Saturday, November 27, 2010

My summer "vlog"

With the days filled with sadness that just passed and the slow but sure steady race of moving forward and getting back in the air, I felt a sense of nostalgia so once I got home from Cynthia's funeral, I started re-watching some of my videos and this one I remembered the most because I had just done it this past summer.

So with my lack of blogging over the summer as I promised at the beginning of it, I present you this video which wrapped up my whole entire summer.

Summer COOP 2010 video

I had to use our schools video streaming program because youtube would delete the audio which has content I obviously don't have copyrights to.

Friday, November 26, 2010

RIP Aviators

I have written a post about the passing of a Seneca grad of 2009 earlier this year and it is unfortunate that I have to write another for 3 more.

It's been 8 days since Aziz, Cynthia, and Lloyd took off for flight, and although their physical bodies along with the airplane (C-GSCZ) came down to an unfortunate landing, their souls continue to soar the skies above us. It has been 8 days of thinking and trying to understand what has happened. 8 days of random triggering of the deepest burden of sadness I have ever felt. 8 days of feeling remorse and condolonces and sometimes thinking of when are we going to wake up from this. 8 days of what if this or what if that and knowing that no matter how many what ifs we can think of, it won't bring them back.
But most important of all, the past 8 days have been spent remembering their great loving nature and celebrating their short-lived lives.

Today was a very special day, and although Cynthia has yet to be laid to rest, we have taken this day to celebrate each and every one of them and how they have impacted each of us in their own little or big way.Seeing the turn out today and the many others wishing they were able to come was just a confirmation and sometimes wake up call to what it really means to be part of Seneca Aviation.

Pilots of all kinds in the industry, alumni, staff and faculty, and those that I haven't seen in a long time or haven't even met yet were there to pay tribute to the lives lost on that dreadful Thursday evening. What a remarkable sight I thought, as I reminisce and say my last goodbye to Aziz, Cynthia and Lloyd.

To many people, we may look like security guards or other alike. To some that know we are pilots, have not a clue of what it is to be truly a pilot, especially that from Seneca. And to the few that have been where we are right now, know how hard yet truly rewarding it is to be part of this camaraderie.
Today gave a brand new meaning to what I often call my second family that is Seneca Aviation and I am forever grateful to be apart of such a tightly-knit community.

This profession and more importantly, this passion we have chosen is a dangerous one and although this loss has taken a great toll on us, we mustn't fear of what lies ahead because of this. Instead, we must take the lives they have lived and use it for strength and inspiration to continue to do what it is we truly love above all the rest.

I sat inside one of the Beech Bonanzas today, the one which I flew with Aziz and Cynthia just two days prior the accident in fact, and as hard as it was to try and understand what has happened and the pain it felt when I had tried to visualize being in that airplane, I know full well that what they would want is for us to get back on that horse and fly with them once again.

Theodore Roosevelt once wrote:
"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

Friday, November 19, 2010

Airplane Fatal Crash

It's hard to think let alone write about the event that transpired last night.
One of our airplanes were involved in a fatal crash/accident killing all 3 occupants on board when they were returning back to Buttonville from Kingston.

The news article and video footage of the wreckage can be found here

When I say one of our airplanes, its one of the Bonanzas that I've always loved to fly, and have flown many times.

And when I say occupants, it's 3 good friends of mine, 2 of which I have flown with on the exact same flight two days prior (on Tuesday).
I'm not an accident expert so my opinions aren't much for anything, but looking at the footage of the devastating wreckage, it seemed that the impact was quite hard.

Only time will tell if time can tell what happened here, I sure hope it does, so we can learn from it...and perhaps save another family from getting that phone call or doorbell.

RIP to the comrades that were killed and God Bless to their friends, and most especially their families for this loss.

ps. i have so much more to say about this, but i will leave it til later

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I have been told countless times that no man is an island and that everyone needs someone in order to live.
Yes. I agree, but to a certain extent.

We always need someone, but we don't always need someone else. We always need ourselves.

Independent is defined as being free from outside control; or not depending on another's authority. And well, I can honestly say that I am not independent, although I strive to be.
I believe there are a lot of things in life where we just need to walk the walk and do it alone.
Growing up for example, sure our past experiences with others have produced a vast majority of what has shaped us to be what we are right now. But if it wasn't for individualism and independence, we wouldn't even be able to get out of that experience and learn from it.

True happiness is about our own perception of happiness and without knowledge of what it is that we want  or need, we cannot ever find it.

I have learned a couple of weeks ago that this 30 year old woman had arranged a wedding to marry herself. She said it was to acknowledge her love for herself and I am beginning to understand what she meant. We need to love ourselves before we can truly love others. Sure we can be selfless, and it is nice to put others before ourselves but it is in our human nature to think of ourselves, so why don't we do it enough?

Maybe it's not the achievement of happiness that truly matters, maybe its the pursuit of it. The extremes and measures that we would go through to attain it is when true self-fulfilled living really start.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Be your own hero

A hero is defined as someone of distinguished courage ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.

Some or most of us have heroes we look up to. It could be someone who has done significant things that affected history of mankind or history of ourselves, our families, or a group of people. It could be someone notable and have books written about, or it could be as simple as our own mothers or grandparents.

It is not wrong to have these people to look up to, in fact it is almost encouraged but its quite possible that its hard NOT to have a hero. Almost all of us have someone or something to look up to, and it keeps us going and it makes us want to do great things for others and the lives that have been given to us. However this shouldn't be a limit. This should be a start of something great.

There's a reason we do things the way we do, and there's a reason why we keep doing things over and over. It is almost like we're in training and we train ourselves to situations and feelings and the kind of thinking and acting that we do. So why do we train? Why do we bother with falling in love when we know we would probably get hurt, or why do we rise when we know we're prone to fall at any moment of our life. Is it because we want to be heroes ourselves? Maybe.

But I think it's for something greater, it's for the unexpected. When what we don't see or know come up and tests our abilities. When these things finally do happen, there's a saying that we should keep in mind.

We do not rise to the level of our expectations (occasion). We fall to the level of our training.

- Archilochus, Greek Soldier, Poet, c. 650 BC

Some things happen to us that catch us off guard, or so it seems. We may think we're not ready for something, but in reality, we have been trained for this. All those days that we wake up and get through 24 hours of a day, its not uneventful...its training.

So there's no need to rise to the occasion and feel like we need to be heroic, we just need to fall back to the level of our training and keep our composure. In our own little ways, thats what makes the heroes, heroes...its not something they wake up to one day and reaches for...thinking I want to be a hero... It's how they keep their composure and keep doing what they're doing when things change is what makes them heroic.

Monday, November 8, 2010

SMS and TC

A week ago we had a Transport Canada Civil Aviation Safety Inspector Aviation Enforcement come in to talk to us in class.

She talked about how they go about their business and that "voluntary compliance" are the keywords.
They don't go out looking for people who don't abide by the regulations but if they see something during their cyclic inspections, or due to a report of an incident and accident and you get caught, she spoke to us how they go about it as well. How many hours we are given to report an accident and all the penalties that we can face and the steps we can take.

She also mentioned that they are there to protect us and the paying passengers that use Aviation. Talked to us about the complaints that they get from people about noise, some were reasonable and they looked into it. But some were just weird because at one time, a person complained about airplanes flying too low over their house and after searching on google map, it was found that her house is right under a short final for one of the runways so they couldn't really do anything.

She used the words "we're not out to get you" but...there are still laws to follow.

Its amazing how much (in some how little) influence Transport Canada has on air carriers/operators. I recently found out that a float plane association has been created over to the west for British Columbia float plane operators.

The news article can be found here

This somewhat ties in to Safety Management Systems (SMS) that are still continually being phased in for almost all operators. The ultimate goal is for each carrier to assess their own operations and have a system in place to catch threats and errors and be proactive and generative instead of just reactive (do something only when an accident occurs).

I have taken a course in SMS however, there are still a wide range of standards and all the little details to be learned. I believe that it is a great tool to have especially when you're out looking for a job. It's that one extra boost for you above the rest who may not have a background in SMS.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Movie Makeup a Security Threat

So there was this article today on the news about a young asian man from Hong Kong who went on a Vancouver-bound flight disguised as an old man using expert prostetics.

He apparently went to the lavatory as an old man and came out a young asian man.

Pictures and the full article can be found here

What does this mean for the Aviation/Airline industry and Security of Transportation?
Well for one, it is a serious threat to be able to have completely falsified identities coming in to Canada or any other country for that matter. Who knows if this technology will be used by further security threats or national security threats on the bigger scale.

Something must be done right? Are we gonna start pulling on peoples faces to see if they're real or not?
Who knows.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Polar Navigation and POW

Today started just as any other normal day. I got to school for an 8AM annual mandatory winter operations briefing. Apparently it is mandatory by Transport Canada for each Air Operator, including our school to have ground instruction or refreshers on Winter Operations every year. Or so I think/heard.

After that, we had Aircraft Design class where we handed in our fuselage design.
Our fuselage was a long range aircraft capable of 365 passengers in 22 First Class, 70 Business Class, and 273 Economy class seating configuration.

After that, I was about to kick and complain about the upcoming French class when I remembered that it wasn't class today but instead, we had two war veterans come in to talk to us while our Professor baked us a cake shaped in an airplane...more or less.

First was a WW1 Royal Canadian Air Force veteran that worked as a gunner in the Halifax and Lancaster for some time. He told us about a story in 1943 where he had been on a bombing mission somewhere over Germany and was shot down by the left wing of the airplane. 5 of the 7 occupants of the aircraft safely jumped with parachutes into German territory where they were eventually captured. He then talked about his time over at the German prison camp where "The Great Escape" had occurred and how he helped create the tunnels and how secretive everything was. He said he was fortunate that he wasn't chosen as one of the 200 to go out that night, which only 76 successfully escaped but 50 of which had been caught later on and killed.

A second slightly younger, RCAF navigator whom flew in the Korean and Vietnam wars talked to us afterwards. He was talking amongst pilots so he was allowed to use jargons, most of which we understood. One question he asked actually surprised me. He mentioned that he had done a lot of flying around the North Pole and asked us this:

What would your track be if you were to fly from the North Pole to Vancouver, and the class gladly said...well south! 180 degrees.
He said yes that's right, how about if you want to go to Halifax...and slightly confused we answered SOUTH?

And that was the problem...over the north pole...all directions was SOUTH! And so it required a completely different grid system for navigation. They have used a lot of "ancient" navigation ways, since they didn't have the convenience of the GPS back then. They actually used a grid system which used the Prime Meridian and parallel lines to it, and used that as a north and they flew grid tracks instead of true/magnetic tracks.

He also told us about his time flying in the C130 Hercules, where he was...if it wasn't for chance...would've been shot down by a SAM fired by someone which actually killed the airplane that had taken off 30 seconds before them.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Value of a day

Life generally begins at birth, we start counting our years of age by the time we are born. There are many points in our lives where we also begin the first of firsts. Our first food, first word, first steps, a lot of firsts. Sometimes we get caught up with one of these firsts and end up doing it more and more, these are our likes and dislikes so to speak. You then continue on with your life, you know there are school and work, and family and whatever it is that we do.
Every single day of our lives we encounter something different.  The things we do in our day may exactly be the same as of yesterday or the day before but there’s always something there to make each and every day unique and different to every other day. This could start as early as the time you wake up until the last visual image you see at night when you sleep. Many times our days are just routine; we wake up, eat, take a shower, go to work, come home, eat, and then sleep. During these days, we often attenuate the value of the day and we usually just live that day as if it was a bag of candy so full and unlimited like that in a candy factory.

Every single year we celebrate many different holidays and occasions: New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and most especially our very own birthdays. Now every year has many different mysteries in store for us ahead, but to some people, they only celebrate their birthday as a mere occasion, just like any other. There are those moments of course that are highlights of our life, like our 18th birthday or 21st or any other birthday that has some kind of significant meaning behind it.  Although sometimes people work so hard or are too busy that they may even forget their own birthday, they don’t really cherish it even though at any given point for the next 365 days, that very birthday they didn’t really celebrate could be their last.
Our lives are really pieces of different lives, or moments of our lives put together, sometimes we remember certain things more clearly than others, and maybe there’s a reason for that. One of these moments could be the happiest day of your life like that of when you get married, or as tragic as losing someone you truly love, whichever it is, for some mysterious way we usually remember the things that affect our lives and the people we are more than the ones that have less likely to have affected us. And these moments are like those flashes of images that you will never be able to forget for the rest of your life, unless you get Alzheimer’s, even then you may forget everything and only remember that moment stuck in your head.
Anyways, I’ve probably rambled on too many things that I’ve lost most of you, and I must say this wasn’t really thought of carefully but forgive me.
What I’m trying to say is to find that value in everything around you, find its worth or make it known. We celebrate our birthdays not because we were taught to or everyone else does it, but because it’s an identification, a reward, a trophy, or some sort of recognition to yourself that you’ve made it through the past year with all its troubles and tribulations and rewards, that you’ve conquered what you thought a year ago was unconquerable. And it allows you to peek into the year ahead and see if you can make it through another year of YOUR LIFE.

Living life as a routine, as if each day was the same as every other day, as if you know for certain that there will always be tomorrow,  is not so intriguing or rewarding because if you don’t value the day, at the end of it you don’t really feel like you’ve accomplished anything. It’s almost fully true that there will always be tomorrow, but you don’t know if there will be a tomorrow for you! So seize and live the day, wake up each day as if it were your last, and put a value on it. 24 hours may seem like a long time, but all that matters is that at the end of it, you have faced all that you can, and that you couldn’t possibly have done any more that you already have. No regrets.
Sure there will be lots of firsts of a lot of things for you, and it’s great but remember as surely as there are firsts of things, there are also lasts of things. We technically started living our life at the time we are born, but sometimes we need to truly live life or relive life. Surely there’s birth, life and living, dying, and death but it’s not necessarily always in this order. Just make sure you live life, if you feel like you’ve died, then relive again. Put a value on everything and earn it.