Once upon a time, a self-proclaimed Archaeology-Lifer got a job as a flight attendant. No one knows quite how it happened. Here's what happened next...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

We Could Wait for the Weather to Change, or I Could Stand Here and Pout...

I wrote myself a letter this morning.

Dear Flygirl,

Do try not to have an emotional meltdown on your poor Instructor today.  He’s got the patience of a saint, but really, some chick sobbing with frustration in the plane next to him might prove to be a little much for the poor guy.
Just chill out, you crazy bitch.

Love from,
Your Dignity

Then I got in my car and started driving towards the airport.  Halfway there, the heavens opened and it poured!  I sulked for the rest of the way, pretty sure that my lesson was going to get rained out.  By the time I got there the rain had stopped, but there were still some low clouds.  Sure enough, My Instructor shook his head.  I pouted.

We decided to see if it cleared up a little bit, so My Instructor let me play with the new simulator a little bit.  I've never used a flight simulator before, and it was quite the strange experience.  The graphics are really good so it looks a lot like you are flying, and then you have all the controls, but it just doesn't feel quite the same.  It took a few circuits to get the hang of it, but I especially loved not having to actually go around the circuit in order to do another landing.  I was less enthused about the "birdstrike" though...

After a few simulated circuits, the sky had cleared up enough for a few real ones!  I got my plane and headed out for a walk-around.  All was well, so we hopped in, secured ourselves, and I did my pre-flight checks.  Then I turned the starter key and nothing happened.  I had a bit of panic in my mind.  'Oh my god, how did I mess that up?!  Why do I suck so much?'  Then I thought that I really hadn't messed up, and turned to look enquiringly at My Instructor.  As it turned out, it wasn't my fault.  The starter wasn't engaging for whatever - probably the battery, it was determined.

By the time we had told the maintenance crew about the problem and headed back into the club to write it all up, I was ready to go into full on Pout mode again.  Why was the morning against me?  All I wanted to do was fly!  It was TUESDAY.  That's my day.

Luckily, there were other planes available, so we grabbed one and finally got into the sky.  The second plane (C-GKLN) was slighty different to the usual C-150s we fly in.  It was heavier, and had something going on with the wings which apparently made it more stable - I have completely forgotten what it was called.  Whatever it was, I really liked flying that plane.  Something about it just felt really good.  I'm definitely going to try and nab it again in my future lessons.

I didn't even think about my first landing until I was lined up on the runway.  I think I was too busy trying to deal with the strong cross-wind to allow myself to get too worked up about it.  Next thing I knew I was on the runway, and my landing didn't suck!  For the first time I felt able to say 'Oh, that wasn't too bad actually!'  The next couple were just as good, and my spirits soared!  It finally started to feel a little better.  I am a lot better at landing without flaps, so the next challenge is getting it nice and smooth with flaps.  I rounded out the lesson with two of my worst landings to date, but I'm trying to not think about them, and just focus on the good ones!

After the lesson, I grabbed some lunch and settled myself in the club's lounge, with the intention of studying for my PSTAR.  I did get some work done, but also got a bit of football watching done, and a bit of socializing done, too!  Around 3pm, I found myself tagging along with some of the students from the college program.  They were going to the retirement celebrations of a Nav Canada Pilot.  I heard the phrase "low and over on runway 25" and figured it was worth a look!

It was definitely worth the visit.  The pilot had some rather touching words of wisdom to share with us eager young beginners, and we had the opportunity to watch some planes landing from the aerocentre, which afforded a pretty great view.

There were also a few nice jets parked, and a few other interesting planes landed while we were there.

Afterward, some of the Nav Canada employees were kind enough to show us a couple of their planes - a Dash 8 and an RJ.

While in the RJ, a couple of the students were ooohing and aaahing over all of the numerous gadgets, dials and buttons in the flight deck.  I wandered over to have a look, and found a relatively familiar sight.  It was quite similar to the set-up of our B737s at The Airline, although the RJ appeared to have fewer instruments, and not as much going on in the central console area.  I overheard one of the students say 'Wow, it's not exactly like a Cessna...'

I realised something, then.  Although I'm a real baby in the aviation world, at just over 16 hours, I have been lucky enough to spend quite a bit of time in the flight deck of large passenger jets.  Now I am thinking that my experience as a Flight Attendant might actually benefit me as a Pilot.  Although it's not going to be too helpful in the actual flying of the planes, I have been privileged enough to spend quite a bit of time around large aircraft, and I don't find myself intimidated by them at all.  I did pick up quite a bit of information from the Pilots in my incessant questioning of them, and these gems of knowledge make themselves apparent every now and then.

To round out the excitement of the day, an Air Transat Airbus was doing circuits on runway 25.  Proper circuits - touch and gos, overshoots, the works.  It's quite something to see!  Today really was one of those days that it just felt wonderful to be at the club!


  1. I think there is a time in every student pilot's training in which the starter key is turned and nothing happens. You sit there wondering "what the heck am I doing wrong?" only to realize later it was something on the plane. I was on a solo when this happened to me and I remember sitting there on the plane wondering if I was doing something wrong or if I should call maintenance over.

  2. Hahaha Fernando. It's so true. There was such panic in my mind and I automatically just assumed it was my fault! Hopefully that's my ONE time and I don't encounter it too often. It's incredibly frustrating!

  3. Usually I've found when the plane won't start it is because of something I've done. Ooops forgot to turn on the master so of course it won't start.
    Back to the Before Start checklist from the top.... controls free & correct...