US Checked

The weather is getting better and better, and I've been flying all over the place, day and night. I'm done with my night rating, so I can do much of my flying at night. The thing about flying at night is that, where there are some advantages, like calm weather and negligible traffic, there are also some big risks, like the darkness for example, and if the engine quits mid-flight, with near zero visibility, it's going to be next to impossible to land safely in a field or on a road.

I also got the US check ride done, and I can now officially fly to USA. The check ride was to Seattle Boeing Field, a satellite airport near Seattle International. The flight from Boundary Bay (my base) to Boeing Field was 1 hour each side and we stopped over for an hour and a half, much of which was taken for customs and immigration. The cool thing about going there in a small plane is that we park the plane outside the customs building, and they come out to us! All in all, in about another week, the night rating should be complete, and I can start my night cross country trips to US. Well, cross country trips is not literally cross country, it implies a trip of greater than 200 kilometers. I also got checked out on a Cessna-172. It's a 4 seater. So I am now legal to fly this aircraft, and can take passengers. Of course, they have to be willing to take the risk. And I started my cross country flights. The first was to Campbell River, a little town on Vancouver Island. It's about 200Km away, the flight itself was an hour and 15 minutes one way. It was a good flight, the weather was good, and on the return trip, I flew over downtown Vancouver, all lit up at night.

When I did my Private Pilot License (PPL), I didn't really bother to set myself any time line. I took it easy, and learnt how I could at the time. This time around, it's going to be a different story. I'm setting a long term goal, and a short term goal. The long term goal is to complete the CPL and Multi-Engine + IFR and be home in India by mid November. The short term for the coming days is to fly 10 hours every week for the next 5 weeks, while studying for the Commercial Pilot License (CPL) written examination. At the end of 5 weeks, I should be prepared to do the written exam. This exam is probably the most difficult of all the written exams. At the end of 5 weeks, I'll be able to set a new short term goal.

A month ago, I went to the Vancouver Auto Show with a bunch of friends. The show was not all that exciting, at the end I concluded it was more of a sales and marketing event. There were no concept cars or pretty models or anything of the sort. There were some very flashy high-end vehicles. The ones that stuck in my mind were a chrome plated Ford Mustang, the miniature car track laid out inside and through the windows of a Suzuki van, and a ride inside a full motion roller coaster simulator. The pictures and videos are here.

On the camera front, well, I managed to find the place and leave the camera with them. And they said it'll be 2 weeks before the camera will be ready. The way the receptionist said that, I figured it's going to take much longer. But she did call me in 2 weeks. And I have my camera back. It's working!!! Yippy!!

I've been busy cooking as well. On the top of the list are: vegetable biryani, tomato chutney, palak paneer and paneer tikka. Each of these dishes I made for the first time, and they all turned out well. At least everything was edible. The paneer tikka was a special, made on very short notice, prepared and served in 2 hours flat. The palak paneer is probably the best thing I’ve ever made. It was for mom, on Mothers Day. Of course, I’ll have to make it again for her when I get back home.