A Pilot at Last

So I’ve been pretty inactive on all fronts lately; namely my website, writing and unity projects. This has been in no small part due to a big push to complete my Private Pilot Licence over the past few weeks. It hasn’t been easy, but today marked completion of the last element of the course and I now have only to send off the application form itself (and get it approved by the CAA).

I first mentioned the ominous booking of a trial flying lesson back in January of 2009 and since then have made many ramblings on aviation, but it really does feel like the culmination of something epic today!

As an unrelated side-note, I’ve finally found a source of buying MP3s that I get on with, namely Amazon’s MP3 store. It’s been a while since I’ve got into any new music, which has led to a bit of a music-buying binge (particularly the retro-80s “Outrun” subgenre assembled by Rosso Corsa Records). The option to have any of it (and all of it) completely separated as downloaded MP3s may have helped, too. Cloud is okay as an option, but never been big into music “organisers”. Then again, that’s probably just iTune’s fault.

A lot of the world’s problems are probably iTune’s fault.

Music of Azimuth

I’ve often thought about the musical side of the world of Azimuth and what approach I would take in an audio-visual medium: primarily because the game Azimuth Skies is just that, and the question applies. I’ve recently taken interest in a genre that calls itself Electro Swing, which to me seems ideal. The mixing of old and new is perhaps its key feature (which can be done successfully or clumsily, for certain) which, with the art deco overtones, suits Azimuth very well. Caravan Palace in particular are a group that, given a blank cheque for making a Cloudgazer movie or big-budget game, I’d love to have creating some tracks. But I’d also like to share this as another fine contender; “Vive le Swing” by Italian singer In-Grid (but yes, it is in French). Give it a listen!

On an unrelated note, I left my job today! Despite still needing to complete my pilot licence and move out in a weeks time, I hope that I might have a little more time to pursue my creative endeavours both here and in Australia. I’m certainly feeling more inspired than I have been in a while!

Interesting Times

Lately that elusive substance that is Free Time has seemingly evaporated, as a multitude of pursuits collide. In particular, my quest for a Private Pilots Licence and my preparations for half a year in Australia have me rushed off my feet. But I made a resolution that my entries won’t turn into lamenting for lack of free time, so enough about that.

I recently compiled an actual paper checklist for something that has existed for a long time only in my head: the Checklist for the Future. On it are a number of key innovations and milestones, such as Antigravity and Civilian (Orbital) Spaceflight. The idea being that once all the boxes are ticked, we will be in the future. Obviously. Exciting stuff!

Yesterday I came across a fascinating documentary about chaos, spontaneous pattern formation and the Mandelbrot Set. I recommend checking it out, particularly if the ideas of order emerging from nothing and predictable systems having unpredictable outcomes interests you at all. I find it encouraging that it still doesn’t invalidate the physics behind my Chonoportology writings, too (that does, in essence, try to answer the question of what actually determines the A or B path of any given event).

In other news, THIS:

Instrument Flying

Flying on instruments has nothing to do with the makeshift use of musical equipment as aerial transportation. That is something else entirely.

IFR, or Instrument Flight Rules, bascially means that instead of flying the plane by eye, we fly by the readings from our instrument panel. The first thing that strikes most people when I tell them this is that I’m not doing it already. No, the plane does not have GPS. No, it doesn’t have Radar. Yes, I look out the window to see where I am. So the concept of IFR is not incomprehensible in the world of the modern airliner. The main advantage of IFR over Visual Flight Rules, or VFR, is that we can fly in much more limited visibility. Continue reading

Learning to Fly I

A lot of people I’ve talked to have been curious what this flying malarky is all about, so I thought I’d explain a bit about it. I had a trial flying lesson in April, actually an Xmas present, and to say I loved it would be an understatement.

After a few month’s of Hmms and Ahhs, I decided to go for it. However, flying is rather expensive. This is probably something most people take for granted, but I feel the need to reiterate. It’s expensive. The impression I’ve gotten is that everything in aviation costs at least £100. Lesson? Bout a hundred. Flight medical? Hundred-ish. Pre-flight biscuit? Hundred pounds. I don’t think you quite understand. It is an Aviation Biscuit, essentially a normal biscuit but it costs £100.

Well, okay so added danger leads to increased cost of pretty much anything. Cost, like all things, is entirely relative. So with the callous capitalist concerns cast aside, what’s involved in learning to fly?

First of all, I am applying for what is called a PPL; the Private Pilots Licence. This is the international standard, also known as JAR, as opposed to the national ‘NPPL’ which only certifies flying in the UK. The JAR PPL requires a minimum (usually more) of 45 hours worth of flight training. Thus far, in the past 3 months, I have had six. At the current rate it will take me about 2 years to pass training, but it’s just as well considering there are 7 ground exams to complete from Air Law to Meteorology.

So why am I doing it? That’s an interesting question. Most people seem to expect me to have a grand plan in the works to be flying an A380 by my forties, but to be honest I just really love to fly. I’ve always felt a certain affinity for the air and aircraft, so I’m just going to see where it takes me. Regardless of how far I take it, I’m learning things along the way that I’ve always wanted to know more about.