Saturday, May 1, 2010

Barely 18 and already flying solo

At 18, I failed four - you read me right, four! - driving tests.

My only consolation (read: excuse) is that the driving tests were not held in a coffee shop of Kuala Lumpur for a kopi o license. They were all held in Perth Australia and for some reasons I would prefer not to remember, I have not been up to their standards.

May be I was trying too hard to be independent and like most American kids - which I was not, I would love to be behind the wheel soon.

So, during my free hours and in between classes at the Leederville Technical College, I decided to take my driving lessons. I don't recall how many lessons that I took, but I guess enough to get going. But for the life of me, I can't reason out even today why I failed and failed miserably at getting a driver's license in Perth.

May be it was the lack of confidence. I must admit I was sorely lacking of it then.

But what about him then? Barely 18, he had flown solo over Melaka and, Straits of Melaka and Johor. Confident enough to even snap his own picture during the flight.
When I saw this picture which was taken he first started flying solo, my heart skipped a beat and why not. You would too if he's your son. The empty seat next to him means he was all alone in flying the aircraft. Any decision would be his and his alone. Obviously I would not be making any remark if he were a Boeing 747 pilot with more than 10,000 hours, but we are taking about someone with about 10 hours or so (at the point this picture was taken).

Ten hours and they would ask him to fly solo. I would not allow him to drive my car with just 10 hours of lessons. Things are so different in the aviation industry.

But I like his confidence - he needs it if he were to make it as pilot.

You can probably see the apartments in the background of the picture above.
And still climbing...typically they would climb up to 3000 ft, nothing more than that I guess. The single engine plane is an unpressurized plane and you can't fly too high I guess for the lack of oxygen.

In this one, you can see the demarcation of the sea and the peninsular. He is above the straits of Malacca - that would be good guesstimate.

He was not at his best when these were taken - a bit too thin at this point in late last year. He was not eating too well I presume. Food is his main problem for this pseudo Italian fella that he is. I would think the Italian government would not mind giving him honorary citizenship for his love of pizza.

They better serve pizza for every flight from next year onwards. ;-)

Anyway, the pictures were taken in November '09 and since then he had earned his first wing - a private plane license. He can fly you anywhere provided he does not charge for his service. We are yet to do that I guess for I now need to recoup first all the fees I have paid in him taking all these flying lessons.

I can't afford to spend more money as my pocket is now empty.

Now in many ways, thanks God that Akmal does not have any interest in aviation. I would need to be a cat in order to earn enough to be able to send both of them to flying academy.

You didn't get me? Let me explain. Only with nine lives would I be able to earn enough to be able to pay for their fees!

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