“If you are looking for perfect safety you will do well to sit on a fence and watch the birds; but if you really wish to learn, you must mount a machine and become acquainted with its tricks by actual trial.”
– Wilbur Wright, from an address to the Western Society of Engineers in Chicago, September 18th 1901
“Many wonderful inventions have surprised us during the course of the last century and the beginning of this one. But most were completely unexpected and were not part of the old baggage of dreams that humanity carries with it. Who had ever dreamed of steamships, railroads, or electric light? We welcomed all these improvements with astonished pleasure; but they did not correspond to an expectation of our spirit or a hope as old as we are: to overcome gravity, to tear ourselves away from the earth, to become lighter, to fly away, to take possession of the immense aerial kingdom; to enter the universe of the Gods, to become Gods ourselves.”
— Jerome Tharaud, ‘Dans le ciel des dieux,’ in Les Grandes Conferences de l’aviation: Recits et souvenirs, 1934.
Up until last week I didn’t really have much respect for most of my fellow classmates who are in the Professional Flight program at my school. However, last week I found myself on campus with some free time between classes so I enlisted the help of a group member of mine (he’s a pro flight major) to set me up on one of the flight simulators. An hour and a half later I was totally blown away by what I had learned: flying isn’t really as easy as I thought (and this was in the simulator). After multiple failed attempts at an RNAV instrument approach (meaning the whether is so bad you cant see out of the cockpit and have to use your instruments all the way down to the runway) on a multi engine aircraft I realized flying is a skill that takes seat team time to acquire (after you get past your basic private pilot, VFR is pretty easy).
When a pilot gets to the point when they’re flying commercially they might not necessarily be doing a lot. However, they still had to prove that they have to ability to completely fly the plane, and that they posses a vast amount of knowledge. So I’ll give them that, because I really don’t have enough interest in flying to put in that amount of time and money unless I was going to fly a fighter jet. I have a rather unique perspective on flying that flabbergasts most people, I’ll go into that some other time.
Had a Sky Harbor and Pheonix TRACON tour the other day. I’m just now writing about it at 0756 in the morning several days later because I am absolutely swamped at the moment; I actually had to get up 30 minutes early today just to do this. Back to the point: TRACON and Tower tour. This was intact the first I have ever seen a real radar scope, and It was absolutely amazing. This is something I highly recommend doing if you find yourself some how possessing the opportunity.
Phoenix TRACON is basically a dark circular room with scopes all long the wall with people just sitting at them and murmuring into their headset. The energy in that room is just something to marvel over. It is quiet and clam, yet at the same time it is the most serious and hectic room in all of Arizona. Most people probably wouldn’t feel the same way I do about it, but it definitely felt like I place I’d like to call my second home. Definitely very motivating to be there and see it, and I really do hope that I could be a talented enough controller to one day make it there.
Sky Harbor Tower was very impressive as well. Standing at something like 400ft tall makes for some pretty outstanding views of the entire valley. We spent so long in the TRACON that by the time we got up there is was night time. Which actually, is something I recommend doing if you somehow can. An airport at night, at least to me, is much more interesting. All the run way and taxi lights are actually quite beautiful, not the mention the 360 degree view of endless miles of city lights.
Even though this event sent me drastically behind on my homework, it was totally worth it. Really hoping I can pull off having my internship there. I feel like my grades and my resume should put me ahead of most of the competition, but you never know. There is always going to be someone who is better then you. That is my free life lesson of the day for you. Now I have to get to my ATC class.
I received news a couple days ago that Carrolyn Bostick was forced to resign. Bostick was the front runner behind the FAA’s new insane/disturbing controller hiring processes. This is great news for someone like me, and makes the future look a little brighter. Obvious the next bid coming in march isn’t going to change and I will be taking the biographical questionnaire when I apply. However, that leaves me with some hope that if I don’t get picked up in March (2015), I will be a prime candidate in 2016 when I graduate. Fingers crossed.