Taking to the skies 🇺🇸

Dear Readers,

Isn’t it almost mandatory when you’re a child to be fascinated by things, especially airplanes? I am pretty sure everyone as a child must have been at one point. I was one of those kids, but an obsessed one. It was not one of those typical desires to go to the airport and experience a flight. It was more of a ‘I want to be the person flying that machine’ kind. So much so I ended up obtaining an undergraduate in aerospace engineering, and here is an insight into my experience.

Many many moons ago (actually like 4 years) I went on an educational experience to the land of opportunities aka United States of America. I was still at university finishing off my engineering degree and one of my modules was pilot studies. There was a requirement in the module that I should have flown 20 hours in order to get my full credits. I had two options. One was to simply do the 20 hours in UK in a flying school or to go to US and do it. Option 1 was not feasible as it costs a lot of money to fly for an hour over in the UK. It’s the same as paying for your driving lessons but just multiply an hour of a driving lesson by 8 or more and that’s how much you would be paying for one hour of flying.

Option 2 then became a reality. Rather than doing the basic 20 hours I decided to obtain my private pilot license , PPL for short. I realised that if I was going to obtain my licence in the UK it would have cost me 3 times than what it would cost me in the US. I spoke to my parents and they supported me on this endeavour.

“Working for an hourly salary in a grocery store and they didn’t even hesitate to say no to it or to the costs of it. I may wish to have different things at times in life, but i always feel blessed to have my family. If you can relate to this then you are blessed like I am, and if you cannot you will soon enough”

So eventually summer 2013 I took off to an unknown town called Traverse City, Michigan. NMC (Northwestern Michigan College)  had a partnership with my university and I attended their flight school. I had to take 2 flights to get to Michigan with a little stop over in Chicago. Traverse city was one of the most beautiful quaint little American town I’ve ever stayed in. It is on the bay of Lake Michigan.

The first 30 hours of my lessons was with an instructor of course. I was a little bit nervous on my first lesson and they told me it was normal to be nervous and some students were even sick during their first flight (what a way to put me at comfort). The first lesson I did was an observation lesson where I sat in the back of a Cessna and monitored how flying was done. I was actually enjoying the view outside of the plane more than anything. The next day was my first lesson with my instructor and my nervousness was still there. However i kept focus on the objective and I eventually grew out of it. Everyday my schedule was simply to wake up, fly, attend theory lessons and explore.

Eventually I learnt more manoeuvres such as emergency landing, stalls, altitude correction. For example the emergency landing manoeuvre would be where my instructor would cut the engine and tell me to do an emergency landing within a few minutes. Yes its scary but more fun than anything, once you’re comfortable.  One of the most exhilarating experiences was that I was taking off and landing on a domestic airport where jetliners were landing everyday. It couldn’t get more real than that.

Solo Time

One of the important parts in the journey to become a private pilot or even an airline pilot is the first day you go solo. I was doing a routine take off and landing with my instructor and he suddenly tells me ‘You’re good to go now, land once more and I will get off the aircraft and sign you off to go solo straightaway’. I was so excited, happy and basically thought to myself ‘this is it’. Then I really took off to the skies all by myself flying over ‘Lake Michigan’ and its surrounding. From that day onwards till my final examination where I became an official private pilot the solo journey was the most exhilarating time.

In life there are some experiences and learning that stick with you forever. This is one of those experiences that will forever be in my heart and something that I will be proud of.

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A day in the Dam 🇳🇱

There are some places that you can visit for a day and you would get the feeling that you’ve seen it all. Not to say that it was not a good experience or anything like that, but to just get the feeling that you’re content with the fact it was a short visit yet it was a lovely experience.

I got the same feeling when I went to Milan with my love and also to Amsterdam, Netherlands. It was my first time to Amsterdam, despite all the pre-assumptions about the place I always knew there was something beautiful about the city. So I was excited and made my way to the ‘Dam’ with my love.

The first thing I would like to point out is, that you can walk around the city centre pretty easily, therefore if you travel by train to the main station then refrain yourself from buying a day ticket to get on the trams. I did the same and it turned out to be a waste, as the beginning of the city was not  even a stones throw away.

You’re immediately attracted by the winding canals and the bike aficionados of Amsterdam. Oh dearie me,  the January chills cut you like blades but with the excitement to explore the city and my love for the company, I marched on.

First stop was food. Old habits die hard they say, as I saw a wagamamas I ran in there quickly and ordered my all time favourite ‘Prawn Firecracker’. In my humble opinion it is the best thing on the menu especially if you love the spicy side of things in life. To all the katsu curry lovers sorry but not sorry. Also you can find the wagamama right inside the ‘Amsterdam centraal station – ij-hal’ 

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After that it was time for the exciting part of the day the “Amsterdam Light Festival”. The festival ran from Nov 30,2016 – Jan 21,2017. It also runs every year, therefore if you’ve missed it last year make sure you don’t miss it at the end of this year. The tickets for the cruises can be bought in advance, Cruise details. The cruise also offers free hot chocolate and Glüwhein, trust me you would need it. Opting for a brave open boat option to see the festivals we began our experience. There were over 35 artworks from different artists from all over the world. Each of them were unique in their own way, despite the cold we were awestruck by some of the art that was installed along the canals.

One of my favourite one was the artpiece called the ‘Brigde of the Rainbow’ by a French artist called Gilbert Moity. It symbolises open-mindedness and diversity.

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Another one of my favourite was the artwork from an Italian Duo where ‘Love Is Contagious’ is translated into 5 different languages and it was displayed in varieties of colours and light sequences

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If you want to know more about the artwork that was posted in the festival, head over to  Amsterdam Light Festival . My only wish was, that my iPhone could have stayed alive throughout this journey as it couldn’t handle the cold and decided to kill itself many times.

This was definitely one of the most beautiful day in my life, even though it was for a day it was a beautiful experience and sometimes ‘memories are souvenirs’ too!

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