Monday, 8 August 2011

Notes on Flying #3 - Ground checks..


Madhya Pradesh is stunningly, achingly beautiful in the rains. There is a coat of low grass of an intense light green colour covering the ground evenly as far as the eye can see, and this lawn is punctuated by darker trees and shrubs and streams. Hills rise up seemingly in an effort to break the light green sheath of grass, but the grass has covered them all over, refusing to give up. The only place where there is a break in the colour is where man has intervened with his pickaxes and steam shovels, revealing the dark, almost black, soil underneath. Yet even those man made scars on the earth seem to fit in well with the overall palette of greens on the ground, and greys in the sky. It's all very, very beautiful. And y'know what? I hate it.

I have seen a grand total of one take-off from our pokey little airstrip in the eight days i have spent here. The weather's so miserable for flying that even the birds are taking shelter. We have a paper on the notice board that borrows a line from a US Air Force base whose name I forget, and it says 'There is no justification for flying through a storm in peacetime'. So the planes stay put, and everyone's miserable, itching for the clouds to clear away. And judging by the relentlessness of the weather every single day, we're slowly becoming more and more apprehensive about whether the skies will all clear up by september when we're scheduled to take to the skies.


Normally, post-school kids take 6 months to complete their PPL course. Working on the assumption that executives like us have better knowledge and lesser time, this timeframe has been compressed to 3 months for us. And things are whooshing by, while we make feeble attempts at comprehension. The initial pride and cockiness has all but vanished, and there is a crystal clear appreciation of the task at hand, and our handicaps in achieving the same. Everyone is reacting differently to this, and I can't speak for everyone else, but my approach/mantra is to avoid panic. I am a bit of a worrier, and this will be a tough call, but I figure if i put in more time with the books while I'm away from class, I should have things under control. The biggest potential handicap for me, that of not being an engineer, has been a non-factor so far, and I'm kinda happy to report that even after a break of 9 years, technical concepts come fairly easy. It does help that i spent 9 years reading up a lot, though.

Homework, Tests

Homework has been an alien concept for years now. It is a different matter that I often take office work home, but that is usually a matter of convenience more than compulsion. Homework, tests, uniform.. they all add up to a strange sort of deja vu. It is a lot like school, yet there are significant differences. I actually don't mind the homework, I'm proud of the uniform and look forward to wearing it daily, and tests are seen not as a pass/fail monster but as genuine evaluations of progress. Today the navigation prof threw us a surprise test, and i found old ghosts from school haunting me. I used to have a habit of doggedly sticking with solving a problem while sacrificing potential mark-scoring questions ahead simply because I refused to give up on the one that was bogging me down. I missed out on an entire page of the question paper today that was full of sitters, and was kicking myself afterwards. Errors due to carelessness in basic mathematics is another old ghost from school days that I have to fight yet again. There is a lot of progress to be made ahead.

To be continued..

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