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Friday, November 4, 2011

Journey to Becoming a Pilot - Part 6

One of my most memorable experience was a flight I did with my student Mr F. We were doing our normal flying training at the west of the airfield not too far away from the airport. After about 1/2 hour of flying, the weather suddently became bad. A huge layer of low clouds started approaching the whole airport as well as our position.

I did not feel very comfortable so requested to return back to land. As there was an Airbus 320 on final approach to land as well, we got to wait about 5 mins before it was our turn. I tried holding as close as we can to the airport so that I can still see it. After 5 mins the cloud was getting worst, not only we cant see the airport, we were also covered in cloud.

At that time, I was not trained in instrument flying, I had to keep my composure as the aircraft instruments were the only thing we can rely on to continue flying as there were layers and layers of white candy floss outside the window.

Johor Control Tower was talking to us over the radio asking for our position. I told them we were in the west but lost our position due to the cloud. Luckily they had radar so they could roughly guide us around the airport. They have to divert other aircraft away to avoid any conflicting traffic around us. We were trying very hard to look for the airport but in vain for about 20mins. At the back of our mind we know the airport was just below us or beside us but we just couldn’t see it to make an approach to land.

The experience was really quite scary as fuel was slowly depleting away and our mind just kept wondering about, thinking if we could actually get back on the ground again. I still remembered briefly my student asking should we write a will down or something and I told him do not worry I will make sure we land safely.

Just as I was glancing to the right, I saw an opening in the cloud and could see a small portion of the middle runway, without hesitation, I requested to come in for landing in the middle of the runway. As the runway in Johor is very long we could use 1/3 of the runway to land without problem. I dive the aircraft straight into the cloud opening and landed in the middle of the runway. The feeling was so wonderful and at the same time a scary relieve.

My student thanked me after that for saving his life and to me I felt if I could have been more competent or more knowledgable, I might have done more instead of depending on our luck. This incident not only spurred me to continue upgrading my flying knowledge but also to buy a GPS as I found that was the most important device at that time which I did not have.

So if you were to be flying with me in the future, you can rest assure, I have that with me all the time.

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