what to bring, what not to bring and emphasising the fact that we
can still get to the airport and then have to cancel. This flying business is a
fickle beast at the best of times.
Well sure enough, we got to the airport and as I’ve mentioned in
previous posts the weather took a turn towards the sucky, and for the longest
time it looked like I’d dragged her down for nothing but eventually we did get
up, even if it was just for my currency check. She was quite content to sit in
the back while I flung it round the obligatory 3 circuits, finishing off with a
quick city tour.
The contrast between different passengers is interesting as well.
K, being slightly nervous, needed me to explain everything that was going on.
Both during and after the flight. Whereas A was so laid back that I actually
got worried about how quiet she was.
I explained afterwards that passengers normally go silent, just
before they are about to puke. She assured me this was never an issue!
I’ve already booked myself a couple of flights in February, hoping
that the weather will cooperate for at least one of them and have potential
passengers already lined up.
My last flight was waaaay back at the start of December. Sucky
weather and other stuff has gotten in the way of my flying since then. As I
mentioned this leaves me out of currency with the flight school, as well as
itching to get back in the air.
I booked a reasonably generous time slot, the plan being for me to
whizz around the circuit a few times with an instructor on board and then head
off for a sightseeing flight somewhere.
The TAF on Friday afternoon/evening looked promising, I sent out a
text inviting a friend to join me and had a nice little jaunt out to the east
The weather, of course, had other ideas. I woke up to conditions that were looking
kind of marginal. Reasonable
visibilities, but light snow and questionable ceilings. A phone call to flight services didn’t shed
much light on the matter.
I resorted to the ultimate old fashioned method of gauging the
weather and stood at the window peering intently out. To the west I could see
the odd cloud dropping some of the white stuff but I also noticed a couple of
Cessna’s taking off from the flight school. I waited until I was sure that they
weren’t staying in the circuit and headed down. Figuring that by the time I got
to the airport they’d have landed and I could get a PIREP of the conditions out
Well I got one, not what I wanted to hear though. Apparently by the
time you got out to the two towers, you couldn’t climb any higher than 2000ft.
So east was a no go.
I’d dragged my passenger down here early on a Saturday morning, I
really wanted to take her flying somewhere, but at the same time, now wasn’t
the time to be trying stuff I wasn’t comfortable with. It was quiet and
dispatch had time to chat through some options with me. My passenger, A, being
content to look at shiny planes and probably shiny pilots, knowing her!
Their suggestion of a city tour was a reasonable one, but being
that low over the city is kind of intimidating and I was starting to have
second thoughts. Out west was another option, but another call to flight
services put paid to that idea. Snow over Hamilton, extending to Oakville.
Confirmed by the local radar feed and leading to a whole host of instructors sitting
at the computer bemoaning “where is this stuff coming from?”
Eventually we threw our collective hands up in disgust and just
decided to get the circuit check out of the way, stick my passenger in the back
and maybe do a quick city tour afterwards. That way I could pick up some of the
finer points of orbiting the downtown core with an instructor on board and A
would still get her flight.
Which is how, after over 3 months, I found myself in the familiar
situation of having Bob back in the right* hand seat.
Basically a couple of years ago we started work on a shiny new
building at work and had a ground-breaking ceremony to commemorate the
occasion. The cookies i ordered were somewhat dubious in shape to say the least
Now the building is done and we just had the opening ceremony,
complete with local press and everything.
Cookies were also involved, the perfect design to complement the
apparently of the basket variety
I attach a picture of a pair of them, for your viewing pleasure.
No, I was not involved in the ordering of them this time!