28 December 2010

Kind of There, Did Some of It, Got the T-shirt…

… and the cap, and the metal badge.

Monday, 27 December

I’d been looking forward to this day for about 2 months. Why? Well, for those that don’t know, I’m a fan of motorbikes as well as aircraft and photography, and today was the day of the 9 Passes in one day motorbike ride. Over 400km of beautiful roads and stunning scenery.

Well, for the rest of the group it was, but not for me; I wouldn’t be able to do all nine passes because the bike was giving problems and ran the risk of overheating, so it was decided that I shouldn’t push it. Plus, I’m far from ‘riding-fit’!

So I did a whole two passes, then peeled off from the group and sat at Worcester Airfield. For 4 hours. After sitting around, twiddling my thumbs and watching South Africa get thrashed by India in the cricket, it was time for me to meet up with the group to go over the last pass (Du Toit’s Kloof).

Sitting at Worcester

On my way to the rendezvous point, I noticed that the clutch cable was sticking out of its plastic cover, and pieces of wire had unraveled. Once with the rest of the group, I decided that the safest would be for me to give the pass, well, a pass; the last thing I wanted was for the cable to fail or snap while I was going down a mountain.

So I went through the mountain instead of over it, breathing in car and truck fumes for several minutes, then I had to go through a toll gate when I got to the other side. Brilliant.

So I’m feeling a bit disappointed. At least I had a great breakfast, and got to ride the BMW R60/5. It’s probably the longest trip that bike has done ever since my dad bought it (I think that was over 6 years ago). Next time I want to do it on something that can go 120km/h without overheating. And I want to do all 9 passes and earn my shirt, cap and badge!

23 December 2010

Happiest Time of the Year?

Christmas is just around the corner (tomorrow for those of you that celebrate it on the evening of the 24th), and the Christmas cheer is everywhere. Colourful lights in various shapes ranging from trees to bells, to Santa and his reindeer are flashing merrily. Shops are decked out in tinsel and playing Christmas carols, and cheesy Christmas movies are showing on Mnet and the Movie Magic channels. The shops are packed and money is being spent left, right and center.

But despite all of that, I’m not really feeling it. Christmas isn’t Christmas unless you have little kids running around who can’t wait to give Santa his milk and cookies. I’m not a little kid anymore, and I don’t have little kids running around, so it just doesn’t feel like Christmas. Heck, I only put the tree up yesterday and all I could bring myself to put on it were some lights and a few purple baubles. How festive…

Yeah, I’m feeling a little cynical. I finally finished high school, and I forgot to do the thing I was most looking forward to doing once I completed school; belting out School’s Out by Alice Cooper. Fail. Summer has decided to give us 30degC+ weather (as if we needed the reminder that it is indeed summer). I failed my Met exam again. I want to fly bigger, faster aircraft, or at the very least, complete my night rating. I want to get a job, but at the same time, I need a very flexible schedule.

But the thing that’s probably getting me down the most is the fact that I just don’t have the motivation to study. I’ve never been very good when it comes to the self-study thing, so if I can manage two hours a day, that’s good. And I want to write 3 subjects in February. Ha, I’m really going to have to pull up my socks!

So peoples, Merry Christmas and all of that. Stay safe out there.

15 December 2010

Jingle Bells, Batman Smells

So Christmas is just around the corner, and I must say it feels decidedly un-Christmas-y. I made Christmas biscuits, but I haven’t put a tree up yet (I was going to do that today, but I decided to go flying instead).

I’ve finally hit the 100 hour mark. It took me a while, but I’m hoping that I’ll get my 200 hours in no time. I also had to do my PPL Renewal thingamajig, which went quite well (I actually remembered the CAT’s, CAR’s, AIP’s, AIC’s, and I even did calculations using the C152 handbook; I haven’t used that thing in ages!).

So that’s the good news. The bad news is that I will need to write Met. Again. It will be the third time. I think I’m going to leave it for last now. The next exam sittings are at the beginning of February, so I should hit the books, but there’s always something better to do; fly in the VSAAF (Virtual South African Air Force), build model aircraft (I now have three that I’m busy with), lie in the sun, reading, and sit at the airfield. I have little discipline when it comes to self-studying.

I’m going camping in Saldanha this weekend, so after that I’ll try get back to the studying.

Hmmm, ok, cheers fellow readers.

04 December 2010

Fire Season

Yes folks, it’s that time of year again; summer in the Western Cape. Which means that it’s fire season here. And that means that our skies will be graced with Huey’s (doing what they do best; looking good and sounding great. Oh, and putting out fires), Spotter’s, as well as a few bombers (its been about two years since they were last down here).

They’re big and they’re ugly, but I would love to fly Dromader’s/AgCat’s/Thrush’s/Pawnee’s/you get the picture, one day.

Apparently Stellenbosch will play host to two bombers, a Spotter and two Huey’s. Guess where I’m going to be spending most of my time :D

I attended the VWS (Volunteer Wildfire Services) open day at Newlands today, and I was treated to a shower courtesy of a Huey (when he took off the downwash shook all the water from the trees I was standing under), and then a couple of hours later I had the opportunity of standing a short distance (15m maybe, I don’t know; I can’t judge distance) away from another Huey during its take-off and landing. It was awesome!