The road to my wings
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|Message||(Friday 2035) It's been over three weeks since my last update, so I guess it's about time. |
Alot has happened since last time. Among other things, information about future plans.
This week was our second week at work. Work started off with in-processing at the base. It's a pain in the butt, whether it's in-processing in Canada, USA or Denmark but it has to be done. We got flight equipment for the T17 and got assigned to the RDAF Flying School until we have to start our conversion to the helicopter which we'll be flying. We didn't get any concrete date as to when we can expect to start, but it'll probably be a year or so until they're ready for "the new pilots" in the squadron. In the meantime we won't exactly be wasting time. After only two weeks at Karup AB, it's time to move on. On Monday I'll be heading to Skrydstrup AB on a mission-planning course, which should take six weeks and then I'll be heading to Sigonella NAS in Sicily for a couple of months in connection with the conflict in Libya. I had never expected to be deployed right after I get home from the States but that seems to be the case now. I really look forward to get going and see how things are done in "the real world." I'm really excited about the whole thing to be honest! Finally I get my chance to be part of action team.
Last week we got a flight in the Fennec helicopter. I was surprised as to how well it flies. I almost dare to say that it flies much better than the bigger and more powerful Blackhawk. The Fennec is like a little sports car. It's very agile and actually has alot of power compared to other helicopters of its size. I really look forward to flying it when the time comes.
Anyway, when we get back from Sicily we'll be heading back to Flying School and get converted to the T17 and will help out with the tasks over there. At the same time we'll probably be given a desk job at the Tactical Air Command, which is also something really interesting. It'll be good to do some leadership work and fly at the same time. And before you know it, it'll be time for the Fennec conversion! Life is gonna be good...
|Message||(Sunday 1255) I've been in the country for almost three weeks now and things are finally starting to settle down. I moved to my new house, which is actually an Army house from the 1950's. It even looks like an Army base on the inside but it's only temporary. The town of Holstebro is surprisingly nice and the people seem nice too. I had considered buying some property here eventually but the prices are rediculous. They don't seem to have heard of the economy crisis here.|
When I was driving on the way here I got stuck behind a slow moving truck on a one lane highway. There were four or five small cars of the same category as my own and it suddenly clicked for me why no-one was overtaking. Nobody dared to. They simply don't have the horsepower and I wasn't willing to push my engine since it's still brand new and all. Tomorrow I have a friend visiting from the USA and Tuesday we'll be heading to Copenhagen for a couple of days. The (lousy) weather should improve too and it's actually supposed to get warm. I'd been freexing my butt off since I got here. The house I'm in is also really cold so that doesn't help. I can only imagine what it's gonna be like in the winter...
|Message||(Tuesday 1200) I've been here for almost a week now and time is flying by. I've met some of my old friends, did a bunch of practical stuff, but most of all I enjoyed being with my little boy. He changed quite alot in the half year that we didn't see eachother. |
Today I bought a new car. It cost me the same as the Mustang GT did back when I bought that in 2008. This one isn't quite a V8 though. It's a 2011 Suzuki Alto. Go ahead and google it and have yourself a nice cup of laughter. It's not a pretty car but it'll be a good, reliable and cheap car to have in the long run. I'll have it by Friday and then as soon as that's in place I'll be moving west to Holstebro in Jutland, which is close to Karup AB, where I'll be working in the future. It's about a four hour drive from here if I remember correctly.
Now it's time to make some lunch and then I'll be heading off to pick up my little bandit from daycare.
|Message||(Sunday 1815) The end is ever so near. My house is now practically empty. Tomorrow it'll get inspected and I'll move out. I doubt if I'll ever have such a big home. Today was a bit of a strange day. I guess it finally clicked that I'm leaving. Three years away from home and now it's over. What an adventure it has been! Everything got clear today and all the emotions, which, I'm normally very "good" at putting aside got to me and I shed a few tears. All the awesome friends that I've made in the past few years, all the good times, the hard times and experiences I've had with COM, LOD and GAR down here. All the stuff I've been through on a presonal level, family changes, my boy whom I haven't seen for almost half a year now. It's so unreal that I'll be going home soon. He's been counting the days down for a long time now and the day's finally here! First thing we're gonna do is buy a football and play some football together. It's going to be great!|
I might continue to blog for a little while. In a way it's therapy, I guess. Apart from keeping my family and friends updated I've also realised that I have a much easier time writing stuff than saying it.
|Message||(Friday 2145) We had our graduation today. It was actually a great feeling to recieve my second set of wings, a great sense of accomplishment. It's so surreal that we're finally done and going home. We finally flew our checkride last Tuesday. All went well for all of us so it was a nice way to finish off. Last weekend I was at Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral - yes, that's where all the Shuttle launches take place. It was a good reminder of why America is the greatest nation in the world. Awesome stuff! It was great to get a close look at the Space shuttle. A real shame that there is only one flight left for the shuttle Atlantis before it is decommisioned like the others in the fleet. Best of all, however, was seeing the Saturn V rocket, which as you know was the real secret behind the "huge leap for mankind" with the moon landing mission of Apollo 11. It had always been a dream of mine to see a Saturn V rocket and now I saw it - and it fulfilled all my expectations. That thing is gigantic. It's 363 feet long but most impressive was its diameter. Talking about numbers, one should not forget to mention the amount of thrust that the rocket produced: 7 million pounds of thrust! Unbelievable stuff! |
In the evening we ate at Medieval Times which is a restaurant with a show. If you've seen the movie "The Cable Guy" with Jim Carey, then you know what I'm talking about. It was pricey but a great experience none the less. Tomorrow I'll pack the last of my stuff and then Sunday I'll chill for one last time before I leave my home on Monday. I'll be heading to Georgia where I'll spend the night and then Tuesday I fly back home to Denmark...and Wednesday my little boy will greet me at the airport. It's gonna be awesome!!
|Message||(Friday 1210) Yesterday we were supposed to have our final checkride on the Blackhawk but we got cancelled due to weather. The weather has been rather extreme around here in the past few weeks, as you've probably heard on the news. Alot of people have lost their lives and many are homeless or out of business. It doesn't make things any better that the economy is so bad everywhere in the first place. It's nice to see how people get together and help eachother in times like these. Americans are really awesome at that. Even busineses that normally compete against eachother get together and look out for eachother at times like this. I guess humanity isn't completely hopeless. Talking about weather, yesterday just before the storm moved in I heard this rumbling which sounded like continuous thunder. The sky had been rather dark for about half an hour so my first thought was that it was a tornado. I couldn't hear the sirens but I started planning my escape route to shelter right away. I opened the blinds to see if I could spot the tornado, only to see a bulldozer behind my house doing some work on a building site and shaking the ground around it. What a relief that was!|
I have just 12 days left here in the US and I'm really going to miss it like crazy. I've made so many friends here and I really like it here. Having said that, I can't wait to get back to my boy whom I haven't seen since Christmas holidays. I really don't know how I survived. I also really look forward to just getting settled down and actually having a job. It's been many years since I had a job. You get tired of being a student.
Night flying has been good and lots of fun actually. The goggles are really great and we've become great friends. They really change night into day. What's most impressive about them though is looking at the night sky. As you probably know, the goggles amplify the light by up to 3000 times. So when you look up at the sky you see stars that you would normally have no chance of seeing with the naked eye. Just think about all those stars which are up to 3000 times dimmer than the ones you can normally see, suddenly just become visible. The same goes for shooting stars. You see them constantly! It's really amazing.
This weekend is Memorial day weekend which means that we have Friday and Monday off. Had we flown our checkride yesterday we would have also had next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday off. So I had planned a trip to Washington DC but had to cancel since we didn't get to fly and we have to fly Tuesday. So tomorrow I'll be heading to Florida. I plan on seeing the Kennedy space center in Orlando and maybe a visit to St. George island. At least none of the time goes wasted.
My house is looking empty and dull and there are boxe everywhere too. I'm packing like crazy and I'm trying not to waste any of the precious time left. I've put my van for sale and I sold the pool table yesterday. That's that for now. I'll try to update again before I leave the US.
|Message||(Sunday 2230) Tomorrow afternoon we have our last written exam. Last week we had one about the NVG's and tomorrow it's about the HUD (head up display) which we'll be using for the remainder fo the course. The HUD isn't the standard one as most people know it (mounted on top of the dashboard). This one is a moncular that you mount on the NVG's so therefore it's more like a helmet mounted display really. Night flying is turning out to be lots of fun. Last Thursday I was coming in to land on this small field in the middle of a forest (everywhere here is a forest really...) and decided to take a look underneath the goggles. It was pit black and it was actually a bit creepy to realise how dark it was out there. You couldn't tell between trees, grass or sky. It was all just black. Those goggles really turn night into day. The amount of details you can see with them is pretty awesome.|
Today I went to the baseball stadium in Atlanta and watched the Braves beat the Phillies. It was a nice experience. A true piece of American culture. It was called the "civil rights game" where they celebrated some pieces of African-American history and some awards were given out. Among others, Carlos Santana and Morgan Freeman received an award. So it was almost like being in Hollywood I guess.
It's time to head to bed soon. This night schedule has really screwed me up and I still feel that I'm adjusting.
|Message||(Thursday 1145) Yesterday we flew with NVG's (night vision goggles) for the first time. It was actually pretty neat! The amount of technology in those goggles is mind bobbling but they really do change night into almost day. The amount of details that you can see is pretty spectacular. Like everything else, they too have their shortcomings and one of them is obviously the reduced field of view. You lose most of your peripherals and it's very important to keep your head on a swivel and scan all around you all the time. I almost can't wait to go out and do it again tonight. |
COM and myself are no longer going to be stick-buddies. Unfortunately he got some bad news from home which means that the school will try to fly him as much as possible in the next days in order to get him done as quickly as possible so that he can fly back to Denmark and deal with the situation. So now I've been paired up with my Norwegian neighbour who is an experienced F16 driver. He's a really nice guy but I'll sure miss flying with COM. We had become a good team and made it as fun as it could possibly be at the same time.
Our instructor has season tickets for the Atlanta Braves baseball team and he cannot go for the game this Sunday (what a shame!) so he gave us the tickets instead. It's a long four hour drive to Atlanta but it'll be well worth it. Now I think I'll get some lunch and get into the books.
|Message||(Friday 0045) Yes, I guess I'm up late but it's a good thing. I have to get used to being up at night as we've started the night flying course on the Blackhawk, which will also be the last course before we graduate. Yesterday we started off with a briefing with our new section leader and an open book exam in the aircraft manual. Open book may sound very easy but the aircraft manual is huge. So the test was about finding the information you were asked and writing the the right answer and reference. Anyway I was pretty systematic and got done after about 1½ hour error free so I got to go home early (around 2100). Today we had our first sim in night flying. Our IP didn't hold back and gave us a shitload of emergencies. It was a fun session and a good learning experience.|
Tuesday we had our instrument test and we both did really well so it was nice to finish off instruments with a good grade. Tomorrow we'll be having our first night flight in the Blackhawk. It's going to be unaided, meaning that we won't be using night vision goggles or HUD.
Night flying reminded me of an episode I had in Canada on one of my first night flights. We took off just around sunset when the sun was still bright and low on the horison. After we'd finished our manoeuvrs I had a hard time finding my way back to base on ground references. It was a dark night indeed! After we landed and I went to take my helmet off I realized that I still had my dark visor down. No wonder it was so dark!
|Message||(Sunday 1735) And the end is drawing ever so close. Another four or five weeks and we'll be outta here. |
As you probably heard we had a terrible storm here this week. A very nasty cold front passed through the area and created several hundreds of tornadoes which left alot of destruction in their path. Unfortunately they also left many dead, injured and homeless. The death toll in Alabama alone was over 200. Fortunately for us in lower Alabama the front passed with much less voilence compared to what it did up North. The tornado warning alarm went off at about 0100 here and woke me up so I watched the storm overhead and stayed awake until 0300 or so until I was sure that it was safe to go back to bed. All we had here was a flashing sky and some heavy rain showers and nasty wind gusts, but nothing serious.
As you know, when things start going wrong they seem to keep going wrong. The next day we had an Apache helicopter hit cable while flying over a river. The cable hit the instructor pilot and killed him instantly and the student later landed the helicopter without further incident. Both of them were from the Netherlands and there's a good chance that I know the student as I know quite a few of the Ducth students. My thoughts are with both of them and their families. It's always a nasty piece of news to swallow.
Yesterday, COM, four American friends and myself chartered a big fishing boat and went deep-sea fishing in the Mexican gulf. It was rather pricey but we had a blast of a time. We caught quite alot of fish (48lb in total). The sea was very choppy but fortunately only one of us got sick. We has a couple of close encounters with dolphins and a huge sea turtle which swam right by our boat. All in all a good relaxing trip with plenty of beer and great company.
After giving it alot of thought I have decided to close down my website. I will keep this blog going on for a while but the website will be closed. I no longer see a point with it and it's not worth the security risk, especially for my little boy. So if yo want to keep reading this terrible blog, press CTRL-D now so that you go directly to it next time. It's the end of an era for myself but as you know, everything comes to an end. That's it for now!