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New Year and Renewed Enthusiasm

I was feeling very motivated after returning from Singapore. Mainly because I thought I wasn’t going to be homesick anymore – but on hindsight I was fooling myself into thinking that wasn’t going to be the case.

I hadn’t replaced the washroom light for months and also recently when I came back I found that the hallway light blew. For the first time in a few months of having lived in the house I had to do 2 things which I told myself I never needed to do. To approach the back shed and open any of the vacant room doors which I closed shut on the day I moved in. I’ve never dared go near the back shed and I wanted to switch the burnt-out bulbs with the ones in the other rooms but there were no chairs in the house. So I thought I might find something to stand on from the shed, so at noon I switched on the light to the shed and found a small cobweb covered wooden bench. Brilliant. Half an hour later I had a well-lit washroom and hallway, but decided to continue sleeping in the hall by the kitchen as it was summer and the hall had a ceiling fan.

The day after Christmas I had a circuit practice booked in with my instructor. He said he was free and it was ideal to practice since no one had booked any slots to fly. To my surprise and much like my 1st solo, I was asked to taxi to one of the run-up bays to drop my instructor off after a couple of touch-and-go(s) and he signed me off for my 2nd solo. I thought this was happening all too quickly, but I demonstrated the competence he was looking for, I was confident, he was confident and just like that I flew my 2nd solo uneventfully – as it should be. I wanted to celebrate every solo flight I ever did and for my 2nd Solo I was craving my favorite food – Chicken Rice and I haven’t had a plate of chicken rice since I first came to Perth. There weren’t any places that I knew that was selling it so I thought I’d cook it myself. After pushing the aircraft back into its parking spot, I paid the fees and drove to an Asian grocery store. I asked my mum for the list of ingredients I needed to cook a very basic simple chicken rice dish. This is what I learned, ginger is very expensive in Australia - $23 for a small piece. I cooked my chicken rice without it and still savored every morsel.

The fireworks on New Year’s was very nice and intimate by the way. I was checking my social media feed where the fireworks display was going to be at and there were mainly 2 locations that was trending; one in the city harbor area and the other location was at Rockingham Beach further south from Kardinya, where I was staying at. I knew there was going to be traffic jam at the city so that wasn’t even going to be an option to consider, so I chose the latter. I could have easily stayed in and not bother bringing in the New Year, plus it’s very unlike me to put myself out there and not remain in my bubble. However what’s the point I thought, I was in another country, never knew what New Year’s in another country was like, so I encouraged myself to go out more an explore. I disarmed the house alarm, walking in and out the main door several times just to make sure it was indeed disarmed, because I was going to be coming back at about 1 a.m and I’m not a fan of that intruder alarm – literally a war like siren. Locked the house, opened the driveway wooden gate to the house, reversed my car, got out to close the wooden gate and drove down to Rockingham Beach. Google maps showed that it was a 25 minutes’ drive, I took an hour because Google maps decided to reroute on its own taking me through a pitch black industrial area with the only lights coming from my headlights.

I figured that I have reached the vicinity of the area although still a good 20 minutes walking distance to the beach, by all the cars that I saw parked up on the sidewalks and open grass fields – basically everyone just decided to park where they saw space. I parked mine in between a SUV and a tree.

The beach was packed. I was clearly a sore thumb but I didn’t bother. I got there at 9 p.m and there was a fireworks display (preview) already going off, lasted a good 15 minutes after which everyone dispersed to the carnival that was on the beach. I just wondered around for the next 3 hours though there was nothing that I could buy to eat. It was getting difficult to get a good spot as it was nearing to mid night for the main fireworks, luckily I managed to find a spot by 11:30 p.m but it was just right outside of a row of bars reeking of alcohol and urine.

New Year’s fireworks display went on for 30 minutes or so, saw the guys working the wires out on the dock, manually lighting each one. It was a unique sight. I sat on a bench outside a closed café after the display and people watched for an hour and after which I walked back to my car and drove back to my residence at Kardinya. It’s okay if you hit one It was January 02 and it was going to be the first flight of the year for me;

– My 3rd Solo.

As usual I always booked the earliest possible slot in the morning so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the afternoon rising winds as the sun heats the ground – as much as possible I try and fly in the most ideal of conditions. First things first I didn’t know you could dislike a runway with such intensity like I did for Rwy 12/30. So listening to ATIS that morning prior to doing my pre-flight checks, fear just slowly started creeping over me when I heard that the active for circuits and regular departures was Rwy 12. I don’t know what it is about Rwy 12/30 but I just don’t feel confident with it nor am I comfortable with it. It’s just a bit too narrow and the way it’s built perpendicularly to the other two runways, and given that the threshold of Rwy 24L is very near the threshold of Rwy 12, not to mention that this is a runway incursion hot-spot which doesn’t help the fact that I’m sometimes not the best at navigating and worst case scenario I lose my bearings while taxiing towards Rwy 12 even before having left the ground. In the air, I would have to constantly be looking out for certain buildings which I used as reference points in relation to the ground to make a turn and it was always difficult for me to fly the circuit pattern when it came to Rwy 12 and my instructor even pointed it out to me. So bad it was that when anytime it came to using Rwy 12, he'd use 4 references to help me; a hospital, highway crossing, a highway intersection and a juvenile detention center.

So the day’s information was categorized as Alpha and with every change comes with a change in alphabet too. I was going through every step and movement in my head while doing my pre-flight checks. The aircraft already had 40 liters of fuel onboard and I ordered for another 15 liters to be in each wing, totaling 70 liters. The engine oil needed to be topped up too as it was below the recommended level, so I went ahead and did that too. I kept repeating to myself what I would say and do because Rwy 12 just doesn’t like me and so I don’t like it either.

It was summer at this point in time in W.A so the winds were changing rapidly. I was in the aircraft already approved for engine start but I was having difficulty tuning in to the frequency because I couldn’t seem to receive any transmission for me to listen to the AITS, one more time. I thought I was on the wrong frequency, panic sets in because I thought I had forgotten the ATIS frequency and now I’m sweating because my engine has been running on idle for longer than I would usually take to get ground clearance to taxi out to the active. I hold on to the breaks, and saw my instructor walking out to another aircraft. I was trying to wave and get his attention to come over because clearly I needed help and I couldn’t reach for my phone.

Took me a long time to get his attention, trying to out scream the spinning propellers and waving in all directions. Eventually he saw me waving and came over. He opened the door and I mouthed ‘I can’t get ATIS’. He helped me tune in and said that I just needed to wait a little longer as it seems that the control tower was changing the runway at that very moment, due to a change in wind direction and they were also going to verbally announce the change in information.

The runway was changed to Rwy 06L with information Bravo, my most beloved runway. I really love this runway. So I have with me the new information - information Bravo.

Rwy 06L - love this runway once again, because I’ve done most of my take-offs and landings on this runway which meant that I was very familiar with it and also the circuit pattern for this runway was fairly easy to fly. Plus it was parallel to Rwy 06R so it gave the 'international approach' feel.

Even though I got the runway I’m most familiar with, I would describe my 3rd solo to be very stressful. Throughout my 3rd solo, I was very pleased with all my landings except for what I faced while in the air – Birds.