Dream Of Flight Has A New Domain !

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Journey to Becoming a Pilot - Part 3

The day had arrived. Dressed in my smart long sleeve shirt with a blue tie and black pants. I went to the SIA Training Center where the interview was held. I remembered the holding room was cold. Saw a few candidates waiting. After i submitted my relevant documents, i joined them in the wait. One by one the candidates left and new one entered. Soon it was my turn. I went into the room, there was a seat for me to sit on and 2 interviewers. After a series of questions lasting about 20 mins, i was done. I left the room thinking i did my best and well 2 days later, i got an email stating to come down for the second interview!

The place was the same just that the room was different now. We had like 10 of us in the group. Started off with some team building exercises constructing lego, planning airport etc. Then after which came the final interview. This time there were like 6 interviewers. Went through a series of questions which were tougher and lasted longer. Then we had the tea party which basically consisted of some finger food, drinks and talking to the panel. We were told to give them a call the next day to find out if we got selected. I went home pondering what could have been done better, thinking what if i couldn't get through etc...it was a long and sleepless night for most of us i guess.

The day of truth arrived, i picked up the phone, dialed the number and i remembered this was the toughest number i had ever dialed in my life. A lady picked up, i told her my name and she said: " Sorry, you did not make it." This simple six words just shattered my dream completely. I felt a heavy stone carrying my heart down to the bottom..it was cruel..but what could i do? I did my best and i just got to get on with life.

I realized from some of my friends that if one had failed the final interview, they will not have any more chance with the cadet scheme again. This further made it worst for me. My only avenue to be a pilot was now gone. I wanted to give up this dream and get a regular job as an IT specialist as that was what i studied in Aus. I just couldn't, the flying thought just kept lingering in my mind. I have to do something to continue to pursue my dream. So off i went to further my research. I found out that with a Private Pilot Licence i could actually become an instructor in Malaysia. So i thought to myself this seems like a good way to earn my flying hours as well as to gain more exposure.

Went down to Johor Malaysia, to enquire about converting my Aus PPL to a Malaysian PPL. The club was very friendly they assisted me in the conversion which i needed to do only an Air law paper and a flight test. Once i had my Malaysian PPL, i spoke to the Chief Flying Instructor of Elite Flying Club in Johor about my intention to become a flying instructor. He is very nice, we met up at a McDonald outlet in AMK and discussed the issue. He told me that this could be done but in Malaysia, they have a ruling that for a PPL holder to go for the instructor rating, they need 150 hrs of solo time. I only had like 10 hrs of solo time as most of the flight time was with an instructor during my training in Aus. Getting 140 hrs of flight time is not cheap. Just a rough estimate an hour on the cheapest light aircraft cost about 200sgd. You can do the math. Capt AL (CFI Elite) was very kind he told me i do not have to folk out a large amount as i can pay as i fly. That made it easier. I only fly when i have the money.

So regularly while working part-time, i will fly from Johor to Malacca or Subang to clock my hours. It was fun time being in the air with all those shitty weather around Malaysia. The furthest i flew on a single day was from Johor to Langkawi. Flight time was about 7 Hrs 30 mins phew...i could had landed myself in Tokyo with that time on a commercial airline :)  After a couple of months, i accumulated the 150 solo hrs, i was introduced to this examiner in Kuala Lumpur who will become my instructor for the instructor rating course. Off i went to KL for the training which was supposed to last for only a month but in the end lasted for 5 months....(To be continued).


  1. Hi Eric, May I know when was this interview conducted? What I read on the net, the final interview consists of a psycho motor test in the morning, but no more team building exercise (lego building, etc). Is this the case?


    1. Hi James,

      Ya from what i heard from sources there are no more team building only the psycho test. I did mine back in 2004 so that was way back. Hope that helps.