Wednesday, August 23, 2017

I flew an airplane

I flew an airplane today.  All the way to Wagga Wagga and back.  I landed it twice.  We didn't crash.  Nobody died, and nobody was significantly injured.  Hurrah for me.  It was fun.  I get to do it all over again tomorrow

The End.

Sunday, August 20, 2017


They let me sit in it, technically for four flights, but I left after two because that jumpseat is no good for my back, butt, or my sanity.  Also the headset was heavy and made my neck hurt.  Also I wanted leftover tacos for dinner and staying at work until 2200 wasn't in the game plan.

Annoyingly we were limited to FL250 (or 25,000' for the uninitiated) because of an equipment failure, which was annoying because the ATR is also limited to FL250 and I really wanted to go higher.

AND, it climbs beautifully beautifully well, through FL200 we were climbing at 4500fpm and it made my heart glad.  Yay for performance.

Now I have three days to study before my first actual training day on Thursday - and three days to ponder whether I really really really need to spend $1395 on a headset.  I'd be foolish to not look after my neck though 😑

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Chocolate Drama

An eventful 24hours with Lily, a welcome home present, perhaps?  Retaliation for my leaving her again so soon?  Either way, while I was at work she did this:

It was in my suitcase, unopened.  125g of milk chocolate (minus the 16% caramel chips).  I didn't even get a taste.

Anyway, a trip to Emergency ensued and she spent the last 20h there.  Induced vomiting, activated charcoal, an IV and heart medication to slow down her racing heart.  Now she is just fine, but with strict instructions for NO boisterous activities due to the heart thing.

I went to visit her this morning and she was cute but pitiful.

It's ever so nice to have her home - howbeit $958 later!  Thankfully I should get 80% back with pet insurance.

Oh, and mere minutes after we get home I find her licking the carpet in my bedroom where she ate the chocolate!  What a brat!

Finally asleep in the comfort of my bed. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Be still my heart

Every time she sighs so hard that her whole body moves in sympathy my heart breaks just a little more.

24h home and I'm about to head out for a day's groundschool.  She is sitting immovable on my lap, immovable except for the whole-body-sighs.

She was so cute yesterday morning, just a little wiggly, licky ball of squeaks.  She clung and licked and oh it was so nice to see she hadn't forgotten me.

Her new bandana - a gift from Alaska - suits her too.

And now?  Now I must work out how to pry her out of my arms to leave her again.

I think I'm having as many abandonment issues as she is.

Saturday, August 12, 2017


Waking up this morning to see the weather in Guernsey was 200m visbility, overcast at one hundred feet, light drizzle and fog, I was worried that our day might be ruined, but for once in its life the forecast improvement late morning was actually right.

I drove to Dunkeswell slightly early as I was afraid of being late - and popped in to the WWII remembrance centre to have a look around.  Unfortunately it needed a lot more time than the 15 minutes I had, so I shall return another day.

This is an airfield that the USAF flew out of (mainly B24s) from 1942 onwards to do raids on U-boats in the Atlantic.  Pretty cool little centre.

On to the real reason for my early arrival, I then hurried back to the flying club to sort out the aircraft's in/out paperwork and landing fee, by which time Terry had landed and we headed out to the Bonanza.

Terry and I, complete with life jackets.

An obligatory V-tail photo.

For the way out, I sat in the back and Mike, Terry's friend and the owner of the airplane, flew, and on the way back Terry flew and I sat RHS and did a few not particularly useful things like write down the atis (wrong QNH, tsk tsk) and change radio frequencies - and of course take lots of pictures.

Approach to EGJB

Departure from EGJB (we may or may not have had the appropriate plate on board and fudged the departure, I can't rightly say)

Approaching Exeter: this is Sidmouth, where my new chief pilot is from.

Dunkeswell aerodrome

Standing under the Swiss tail of the BE35 in Guernsey - sorry this photo is out of chronological order.

A rather useless photo to prove that Terry was flying... as the photos I got of his face over-exposed and didn't work out! 

Final approach into Dunkeswell.

The day was so amazing, including going for lunch in Guernsey with Terry, Mike, Len(?) and John in the café whose name we discussed at length and which I have forgotten how to spell.

I got the opportunity to talk about aviation all day which was great, with aviation people, which is greater, as there's nothing worse than trying to explain things to People Who Don't Understand.

It was ever so kind of Mike to let me come in his aircraft, and of Terry to invite me - well I sort of invited myself but he helped - and just an all out Great Day Out.

I think I should make this small-aircraft-flying a habit. That would however mean that I would need to become proficient and would require some effort on my part!  Not to mention 💰💰💰


Waking up this morning to see the weather in Guernsey was 200m visbility, overcast at one hundred feet, light drizzle and fog, I was worried that our day might be ruined, but for once in its life the forecast improvement late morning was actually right.

I drove to Dunkeswell slightly early as I was afraid of being late - and popped in to the WWII remembrance centre to have a look around.  Unfortunately it needed a lot more time than the 15 minutes I had, so I shall return another day.

This is an airfield that the USAF flew out of (mainly B24s) from 1942 onwards to do raids on U-boats in the Atlantic.  Pretty cool little centre.

On to the real reason for my early arrival, I then hurried back to the flying club to sort out the aircraft's in/out paperwork and landing fee, by which time Terry had landed and we headed out to the Bonanza.

Terry and I, complete with life jackets.

An obligatory V-tail photo.

Here I must pause as the Bristol Airport Wifi is unlikely to support a multiple-photo post.

Friday, August 11, 2017

All the relations

So nice to see everyone today, although there was a lot of activity in a very small space!

My two favourite 'Napthine' aunts.

One of my very favourite cousins, Tom, with JC - not quite sure what the conversation was about: note the phone wielding grandparents (my parents) in the very back.

We had to get some obligatory group shots with 'Great Grandma' - my grandma, with the Alaskan tribe.  I thankfully got a couple of nice shots before the boys deteriorated into the inevitable face pulling!

Meghan's masterpiece at the café.

Everyone watching the girls sing: the grandparents complete with mobile devices to record.

The singing duo (my nieces), bro & nephew on the right.  Cousin Milo, another favourite, on the left.

Priscila, Tom's wife, making Jude's acquaintance.  Jude even solo sang for everyone! 

I think that is sufficient for tonight: tomorrow shall be a flying blog - but may not be posted straight away - watch this space! 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


I feel like I have so much to say and so little oomph with which to say it.  So many potential highlights to choose, and not sure whether to pick the Finding of the Red Hoodie, Lunch with Terry, or seeing Grandma again... 

We got up horrifically early to leave at 0345 but I am forever thankful as we made it to Lynholme by 0930 and the Ferry Crew were travelling from 0800-1700 or thereabouts.  No thank you!  Although I dislike being an aeroplane passenger I completely despise boats.  Also, Dublin Airport provided me with a perfect red hoodie which I have been searching for for months!

England let me down and rained all day but despite this, Terry managed to sneak 'his' Bonanza into Dunkeswell to meet me for lunch.  He did admit afterwards that if I had done the same he would have told me off... but all the same it was lovely to catch up.  He even managed to procure some company in the form of Brian and Tony, who I haven't seen in a very long time.  It was a pity not to have good enough weather to fly - but such is life in England - and in fact I think it made me want to fly more - outside of work that is.  Maybe it's my enforced grounded-ness these last few weeks that is making me nostalgic about flying.  Before I left Australia, I was wondering if I even liked aviation at all!  I did get to go up as a passenger over the Alps - which was amazing - but I also found it frustrating that I wasn't even close to the controls.

I have tried to persuade Terry that he needs to come to Australia for a visit, and now he needs to convince his wife that it's a good idea!  (I know you're reading this, Terry, so get on to it!)

It's hard to believe that Brian is in his 80s now (and yet still talking about setting up another flying school!) that means when I went to AFT ten years ago he was already in his 70s.  Wow.  Maybe I have a few more years of flying in me...  I don't like people getting older though, it makes life feel so temporary.  Especially when you're the one that gets left behind.

On that subject, Grandma is 92 now, and is ever so much frailer each time I see her.  She is so tiny and bird-like it is hard to remember 'back in the day' when she was younger.  I mean, I do, but I think I remember Grandpa more when he was younger as I've seen a lot more of Grandma since she's been old.  What is old, anyway?  I don't think I'm old - I don't feel old - but this is my last month of the 20s.  That in itself is annoying as I still get ID'd and in pictures everyone thinks I'm a teenager!  #airlinepilot mwuahaha.

I'm rambling.

You're welcome.

I'm not even drinking.  There are just sooooooooo many thoughts today.  I thought I had less staying power to write them all down, but I am more powerful than ever...  

I didn't take a single photograph of any of this.  I took a photo with Mum in Dublin Airport on the OCS special needs wagon.  Another first.  

Slightly embarrassing.  At least I got to wear the red hoodie.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

It was good to catch up with some of my old colleagues on Friday night.  I say old as in they're not my colleagues any more, but take it as you will!  It feels strange to have gone so far from five years ago, but yet life goes on seemingly exactly the same from when I was there.  Most of the faces have changed, yet it is the same old same old, and one wonders what one is missing.  Would I ever go back?  Is it too late?

Yesterday was a beach trip with seventeen children, six of whom were related to me, and yes it was as chaotic as it sounds, if not worse.  If you do not have oodles and oodles and oodles of energy, I would not recommend it.  I think the ones who were related to me were probably the highest maintenance: the others could even have been described as relatively pleasant.  I can say that as I am their Aunt, and am forced to love them all by default.

I've now got to page 246 of 640 in the JG procedures manual... and am losing the will to live.  Hence the blog update...

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Zurich Flughaven

Having laughed at B for his flight being delayed an hour only to find that mine was also delayed an hour is, I suppose, karma.  I am so ready to be away from this place!  I actually enjoyed Zurich, and Switzerland in general but I am oh so happy to be done with simulators - and training for the next ten days at least!

I also feel sorry for my dear brothers who now have to pick me up at midnight.  Sorry, boys!  

Four weeks is all it took, start to finish, for the type rating.  Simon told us yesterday that they had the option for the full seven week course and requested the condensed one!  I am quite relieved that I didn't have to stay here for seven weeks but it was incredibly intense over just four.  

Add on to that the JG company sims, and I am truly exhausted.  We finished our TR on Monday and then JG sims were Tues & today.  I got up at 0600 on Tuesday after my 2300 finish (so 0100 sleep) on Monday and studied for five hours to prep for the Instrument Proficiency Check.  My lovely sim partner chose not to prepare at all.  It showed.  It is impossible to use company procedures when only one person has learnt any!

We finished up today a little early and made it back to the apartment at 1430, only to find that we were locked out as the door code had expired - a long story. We ended up buying lunch at the Coop and beer and spending the next hour hanging out in the stairwell.  

I am now sitting in Zurich Flughaven, as mentioned previously, which of course means Zurich Airport, and am waiting to board the Aer Fungus flight to Dublin.  I only even allowed myself to get excited today.  Initially it just felt so far away and there was so much to do in Swiss Land, that I couldn't even think about it.  The last few days have been so incredibly busy that I haven't had the chance to think about it!  And now, the flight is delayed!  GAHHH!!!

Anyway that's the latest update... and all I have to say... 

Monday, July 31, 2017

TR complete!

It is finished.

Well other than the fact that I have the JG Instrument Proficiency Check today and a training day tomorrow.

The skills test was a lot easier than the training, but still intense enough for me!  So glad to have it over with and my second type in the bag.  That will do me for a little while - although my sim partner is already applying for other jobs!

Sunday, July 30, 2017


Flying over Jungfrau at 12,000', what could be more beautiful?

The glaciers, winding and melding together.

The mountains so immense and so majestic.

The reservoir where James Bond was filmed, along with the crazy hair pin road.

It was all just so intense, such an incredible experience.  The mountains falling away to reveal the more undulating terrain approaching Zurich.

What a day out! 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Chinese, in Zurich: better than Aus for sure.  When in Zurich do as the Chinese do?  The place we went definitely looked the part, and my Szechuan Duck with added chilli soy was lovely.

Did I mention this before?  I'm not sure.  It was a few days ago that we are there, but I went for takeaway again yesterday.

I also found some stuffed goats, the closest thing to the real deal in Switzerland.  So much for Heidi.

All the training sims are completed and after the last two my muscles are sore from hauling a semi-broken simulator around the sky (hydraulics and flight controls issues)

One day off tomorrow and apparently I am going flying as Kaitlyn's friend is taking us to see glaciers!  What fun! 

Check on Monday... 🤢

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

6 sims down, two more training sims to go before the skills test : and of course the day after that there is the JG check followed by the training day.

But now for two days off, mostly spent studying but somewhat filled with cheap wine, the lake (if it warms up) and a little chilling.

I feel like I need it! 

Friday, July 21, 2017

It's a beautiful morning, I have the windows wide open and fan running.  My day off for the weekend, having had a gloriously extravagant shower (a whole ten minutes!), the day stretches out ahead with endless hours... for studying.

Sim 3 is behind us, although it was terrifically messy and I didn't think particularly well done.  I had my EASA medical yesterday morning - my, the Swiss are intense - and I'm pretty sure after that experience I am guaranteed to live at least 1,000 years.

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday hold three sins at 1245, 0845 and 0445 respectively, so today is trying to get ahead of the study as especially between Sunday and Monday there will be little to no time to prep.  Then we get a couple of days off - hurray!

Maybe this afternoon, if I have an efficient morning, we will go for a swim in the lake.

Last night we went to a Chinese restaurant - well, three of us did - and it was really nice.

F refused to be in the photos.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


It is storming again, which is lovely as it brings the musty but fresh storm smell along with it, and the heavy thunder.  I open my windows wide so I can enjoy it: what's a little rain on the floor?  

It was another long day for sim#2, I'm not sure why I always get left with the weird ones but there you go.  For me, it went well, for my sim partner, let's say that he is walking on very thin ice.  I truly hope it improves in sim#3, which is incidentally tomorrow night 2045-0300.  I then have my EASA medical at 0800!  Whoopee :)

The weekend off, I think will be spent studying, as apparently the sims ramp up from now on in! 

Monday, July 17, 2017

At 0700, the bells woke me, having no compassion for the fact that I didn't sleep until 0130.  I went to bed at 2230 like a responsible citizen, but was wide awake and unable to rest for hours.  I'm putting it down to a combination of stress before the sim today and pain from the pulled muscle in my neck (not to be confused with nerve pain).  

I'm actually sleeping in the spare room, as one of the many tricks I tried last night which included eating popcorn, reading a book, showering, changing rooms to enjoy the freshly laundered sheets in Room #2, and despairing of ever getting to sleep.  It's weird how the more one wants to sleep the more one realises that one has absolutely no idea how to achieve it.  

Yesterday we had Emergency Procedures which was the most pointless course I've been on - as we have to do a company specific course anyway - but the fire fighting was fun!

I'm the stubby one, second from the left 

It is now Sim Day, full flight sim #1, but I have until lunch time before I go in.  Wish me luck!

Swiss update

A week has passed! 

Michael left on Monday, which was ever so sad as I so enjoyed having him here.  We didn't do any big outing together after Resetenstock as I had to study, but we did wander around Zurich and swim in the Limmat.  After he left, it was back to work: a week of ground exams.  

The exams finally over, we had our last fixed base sim session... which was a disaster but which I'm not going to complain about on the blog.  Suffice it to say, I hope tomorrow's first full flight sim goes better.  I have done ever so much prep so here's to hoping someone else does also!

Yesterday afternoon, K (the FO with us) and I went down to the lake to the chinese gardens and met up with some friends of hers, played volleyball (sans net) and swam in the lake.  This being mainly out of my depth was a little scary and more work than I would have liked.  However, I survived.  Of course, I did not let on to the Other People that I did not like being so far away from a foothold! 

Today we have Emergency Procedures which is unnecessary and nobody seems to know why we have to do it as we do company specific EPs when we get back to Aus.  However, we also get to fight real fires so I don't really mind as I'm an arsonist at heart. 

This is the church Dad and I visited on Monday:

Monday, July 10, 2017

A weekend with Michael

Apparently I have been here for 10 days as my data expired this morning.  Panic not, I have updated it. 

I have had the most wonderful weekend with my father, who flew over to join me, topped off with 100% in both of my exams this morning: the times systems exam scheduled for 80 minutes took me 25, much to the instructor's horror - and then relief when he marked it.  I think he thought I had made a terrible mistake.

On Saturday, Dad and I took the train to Luzern (or Lucerne, if you must) which we had been recommended to see - Luzern, not the train.  We didn't actually hang around to see the place, but having also been recommended to take a ferry, we jumped on the first boat.  This took us around the lake for an hour, finally stopping at Beckenreid, from which we took a cable car up to Klewenalp.  All of this at great expense of course.

Having found ourselves at Klewenalp, there was nothing else for it but to climb a mountain - all of this strictly ad libbed and unplanned of course, as what is a day if you know what you are doing?  Indeed we chose Beckenreid because it was as far as we could go on that particular boat, and chose Klewenalp because that is where the cable car went, and I did so much want to experience a cable car.

View from the cable car

We decided to hike to a restaurant called Brisenhaus SAC, which we had been told about by the woman who sold us the cable car tickets.  It will take about an hour and a half, she said.  She was probably about right, but when we got up there we decided to stick with a large beer each and a Mars bar, as the place was certainly rather more hovel-ish than restaurant, and filled with flies.  After our energy had renewed somewhat, Dad seemed to want to climb higher.

I agreed on the strict basis that we would "go a little way up" and then finding ourselves high above the hovel-chalet, I couldn't help myself but continue.  I am not a quitter!

The chalet in the far distance

The last couple of hundred metres to the ridge were some of the most painful in my life to date.  In fact the last ten or so I barely managed to squeeze out.  However, reaching said ridge we found a view so breathtaking that the energy seemed renewed instantaneously. 

The first peek

We continued along the ridge gradually higher to Resetenstock, a peak of 2290m, and the view became more and more immense.  We even found snow!

Every last agonising step became worthwhile just to see that view.

The way down was almost as hard, with burning knees especially as we were trying to out-descend the incoming weather.

Yes, we were up there. That little lump, top middle right.

We got back to Zurich tired and sore at about 2200, having stopped in Beckenreid for fondue and beer on the way back.  I do like the Swiss food - but I am not so keen on the prices!