Category Archives: General

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Vanishing jetliners should soon be a thing of the past

Vanishing jetliners should soon be a thing of the past

By Ofonime Essien

vanishing jetliners

Possible debris from the missing passenger jet MH370. Two US companies say their satellite-based tracking systems would prevent planes from vanishing over international waters. AFP

Two US companies have developed an airline tracking system designed to prevent planes disappearing in the manner of the Malaysia Airlines MH370, which vanished two years ago when contact was lost with it somewhere over the vast Indian Ocean region.

Instead of sending tracking signals to ground stations – which means planes’ locations can be lost over oceans or remote areas – the new system would beam them to satellites.

Read more: ICAO announces 2017 opportunities for young aviation professionals

“It doesn’t matter if they’re flying over the ocean, desert, or North Pole, we’ll know where the plane is,” said Daniel Baker, the chief executive of FlightAware, the internet flight tracking service that is working with Aireon, which has developed the satellite technology.

Aireon’s system will place ADS-B (automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast) receivers on low-orbit satellites operated by Iridium Communications and is due to be operational from 2018. The system was initially conceived to help air traffic controllers route planes more efficiently.

Read more: CALLY AIR, a New Nigerian Airline Emerges

The new tracking system, called GlobalBeacon, will make the location data from the space-based receivers available to airlines so they can track their planes in near real-time on a Web-based tool.

After the disappearance of MH370 in March 2014, regulators and airlines were criticised for responding too slowly to French tracking recommendations after the crash of an Air France plane in 2009.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) plans to impose a 15-minute standard for normal flight tracking, or more frequently in case of emergency, by November 2018.

Read more: Airline Pilot Raises False Alarm For Hijacking

FlightAware said it would reveal the first airline customer for the product next week, to coincide with an ICAO meeting in Montreal.

“We only reached out to a few of our dozens of airline customers to discuss this opportunity and although all are interested in using our space-based ADS-B data, only one could hit the tight timeline for our announcement,” Mr Baker said.

(Reuters)

 

 

 

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NIGERIAN PILOTS LOST AT SEA

NIGERIAN PILOTS LOST AT SEA

By Kelechi Eze & Ofonime Essien

 

Nigerian Pilots

Nigerian Pilots marching during a Graduation Ceremony

This is a missive to address the issues that have confronted me as an unemployed pilot with no job experience in Nigeria. I will delve into matters only within my scope of experience and reach even though I am no expert in the aviation industry, I can say I am an expert in the field of pilot unemployment.

From where I look, it appears that the Nigerian Aviation Industry is in shambles; While it may periodically receive jolts of life (new airlines and expansion within standing ones) these do little to raise this near-dead goliath. A giant felled from the stone that mismanagement shot. The industry is moribund, with hundreds of unemployed and underemployed pilots, engineers and technicians laying about without hope. In fact, the NCAA once published that they have issued over seven thousand (7000) licenses but only about two thousand and five hundred (2500) of those are current, meaning these are the only ones currently in use for employment purposes. This points to the possibility of an even higher number of unemployed pilots than previously thought.

Read also: National Carrier coming soon – Minister

The truth is that there is much that is wrong in the industry because many businesses are struggling to stay ahead of mounting loans from ever sceptical banks and stringent regulations which do as much harm as good to the industry. Therefore, pressing measures should be undertaken to resuscitate the industry.

THE PROBLEMS AFFLICTING THE INDUSTRY (FROM MY PERSPECTIVE)

The universally accepted measure of experience in the global aviation industry is practice hours (flying hours) and that yardstick is the same for us here is Nigeria too. The higher the hours of practice for pilots and engineers, the better regarded and more trusted they are. It is for this reason that insurance companies make benchmarks for pilots and co-pilots to adhere to in order for them to better safeguard their investments and ensure a higher standard of operation. An unwritten agreement for a minimum of 1500 hours and 500 hours are required for captains and co-pilots respectively, in many countries all over the world.

However, fresh graduates from aviation schools (I speak for pilots solely in this instance) receive somewhere between 200-300 hours of total training hours for airplane pilots and between 150-200 hours of total training hours for helicopter pilots throughout their tutelage,  therefore, a deficit in practice hours exists for these new graduates making them less than ideal for employment. Technically, they are still employable but as I earlier mentioned employers are more comfortable taking on more experienced pilots. This situation presents a serious quagmire for fresh pilots leading those fresh graduates with means to “buy” hours by paying for them or utilize their connections to gain employment with their meagre qualifications.

Read also: Waiting For National Carrier

So the options available to new pilots remain to either spend more money to increase their flying hours by hiring a plane or helicopter and paying per hour, use the ever present “connection” or test the waters with their sparse CVs. Coupled with the steady stream of foreign and more experienced pilots who troop into the country to compete for jobs that the locals cannot qualify for, the competition is currently slaughtering Nigerians.

WHAT IS BEING DONE?

The order of the day is a call for the reestablishment of the national carrier airline as an antidote to our presently ailing industry. Whilst I am excited for this news, I cannot help but to objectively assess our situation as to be beyond the cure of one single airline. Even the most optimistic observer cannot deny the astronomical costs this airline will gulp, not to mention the equally mammoth sums that will be required to launch and maintain such till it breaks even financially. With industries in Nigeria witnessing a crunch in one form or the other owing to the monumental dip in oil prices as well as the political realignment of the government, every penny that can be saved should be. The order of the day will be “effective” as opposed to “massive” spending.

This is why I am wholly convinced that a national carrier as well other large scale investments MIGHT not be the best way to go, and they will produce more of the same results for many local pilots. It MIGHT turn out to be a typical case of treating the symptom as opposed to the disease itself. These ‘low-hour’ pilots will remain unemployable unless the airline is willing to invest even more time and money in these low-timers.

Read also: When Opportunity Knocks, Will You Be Ready?

That said, it would be a major boost to Nigeria’s profile for her to maintain a national carrier, which I am certain will increase traffic for, at least, tourism and international business collaborations.

WHAT SOLUTION WOULD I RECOMMEND?

I would recommend that General Aviation (GA) be bolstered up. The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) defines GA as “an aircraft operation of a civil aircraft other than a commercial air transport operation or aerial work operation.” This simply means any aviation dealing asides airliners, corporate and luxury business jets charters and the likes, is general aviation. This means that General aviation is ANY airplane business that in NOT an airline. So examples of GA would be tour flights, training, aerial photography, pipeline inspection, banner towing, crop dusting and skydiving etc. GA has a very notable hallmark which is its use of small short-range airplanes for small scale businesses, making it more affordable compared to the high cost of the regular airlines.

BENEFITS OF GENERAL AVIATION

The most pronounced characteristic of General Aviation (GA) is its cheapness as against other aviation businesses. It costs a fraction of what it takes to buy one airline aircraft to set up normal GA operation. Small planes which have long lifespans and little maintenance overhead have prices comparable to cars. They are the key drivers of such businesses so these businesses can afford to hire pilots with low hours. In fact that is mostly what they can afford, considering their small size and profits.

Ideally, pilots and engineers can begin working in these small companies and then accumulate more hours and experience which makes them more suitable for bigger businesses and operations. In doing so, Nigeria can be assured of a steady stream of better experienced pilots who have cut their teeth in actual labour and have confidence in their skills. It will also help Nigerian aviators get employment and experience in other countries, which can help us expand our knowledge base as well as strengthen cultural ties with other nations.

The potentials for GA to improve the economy are too numerous and far reaching, as shown in the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) issued report for 2014 and 2015 forecast, GA is currently a $219 billion industry in the United States alone and supports 1.1 million jobs in the same country. Manufacturing plays a massive role in this colossal market, and Africa is still virgin territory. With the right input, the entire sub-Saharan general aviation market would have to stem from here in Nigeria. In truth, only South Africa uses general aviation to any degree of importance in Africa, and it provides for 2.1% of their GDP.

Read also: Help Is On The Way

Other than financial, the addition to local content would be enormous. GA can resuscitate Nigeria’s pride, the Air Beetle, an airplane which was manufactured and fabricated locally till it could no longer operate. Also schools for aviation technology would not be far to imagine seeing as they come hand in hand with a functional and boisterous GA.

ACTUAL RECOMMENDATIONS I WILL MAKE

1. Review the landing and take-off costs for airplanes under 12,600 lbs, or the NCAA may provide a list of preferred aircrafts for GA use which the NCAA will reduce airport fees for, as long as they are registered in Nigeria.

2. The Federal Government, or even states, can make allocations for short strips for runways, whether controlled or uncontrolled. A minimum of three of such airfields should be located in each state. A public/private partnership will be best in our clime to ensure that maintenance is not overlooked either.

3. Relax the requirements for aviation business registration for small-scale businesses, or create an avenue for GA businesses to start and progress without needing to acquire the top heavy structures of actual airlines, also a review of the policy guiding the private ownership of aircrafts for non-commercial purposes.

4. Require the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the National Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to maintain a fleet of small inexpensive planes with which they can monitor pipelines as well as rapidly respond to emergencies where they may arise.

5. Demand the NCAA to live up to its responsibilities of providing regulatory oversight on aviation operations and make these regulations public on a functional website. Information such as area charts and airport information MUST be made available and aslo well updated.

6. Make concessions such as tax exemptions to particular businesses within the GA scope such as schools, which can stem the tide of fleeing Forex which is caused by monies leaving Nigeria to pay for fees in foreign countries.

7. Border patrolling for and with the Nigerian Custom Service as well as the Nigerian Army is also a possibility. Keep in mind these small and nimble planes can serve in multiple ways; deliver payloads and packages to destinations where bigger planes cannot, survey areas and assess situations, and they cost a fraction of the drones that can deliver those functions.

8. Finally, support the push to introduce a regulation that requires a Nigerian member of crew for ANY aircraft operating within Nigeria, whether it be registered or not.

The authors, Mr. Kelechi Eze, can be reached on his email: zkelechi@yahoo.com and Mr. Ofonime Essien on essien56@yahoo.com.

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Help Is On the Way

Help Is On the Way

By Ofonime Essien

help is on the way

Photo: Large Family Mothering

If you pray for a miracle and God doesn’t give you one, you can be a miracle to other people.

On 21st August, 2012, I left Abuja, Nigeria for a US $97,700.00 (N16,132,050.00) helicopter flight training with US $1,212.00 (N200,000.00) in my bank account believing that help was on the way.

 Helping a Friend in Need

As I was preparing for flight school, a close friend came to me crying. She had lost weight because of over thinking. Her marriage was announced in church but had to be postponed without a new date fixed because of funds. The funds her fiancé was expecting to carry out the marriage rights didn’t come through.

Read more: Why You Should Always Bolt Your Hotel Door

Rumour mongers went to town with speculation that they were no longer together. This caused her sleepless nights. She needed somebody to pour out her heart to. When a woman tells you her problems, it does not mean that she is complaining. It means she trusts you. She knew I was looking for money for my Pilot training, as such wasn’t expecting any financial help from me. As I watched her cry like a baby and feeling helpless, I was moved in my spirit to do something. They just needed some money to start. I intervened and helped.

I dipped hands into my savings and donated US $ 909.09 (N150,000.00) from the US $ 2,121.21 (N350,000.00) I had saved towards my pilot training. I had reasoned that the money I released will not stop me from going for the course. And it didn’t. That gift was like US $6,060.61 (N1,000,000.00) to them. Today, they are happily married with two (2) lovely children. I empathize with people easily. I always believe, “What you make happen for others, God will make happen for you”. Zig Ziglar, an American author and motivational speaker, once said, “You can have everything you want in life, if you will just help other people get what they want”.

While Waiting For Help

I mentioned in my article, How I Became a Helicopter Pilot, that I was training three (3) people in school and supporting another while in flying school. I had to support the fourth (4th) person because of the faith she had in me. Till date, I don’t know how she got my number though, she told me she stole it from her Madam’s phone. I ate in their restaurant in Jebba, Nigeria when I was there on official assignment. She said, “My spirit told me I will be able to get help from you if I can get close to you, the day you came to eat in our restaurant”. Sometimes, we have people who believe in us more than we believe in ourselves. I was moved by her faith in me and had to help in my own little way.

When the going was really tough while in flying school, I used to wonder why God didn’t send me help despite the number of people I had helped. I had been there for people in their time of need but wondered why there was none to help me. I used to tell my friend, Mrs. Udeme Iboro Otoho that I will never help anybody again in life if I struggle and finish the course without any help. She would say, “Don’t worry, help is coming. Keep trusting God”. God bless you, Mma.

Read more: Passenger kicked off plane for taking pictures of Flight Attendant’s Buttocks’

One night while sleeping, I saw my Pastor and Father in the Lord, Dr. Paul Enenche, Senior Pastor, Dunamis International Gospel Centre, Abuja – Nigeria, I mentioned my challenge to him. He said, “It has been taken care of”. I knew, “Help was indeed on the way”. When I woke up, I went into praise mode. I thanked God for the revelation and for the help that was on the way. God did send help and it came from an unexpected quarters.

While I waited for help to come, I used to listen to Whitney Houston song, Hold On, Help is on the Way and to Bishop T.D. Jakes message, Help is on the Way. The song and the message keep reminding me to hold on a little longer, that help was on the way.

Friends Abandoned Me

When I told a friend about my Pilot vision, he said, “If it is God that gave you the vision, He knows, he is the one He will use to make the vision come to pass”. I thanked him. I was very happy because I knew he was in a good position to help. Unfortunately, he didn’t help in anyway when I needed help.

One invited me to Uyo, Nigeria to facilitate a meeting with the then Commissioner for Finance, Senator Bassey Albert but switched off his phone after informing him that I was in Uyo till I left three (3) days later. I took days off from training for nothing. I wasted my time, my resources and risk my life travelling by road for nothing.

Read more: Overcoming Setbacks and Difficulties

The other collected US $212.12 (N35,000.00) to buy a bottle of wine to go and welcome the then Secretary to Akwa Ibom State Government (SSG), Chief Umana Okon Umana from his holiday. All he did after collecting the money was take me to the gate of Umana’s official residence in Uyo. The Security Officer he left me with said, “Sir, if he wants you to see the SSG, he knows what to do”. God didn’t abandon me but friends did.

Never Put Your Trust in Man

Are you going through difficulties and there are people God has put in your life that could be of help but are not helping? I have learnt not to put my trust in man. Sometimes, God prevent certain people in your life from helping you so that you don’t begin to worship them. God doesn’t want such people to take His glory in your life. Had my friend helped, I would have concluded that without his help, I wouldn’t have finished my pilot training.

Never put your trust in man because he will disappoint you. Put your trust and hope in God, He never fails. He will send you help no matter how bad or hopeless the situation might be. He will make a way for you. He will make the impossible, possible if you believe and trust Him as your Lord and Saviour.

Be There For People

You never know what someone is going through. A few nice words can help a person a lot more than you think.

In my earlier article, This Too, Shall Pass, DSP Odekina M. Danladi, on 24th April, 2013, packed his bag believing that he has come to the end of his flight training in Enugu, Nigeria. While Odekina believed that it was all over, God had a different plan. He sent him help that night. Today, Odekina is a Police Helicopter Pilot and a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) because of the help and mercies of God.

If you are privileged to help people, please do, God will reward you. Les Brown, an American motivational speaker and author, once said, “Help others achieve their dream and you will achieve yours.” If you see people drowning, help even if you cannot swim. Say yes to people before they ask. What you make happen for others, God will make happen for you.

 Conclusion

I might not know what you are going through today: the sorrow, the hardship, unemployment, job loss, the struggles, the pains, sickness, heart break, business failure, disappointment or the loss of a loved one. And though the situation has turned your smiles upside down. Faithful is He that promised and it shall come to pass. Don’t give up. It shall be well. Never ever give up, no matter how hopeless. No matter what you are going through, hang in there, help is coming.

I don’t know how long you have to wait before help comes, before you land that dream job, before that man or woman you so desire in your life comes, before the much needed change in your life happens, before you receive healing for your sickness, before that business deal clicks or before you receive consolation for your loss. No matter how long it will take, don’t give up, don’t despair because if you keep going, soon your storm will be over and the sun will shine over your face again.

I pray: May God give you a rainbow for every storm, a smile for every tears, a relief for every sigh, a blessing for each trial and an answer to every prayer. God bless you. Stay strong, help is on the way!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This Too, Shall Pass

This Too, Shall Pass

By Ofonime Essien

This Too

Photo: Wooden U Recover

Training in International Helicopter Flying School (IHFS), Enugu – Nigeria was very challenging. We were the pioneer students of the school and originally thirty (30) students. Two (2) students didn’t make the course after ground school because they lacked the knowledge required for the course. Another two (2) students were dropped during the flying phase for attitude problem and other issues. The three (3) basic attributes one needs to be a Pilot are: Knowledge, Attitude and Skills.

The students came from different background. Some had never seen an aircraft or ride in one before. Everybody struggled with one thing or another during the course.

Hovering Fever

To fly is human, to hover divine. Learning how to hover is at once incredibly frustrating and magical. Hovering is the most difficult part of helicopter flying. When you get it right, the feeling of being suspended just a few feet off the ground completely motionless is epic. The problem is that when you first start, those moments are fleeting.

Hovering is when the helicopter is flown so that it maintains a constant position over the ground. It is the main capability which differentiates helicopters from airplanes. Hovering exercise was a major challenge to many students. Some hovered after drinking a proverbial “hovering juice” from their Flight Instructor.

Read also: EgyptAir Flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo crashed

Learning how to hover a helicopter may be the ultimate example of how repeated failures can eventually lead to success as long as one persists, overcomes their fears, and does not give up. You have probably heard the saying that failure is part of success. You will fail repeatedly while trying to learn to hover the helicopter. But if you don’t give up, you will succeed. The breakthrough will come quicker for some than others, but most people can learn to hover in about 3-4-5 hours.  It still won’t be pretty but you will be able to keep the helicopter in a particular area with little drifting. We all struggled at one stage of the training or the other.

Running Away From Training

The course was so intense that two (2) students packed their bags and wanted to run away from the training. They couldn’t cope with the stress and demands of the training. And one of them was always crying at the onset of his flight training. His idea of flying was that he will just show up in flying school and after some months walk away with his flying licenses. How wrong he was! He didn’t envisage the stress of learning flight procedures, chair flying or walk flying while preparing for the next flight.

Chair Flying

Chair Flying Photo: Capt. Phillips Enejoh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walk Flying

Walk Flying

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everybody knew about the pilot that wanted to run away and the day he wanted to dash. Nobody knew about the second one except me. I knew about it because God miraculously used me to save his flying career. It is the second person nobody knew wanted to abandon his flight training I am writing about. You will get to meet him in this article.

 I am Dan and You?

Odekina

Odekina M. Danladi receiving a scroll from the former Vice President of Nigeria, Arc. Namadi Sambo during a graduation ceremony

I invite you to meet Mr. Dan. Dan is the code name he was using to operate while in Enugu, Nigeria especially when he met a lady for the first time. He will introduce himself: “I am Dan and you?” The lady hearing Dan will wrongly assume “Daniel” not knowing Dan to him was “Danladi”.

Meet Mr. Odekina M. Dandali, a Helicopter Pilot with the Air Wing Unit of the Nigeria Police Force. He is a smart and intelligent Superior Police Officer. He is a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP). He had served before in Operations arm of the Force before being posted to Air Wing Unit of the Nigeria Police Force. He started his flying career in 2009 when the Nigeria Police Force sent him with nine (9) others to Moscow, Russia for flight training. On arriving in Moscow, they had to learn the Russian language before commencing their flight training. They spent two (2) years without starting the flight training and had to return to Nigeria due to logistics reason.

Read also: My First Helicopter Flight Experience

In August 2012, he was part of the ten (10) students the Nigeria Police Force sent to International Helicopter Flying School (IHFS), Enugu – Nigeria for ten (10) months Integrated Helicopter Pilot training. Odekina was active during the ground school. He showed some level of knowledge during this phase of the training but in the flying phase, he struggled seriously. His flying skills were in doubt.

The Days of Solo

The day of first solo flight is one of the happiest days in the life of a Student Pilot. It is the day a Flight Instructor and Chief Flight Instructor (CFI) certify that the Student Pilot can fly on his / her own without an Instructor in the aircraft. The CFI certifies that the Student Pilot will go and come back safely.

The then Rector, Group Captain Ayo Jolasinmi constantly reminded the students that they were not in competition with one another and that they should be themselves and go at their own pace. Because we were a group of twenty (28) students, a lot of students felt the pressure when they perceived that other students were ahead and they were lagging behind. When the first student, Flight Lieutenant Dania Albert, went solo on the 9th of March, 2013, the pressure became enormous.

Mr. Odekina M. Danladi, on 24th April, 2013, packed his bag believing that he has come to the end of his flight training in Enugu, Nigeria. He had informed his family and loved ones about his decision. He could no longer cope with the training. Despite having several flying hours, his situation remained the same. One day after joining to fly with the then Rector / Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE), who happened to be his last bus stop, he gave him a bible verse in Proverbs to meditate upon. The DPE felt Odekina needed spiritual help too in order to progress in the course.

Read also: The Day I Cried in Flying School

Odekina was very impulsive during this period in his decisions as a Student Pilot. Because of his situation, the school informed his sponsor that he will need extra flying hours to finish the course. The Nigeria Police Force approved 25 extra hours for his training. In spite of this, Odekina couldn’t go solo after accumulating about 35 hours 45 minutes and didn’t see a way out. The real problem was that he puts so much pressure on himself because he felt he should have been the first student pilot to go solo. He felt something was wrong with him. His problem was self-inflicted. Hence, his decision to quit.

His plan was to leave the Student Pilot (SP) quarters as early as 4:00am. He planned to destroy his sim cards so that nobody could reach him. He didn’t see any other way of finishing the course. He felt he has disappointed himself and his family. He felt he has disappointed his sponsor by not finishing the course after his sponsor had invested so much in his training. He packed all his belongings and waited for day to break.

Learning Plateau

That night, Odekina had accepted defeat. He concluded that it was no longer worth the trouble. He had reached a learning plateau. He had reached a point where his progress was slower than normal.

A beginning student reaches a point where additional practice is not only unproductive, but may be harmful. When this point is reached, errors increase and motivation declines.  Learning plateaus are a common source of frustration, discouragement and decreased student motivation.

 God’s Help / Intervention

While Odekina believed it was all over, God had a different plan. He sent him help that night. At about 10:30pm, I felt the urge to go talk to Odekina about his situation and to encourage him but felt it was a bit late. I decided to see him the following day. I felt the urge again after some time. I listened to my spirit a lot. I got up, went and visited Mr. Odekina M. Danladi that night. I spoke with him and encouraged him. I asked him to keep fighting and not leave Enugu, Nigeria without the licenses he came for. I had no idea that he had planned to leave. I had no idea the impact my visit had on him that night until one year, six months later.

Read also: How I Became a Helicopter Pilot

The following day, I showed and gave him a copy of a picture I downloaded online before going to Enugu. One line from the picture, “This too, shall pass”, made so much impact on him. He began to see things differently and maintained a positive attitude. He wrote those words on his doors, room, bedside, wardrobe, standing mirror, on the wall of his reading table, on his toilet wall and most importantly, he wrote it on the wall of his heart. He kept saying the phrase all the time. He kept saying those words to the point other students started saying the phrase too whenever they see him. The phrase caught on. A week later, 3rd May, 2013, Odekina went solo.

This is the picture I showed him:

tell-yourself

 Thanks for Coming

On 7th September, 2014, I arrived Enugu, Nigeria for our graduation ceremony on the 19th September, 2014. The school had asked us to report for pre-graduation activities. I arrived in the evening and had to wait for the guy that had the key to my apartment. I went round to see my colleagues who were on ground. Odekina was on ground, so I ended up spending more time with him till the guy with my apartment key showed up. Odekina escorted me to my apartment. After staying for a while, he started talking. He started, “Emmmm Emmmm”. He said, “Oga Essien, do you remember the night you came to my room?” I told him no because I had gone to his apartment on many occasions in the night. He asked, “Do you remember this particular night you came to talk to me concerning my flight challenges?” I said, “Yes”. He said, “You were God sent”.

Read also: Overcoming Setbacks and Difficulties

He added, “I had packed all my belongings that night and was waiting to leave the Air Force Base as early as 4:00 am the following morning. I planned to throw away my sim cards so that nobody can reach me. I planned to drop the books and the laptop I was issued so that nobody will look for me because of those. I had informed my family about the decision. They were expecting me but when they didn’t see me, they called to check on me. I told them I had a change of plan. I am a Pilot today because of you. Thanks for coming”.

The Lord’s Doing

I told him it was the Lord’s doing but He had to pass through me to tell him to persevere, to hang on in order to achieve his dream of becoming a Helicopter Pilot. I had to remind him about what His words say in Psalm 30:5, “Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning”.

I am happy that I went to see Odekina that night and am also happy that God used me to save a colleague’s career. Be there for people. Lend a helping hand whenever you can. Say yes to people before they ask. If you see people drowning, help even if you can’t swim.

Conclusion

One of the hardest decisions you will ever face in life is choosing whether to walk away or try harder. When you feel like quitting, think about why you started. When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on. Your problem is not really the problem but your attitude towards the problem that is the problem.

Odekina’s problems didn’t just melt away but his attitude towards his problems changed. He saw things differently. He consulted and asked for advice when the need arises. Today, he is a Police Helicopter Pilot.

Odekina’s dreams of becoming a Helicopter Pilot and a Superior Police Officer has come true. Today, the sun is shining. The sky is blue. The dreams have come true. No matter what you are going through, hold on just a little longer because, if you give up now, you will never know what could have been. This Too, Shall Pass!

 

 

 

 

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The Kung Fu Cabin Crew

The Kung Fu Cabin Crew

By Ofonime Essien

  • Flight attendants perform martial arts on a 6,560ft mountain ledge as part of their aviation school ‘bravery training’
  • The young women followed the instructions of a Taoist kung fu master
  • ‘Bravery training’ was organised on the peaks of China’s Laojun Mountain
  • Feat was part of a promotion for their company and for the local landscape 
Three Young Women

Three young women followed the instructions of a Taoist kung fu master as they sought to toughen up

Stunning and bizarre photos from China have revealed the latest training and promotional techniques of aviation schools as a group of flight attendants performed martial arts on a mountain top.

Dressed in formal blue uniforms and only missing their high heels, the young women followed the instructions of a Taoist kung fu master as they sought to toughen their resolve.

Read also: Royal Brunei Airlines Makes History with All Female Crews

The ‘bravery training’ was organised more than 6,560 feet above sea level, on the peaks of China’s famous Laojun Mountain, located in the city of Luoyang, in central Henan Province.

Bravery training

‘Bravery training’ was organised more than 6,560ft above sea level, on the peaks of China’s Laojun Mountain

The cabin crew members were guided by a Taoist priest, dressed in black, who demonstrated poses and techniques of martial arts.

The three models and flight attendants tiptoed their way across the mountaintop for the stunning photoshoot.

Read also: Risky Places to Use Free Wi-Fi Hotspots

And the barefooted hostesses seemed to enjoy the feat on the mountaintop, which was part of a promotion for the aviation school and for the local landscape.

 

Local scenery

The pictures are actually being used to promote the local scenery, surrounded by soaring clouds and greenery

Barefooted

The barefooted hostesses seemed to enjoy the feat on the mountaintop, which was part of a promotion for their company and for the local landscape

The pictures are actually being used to promote the local scenery, surrounded by soaring clouds and greenery, and will also encourage would-be stewardesses during the pursuit of their dream job in the air.

The famous Laojun Mountain range forms part of a region that is known as the Three Parallel Rivers – a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2003.

Read also: How to Prevent Your Ears from Popping During Flights

It is a biodiversity hotspot and one of the few remaining places where the endangered Yunnan snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus bieti) can still be found.

Cabin Crew

Cabin crew members were guided by a Taoist priest, dressed in black, who demonstrated poses and techniques of martial arts

(Daily Mail)

 

 

 

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Switchblade flying car development advances

Switchblade flying car development advances

By Ofonime Essien

Switchblade Flying Car

Sam Bousfield, CEO of Samson Motors and designer of the Switchblade flying sports car, recently unveiled the latest advances in the company’s multi-year program to establish a viable flying car.

“The idea of landing at an airport, pushing a button to stow wings and tail, and drive to your destination not only brings us new-found freedoms, but by protecting the flying surfaces on the ground, you gain a much more viable mode of transportation,” said Bousfield.

Read also: How I Became a Helicopter Pilot

The company recently tested the wing swing mechanism for the Switchblade at its facility in Central Oregon.

“It performed exactly as designed, with correct angles and wing locations at each end of the swing,” he said.

The mechanism is composed of two hinged beams, connected to a wing on one end, and the vehicle body on the other. Two sets of beams are used – one for each wing. The two wings are to be pushed out or pulled in by an electric motor underneath the vehicle.

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For driving, the wings are stowed in the belly of the vehicle behind protective clam shell doors.

“The unique design of this system allows both wings and beams to swing and fold tightly together for storage, but when extended, the hinged beams take on the exact position and shape needed to give strength for wing support,” Bousfield explained.

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Typically, flying car designs have had the tail or wing — or both — exposed during ground use, or worst yet, left at the airport.

“I think the main reason this idea hasn’t taken hold has been that it just isn’t comfortable for people to have their life depend on a wing or tail that is left in a parking lot while they eat dinner or lunch,” posed Bousfield. “Who knows what could have happened to it by the time you return.”

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The Switchblade features a ducted fan (similar to a jet engine) for propulsion.

Read also: Pilot’s Most Prized Asset: Logbook

“We designed the Switchblade from the viewpoint of what type of configuration would provide high performance on the ground, as well as high performance in the air,” he said.

Bousfield claims to have achieved better acceleration than a V8 powered Jaguar, and to have outperformed every vehicle in the Road & Track standard slalom test (in their wheel base).

“We are longer than a mid-sized car, and the front and rear wheels are far apart to allow the wing to be stowed between them. We also have three wheels, rather than four,” he said. “That being said, we still outperformed everything in our wheelbase that has ever been tested by Road & Track. And I’m not a professional race car driver.”

Bousfield, an inventor and architect, and his team have been developing his flying car concept for nearly eight years with the help of engineering firm DAR Corp of Lawrence, Kansas, Composite Approach in Bend, Oregon, and the Kirsten wind tunnel at the University of Washington, Seattle.

Read also: How to Survive a Plane Crash: 10 Tips That Could Save Your Life

The last two years were spent in Central Oregon where there is a significant amount of composite aircraft production already ongoing. The flying car uses carbon fiber, which is stronger than steel, yet weighs less than aluminum for a given part. One 10-foot wing of the Switchblade weighs less than 54 pounds before being attached to the wing swing mechanism, and even after the wing swing is included, the total weight is still less than traditional sheet metal aircraft construction, he noted.

“This is one key reason we feel we will succeed, as the current materials technologies have allowed us to make structural parts much lighter than before, so that there is now additional weight available for the systems required in driving mode,” he said. “We feel that a new era in transportation is just opening up. It is not just a change, it is a true evolution.”

Source: General Aviation News

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AIB Gather Stakeholders to Amend Accident Investigation Regulations

AIB Gathers Stakeholders to Amend Accident Investigation Regulations

By Ofonime Essien

AIB Logo

The Nigerian Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) on Tuesday gather stakeholders on proposed amendment to Accident Investigation Regulations.

The Commissioner of Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) Dr. Felix Abali called for restraint from the public on issues bordering on aircraft accident or incident in the aviation industry.

He said accident investigations are not based on sentiments or emotions but in line with regulations prescribed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

Read also: Crashed Bristow S-76 Recorder in DC for Review

Speaking Tuesday at the stakeholders’ workshop on draft amendment to AIB regulations in Lagos, Abali declared that the International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO, Annex 13, has specifically prescribed the sole objective of the investigation of an accident or incident. Such role he said is to prevent recurrent of accidents and incidents.

He explained that the purpose of such activity is not to apportion blame or liability, even as he said reports of aircraft accidents however run against the expectation of members of the public.

He however said this is understandable due to the emotionally – laden atmosphere that usually accompanies air mishaps anywhere in the world.

Read also: Crash of the Century

He added: “It is also not unusual to find many people eager to know the cause of aircraft accidents, even in a matter of days. So are we but accident investigation process is more complex that many often imagine. We must be painstaking and thorough so as to arrive at a conclusion that is not only fair and transparent but can also be scientifically proven.

“Besides the accident site investigation that is usually open to the public, accident investigation entails gathering information from diverse sources including documentations such as maintenance and personnel records, regulatory authority records, flight planning documents and operators manuals.

“Other sources are recordings such as flight recorders, interviews, direct observations of actions performed by operating or maintenance personnel in their work environment, simulations, specialist advice, safety databases and so on.

“There are also statutory processes to be engaged before reports are released to the public. All these take time. It is therefore important to appeal to the public and concerned citizens to please show some understanding and patience during air mishaps.

“It may also be apt to enjoin some people who always try to preempt accident investigations to apply the brake and allow AIB to do its job.”

Abali said the ongoing amendment of the current regulations would make the document to be more robust, transparent and all inclusive.

He insisted that review is the livewire of any organisation that is serious about growth and progress, stressing that the agency’s experience in Nigeria and in the globe had made it imperative for the current regulations, which came on board on November 11, 2006 to be reviewed.

He explained that Nigeria as a country cannot not operate in isolation of others, stressing that it was necessary for it to align itself with happenings in the global aviation industry.

Read also: How to Survive a Plane Crash: 10 Tips That Could Save Your Life

Abali said regulation is an important tool for carrying out the functions of accident investigation as it sets out the framework for the day-to-day operations of the bureau and added that the bureau’s enabling law, which also domesticated International Civil Aviation Organisation’s, ICAO, Annex 13, formed the bedrock of the regulations.

He hinted that one of the major mandates and responsibilities of AIB is to make safety recommendations in case of an incident or accident, but declared that it was not in its purview to enforce compliance, rather, the responsibility of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA.

He added: “We only monitor implementations of our recommendations. Accident investigation process is more complex than many people imagine. So, we must be thorough in our findings and recommendations. There are statutory processes to be engaged before the recommendations are released to the public.”

Also speaking at the occasion, the Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika has reiterated that the Federal Government would continue to take the issue of safety and security of all airport users as critical.

He also expressed that the amendment process had been duly followed as stipulated in the subsisting Regulation, 2006 with the participation of the observer to the bureau’s regulation committee reporting back to the Federal Ministry of Aviation on the amendments.

Sirika who was represented at the occasion by the Special Adviser, Technical, Capt. Nuhu Musa believed that all relevant amendments by the agency were in conformity with the ICAO Annex 13 on Accident Investigation, which had been included in the first regulations.

Also, Mrs. Maureen Tsenongo of AIB, in her presentation declared that the essence of the amendment was for the industry to move forward and improve incident or accident investigation. Noting that before the review, technical personnel in AIB took a careful look at the current regulation.

 

 

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IATA says Bangkok Airport a Safety Risk

Category : General

IATA says Bangkok Airport a Safety Risk

By Ofonime Essien

[supsystic-gallery id=57 position=center]

Chinese tourists receive souvenirs from airport officers as part of the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thailand, February 5, 2016.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned that Bangkok’s main Suvarnabhumi Airport is a safety risk, with “serious” overcrowding soon to become a critical issue, and urgent expansion needed, the Nation daily reported on Friday.

Thailand is under pressure to improve its aviation standards after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration downgraded the country’s safety ratings in December last year.

Read also: The Airport of the Future

“There are also safety concerns on the airport’s tarmac, taxiways and apron area because of soft spots,” IATA director-general and chief executive officer Tony Tyler said.

“Aircraft get stuck in the soft surface due to substandard materials,” he told the newspaper in an interview in Bangkok, after returning from the Singapore Airshow.

Thailand’s aviation industry is under scrutiny after the U.N.’s International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) downgraded the country in June 2015, giving it a red flag for missing a deadline to tackle safety concerns.

Read also: Nigerian Begins Africa’s First Solo Flight Round the World

This week, the Thai civil aviation authority said a review by ICAO was likely to be delayed until early 2017 because it needed more time to improve the qualification of Thai auditors.

Tyler said the airport, which handles 52 million passengers each year, had a significant regional and global role but needed urgent expansion of its terminal capacity, the Nation said.

“It was designed to handle 45 million passengers annually, but it exceeds that today and traffic is still growing at an annual 10 percent rate,” he said.

“Overcrowding is a serious issue that will become critical quickly,” Tyler said.

Read also: Ways to Overcome the Fear of Flying

The IATA represents almost 260 airlines, accounting for 83 percent of global air traffic.

Thai airport operator Airports of Thailand said it was aware of the problems flagged by IATA and has readied several measures to improve runways using concrete and expand capacity, which are awaiting government approval.

“We have prepared short- to medium- and long-term plans to solve the problems,” Sirote Duangratana, general manager of Suvarnabhumi Airport, told Reuters.

Source: Reuters

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As Indians Line Up To Fly, Airports Are In Distress, But Pilots Are King

As Indians Line Up To Fly, Airports Are In Distress, But Pilots Are King

By Ofonime Essien

An Air India Plane Pilots

An Air India plane is seen in the background of slums adjoining the international airport in Mumbai. (AP file photo)

Lightson Ngashangva still remembers the long train journeys followed by interminable bus rides each summer when he went from Delhi to his village in Manipur.

Now, when the 26-year-old biotechnology student visits his home in Manipur, his nearly three-day long journey by train and bus has been reduced to a four-hour flight.

Read also: Cimber cancels flights due to Pilot shortage

A fast-growing economy and an expanding middle class have made India the world’s fastest growing air travel market. The number of passengers grew 20 percent last year and airlines are announcing flights to new destinations almost every week.

And yet, Indian airlines are in distress. Experts say the explosion in air travel of the past decade has happened despite major hurdles in the form of high jet fuel prices, lack of aircraft maintenance infrastructure, choked airports working beyond their capacities and fierce fare wars that have many carriers in the red.

Although the problems appear huge, the size and potential of the Indian market continues to draw new players and several foreign airlines have also entered the market. Out of a 1.2 billion population, only about 70 million Indians fly on domestic routes in a year, just a quarter of the size of air travel in China which has a similar population.

Air travel in India is “showing double digit growth and will continue to grow at double digits for the next 10 to 15 years,” said Kapil Kaul, regional head of the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation.

Read also: Nigerian Begins Africa’s First Solo Flight Round the World

Indigo, India’s biggest and most profitable airline, ordered 250 new A320neo aircraft from Airbus in August in a whopping $26.6 billion deal. At the Dubai Airshow in November, US plane maker Boeing announced that Jet Airways had agreed to an $8 billion deal to buy 75 Boeing 737 aircraft.

“More and more airlines have started flights to my home town. Also, the competition between airlines means tickets are getting cheaper,” said Ngashangva.

People Watch aircraft

People watch aircraft from the multi-storied parking lot of the Indira Gandhi International Airport. (AP file photo)

Aviation experts say that in the past, socialist-leaning politicians viewed travelling by plane as a luxury and not as an enabler of business and economic growth. The luxury tag ensured punitive taxes on jet fuel, making it nearly 60 percent more expensive than in Singapore or Dubai, both home to busy international airports.

Despite such hurdles, India is forecast to become the third largest aviation market by 2020.

In an attempt to minimize the industry’s growing pains, the government in October announced a draft aviation policy. It proposes the development of no-frills airports at more than 400 airstrips across the country. Some of the airstrips date back to British colonial days and have fallen into disuse and disrepair. The government announced it would spend up to 500 million rupees ($7.6 million) on each site to make it usable as an airport.

Some problems remain, however. Aviation experts say the policy remains unclear on an existing condition imposed on airlines in India known as the “5/20 rule” where the government does not allow new airlines to fly internationally until they have completed five years of operation and have at least 20 aircraft.

Read also: How I Became a Helicopter Pilot

As airlines expand their operations, linking more second tier cities, another major problem facing them is the severe shortage of experienced pilots and technicians. As newer airlines entered the business, the hiring standards for pilots, including their hours of flying experience before taking command of an aircraft, were weakened.

High demand for pilots with adequate flying hours has led to corrupt practices. A few years ago, civil aviation authorities detected fake pilot licenses, an unlicensed ‘flying school’ supplying certificates and touts who helped unqualified candidates obtain licenses for a price.

A government crackdown on those issuing fake certificates and tighter scrutiny of airlines’ hiring practices has curbed the problem.

But the shortage of pilots persists. Last week, more than 250 passengers of a Jet Airways flight to Toronto were stranded for about nine hours as no pilot was available after a technical fault held up the flight.

Source: NDTV

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Pregnant Woman Dies On Board Arik Flight

Category : General

Pregnant Woman Dies On Board Arik Flight

By Ofonime Essien

Arik Air

A 39-year​-​old pregnant woman was on Friday confirmed dead on board an Arik Air flight from Port Harcourt to Lagos.

The deceased, identified as Ijeoma Nwokedi, was confirmed dead on arrival by the medical personnel at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Domestic Terminal One, Lagos.

Read also: The Airport of the Future

A reliable source told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), that Mrs. Nwokedi was travelling with her husband and a cousin.

The source said the deceased had developed complications mid-air and was attended to by some medical personnel on board the flight.

Arik Air, in a statement by its spokesperson, Ola Adebanji, confirmed the incident.

Read also: Man dies aboard Arik Air’s Owerri – Lagos flight

“A female passenger on board Arik Air’s Port Harcourt-Lagos flight was confirmed dead by medical personnel on arrival this morning at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Domestic Terminal One, Lagos.

“The lady boarded the flight from Port Harcourt in company of her husband and cousin. The cause of death is yet to be ascertained,” the statement said.

Read also: Nigerian Begins Africa’s First Solo Flight Round the World

NAN recalls that another unidentified female passenger died on Thursday in one of the toilets of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport.

Source: NAN

 

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