Month: July 2007

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Sorry for not writing lately – been so tied up this last week with work, tennis, swimming, eating and of course – sleeping!

It’s been a pleasure to get to know the new guys on course 69, the party was heaps of fun and we got to the beach last weekend to recover. We’ve been playing quite a bit of tennis recently – especially since we’ve got a tennis instructor on the new course! He had been coaching tennis before he came over to FTE. It’s nice to get some instruction – something which I’ve never had with tennis before. It’s amazing how much one can improve with a little bit of coaching. We played doubles on the weekend and again during the last week. I think I prefer doubles over singles – much more fun with more people. I bought another racquet, as the one I originally had, has a huge sweet spot, which made the ball quite difficult to control… and I wouldn’t want random tennis balls knocking out people outside the court!

Other than tennis, I’ve been re-learning – or I should say, re-gaining my confidence in swimming. I succeeded in managing to do just that yesterday, thanks to Mikhail! Took me a few weeks, but I got there! Now that I have my confidence back, I think I’ll be jumping into the pool more often.

Temperatures here have been really high – reaching the upper thirties and even through to 40 celcius. It’s such a contrast to the weather in UK – where they’ve been experiencing plenty of rainfall, which has caused floods. A matter that we’ve discussed in Meteorology as well.

I’ve not bothered to go out to the beach this weekend – the heat really exhausts me and I end up not doing much work as a result. Though I can get away with not doing much work at the moment, I don’t think I can for much longer, since we’ve got progress tests coming up in a few weeks. The plan is to continue to a little bit of work, but regularly to keep on top of things. I’m finding the concepts and material itself quite easy, but the volume of work is the difficulty – maybe not just yet, but I’ve no doubt it will be if it’s not managed.

I’m really enjoying the subjects, so motivation is not a problem at all. My favourite subject at the moment is Meteorology. Also, I find the subject Engines really illuminating – we’ve been taught all the theory behind engines in Physics, at University, but not much on the practical side. I really like how instructors demonstrate on and use real engine parts to explain concepts – it’s much easier to see what’s going on when looking at a 3D, real object, rather than a 2D diagram. For the subject of Instruments, we recently went down to the demonstration room to have a look at how gyroscopes work. Again, really useful, much easier to see how it works by having a look at one and playing around with it, rather than having a look at a diagram in a book.  It was also fun demonstrating conversation of angular momentum to by class mates by allowing a spinning bicycle wheel to spin me around on a swivelling chair!

Falcons

After a game of tennis, yesterday, with a friend of mine – Ruth, we went to take a look at the bird cages, out of curiosity. We managed to find the bird handler – Rafi and thanks to Ruth’s language skills in Spanish, we arranged a time for us to come over to take a look at the birds and take photos during the daylight. So, after class today, we headed off at around 6pm to take a look around and learn more about these Falcons. We spent around 45 minutes walking around taking photos of the Falcons – each of them seemed to have their own character and it was interesting to see the unique patterns on their feathers. We also strolled over to the breeding cages and saw a young Falcon calling out to Ruth for some attention! Rafi gave us a few feathers to take away with us – a great memento!

Rafi feeding chicken to a Falcon:

Falcons are kept here:

Falcon on Ben’s arm – there’s one of me as well, which I’ll post later. Ben knew a bit about Falcons, as he had done a course in Falconry:

In the breeding area:

I’ll post more pictures soon.

It was really interesting to find out that these Falcons are released at 5am and 5pm to scare away any birds in the area around the airport. This is to reduce the risk and chance of bird strikes with incoming or departing aircraft.

In other news – we’ve got a welcome party on tonight for the new course… and so course 68 is no longer new now!

I’ve made this post a little longer, as Dan has noticed my entries have been getting smaller and smaller! So this one’s for you Dan! Plans for the weekend – go to the beach.. and work!

No longer “new”.

Tests in General Navigation & Principles of Flight went extremely well.  The mention of “progress test” is becoming more and more frequent now – tests, for most subjects we’ll take in week 9 of the course (about a month from now).  We’ll be taking one of them early, as we’ve managed to cover the material pretty fast, as it has worked out with our current time table – it’ll be nice to get that out of the way early.

A new course will be starting next week and they’ll be arriving this week – so there’s a welcome party on Friday.  So it will be precisely 4 weeks since we were welcomed in, this Friday – time has just sped by!

Tests

Into week four now and beginning to hear more and more about tests and we’ll be having a few this week.

Went to the supermarket to get some soap and a sponge last Friday and then went about giving it a wash the next day.  It didn’t wash so well unfortunately since the heat had really stuck the dirt (and plenty of bird poo – I’m not parking my car under the tree again!) onto the car.  So I decided to go to the auto-wash and it worked a treat!  It only cost 3 Euros and 2 minutes – well worth it!  Went to the beach again later that day and then Sunday involved working most of the day.  There’s talk of going to Seville next weekend.

Plan for the rest of today – relax, work (got a test in General Navigation to ace), relax, sleep.

Week 3 almost over!

Looked at the timetable to organise myself for tomorrow and was shocked to see that it’s Thursday tomorrow, already! We started Mass & Balance this week – involves calculating things like aircraft performance based on centre of gravity, etc.. will know more once we get on with the subject! Meteorology is also getting more interesting, we’re starting to look at how humidity plays out in the atmosphere – previous lessons involved mostly definitions and numbers.

The plan for the weekend is to go down to the beach again. I’m going to try and see if we can find a place to have a go at some water-sports as well. There are also plans of going horse-riding on the beach at sunset..! A few people are going home for the weekend so we’re not going to bother doing anything special, so that they don’t miss out.

Other than that… two more days of work and the weekend is speedily approaching!

Relaxed

Went to “The Wok” on Friday for Chinese food, which I really enjoyed, especially because they had Sushi and a variety of ice creams! I’ve not had Chinese food for ages, so it was good to dig into some here.

Then yesterday we were at the beach – I was so relaxed that I managed to doze off there! We then went on a mission to find a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream store – took us a while, but with our persistence and motivation we got there! I haven’t swam for a long time so I’m not very confident at the moment, but I had a go and enjoyed myself, even though the waves kept pushing me down!

I love the FTE campus, but think it’s nice to experience a change of scenery, for at least one day of the week. It’s quite refreshing and one comes back relaxed. And on that point.. we spontaneously decided to go to the beach yet again today!

We explored the older part of the city, which has the Cathedral situated in it:

Two weeks of ground school have passed, and it’s a little scary how fast it has gone! I’ve not had much work to do this weekend, especially since I’ve been working consistently during the week – little at a time but regularly.

Basketball

We had a good game of basketball today, and we’ve decided that we’re going to play every Tuesday. The first week of ground school breezed by and I found that I barely had any work to do then. I’m finding that, as we’re getting further into ground school, I’m having to spend at least an 45 minutes doing work-sheets or just reading through what we did on the day. I’m finding the instructors very approachable and friendly, which is what I expected anyway from my first impressions. No problems at all so far, and we’re all helping each other out in our course, which really does make things easier for all of us!

More ground school tomorrow.. and so far my weekend plans are to cut my mate’s hair, hah!

FTE Campus

Yesterday was quite relaxing, went to the pool and went to take a few pictures of the campus.  The building in the photo below is the accommodation block I live in.

The classrooms are this way…

The aircraft…

We didn’t have are passes with us, so I managed to get a shot through the gate.  Looking forward to get in one of these again!

I was planning on going to play tennis today, unfortunately both courts were being used, so waited around for dinner.  The plan now is to study for a couple of hours and then relax – maybe go to the threshold to watch a few planes!