Lead a vivid life that does good

Category: Flying (Page 1 of 2)

Why choosing our state of mind is so important.

AirNZ ATRMaybe it was the relentless dull drone of the engines, or the claustrophobic feel of the cabin. Maybe it was the absence of company or even just that my book was not riveting. Whatever it was my one hour flight to escape Palmerston North seemed to take forever. It was so painful. So boring.

After landing I disembarked the plane so quickly you would think I had been ejected. Then I begin a slow relaxing fight with the Auckland rush hour traffic back to Hamilton.

Did you catch that?

My drive home, that was in rush hour traffic, that took twice as long as normal, and even took twice as long as the flight from Palmerston, was relaxing, all because my state of mind was different. Which is bizarre because on any other day it would have been annoying.

Isn’t it scary how my ‘state of mind’ has more effect on my enjoyment of something, than the activity itself.

And my state of mind is formed by my self-talk, or what I tell myself in my brain. If I tell myself I am dreading a one hour flight, I will hate it.

Today I turn 43, and whether I feel old or young will depend on my self talk. Will depend on my state of mind.

It doesn’t matter if its age, or kids, or family, or friendship, or sickness, or sport, or work. You get to choose your self-talk. You get to choose your state of mind.

Will you choose to have a positive a state of mind today?

Go ahead. It can be your birthday gift to me.

And you prepare for the worst. And hope for the best.

Airbus A380new
Far above the ocean, an engine bigger than a large car suddenly disintegrates blasting shrapnel and metal in all directions. The shrapnel punches holes in the world’s largest passenger jet's wing, damages flaps, causes fuel to spew from the plane and degrades 2 of the remaining 3 engines.

In quick succession an unprecedented 54 alarms appear in the cockpit of the Qantas A380 on route from Singapore to Sydney.

In an interview on 60 minutes Captain Richard Champion de Crespigny describes the situation and some of his key decisions. Part way through the interview he states, "I thought lets protect this aircraft at the most basic level possible. And that was to position it within gliding range of Singapore. And that’s what we did."

"That’s a big call, gliding an A380", states the interviewer.

I love the captain’s reply. It is simple, striking and relevant to many situations.

"And you prepare for the worst. And hope for the best."

“Prepare for the worst” means I’m not ignoring the gravity of the event I am in. I’m not hoping its something smaller than it is. Preparing for the worst means I am recognizing it for what it is. Preparing for the worst means I am doing everything I can to position myself in a place where I have the best possible chance of recovering.

Prepare means more than just hope. It means action.

“Hope for the best”. Hope is critical, without hope all is lost. Hope enables you to make decisions, to think through events, to believe in yourself and the people around you. Hope, I believe, changes your mental direction.

Preparing for the worst in a bad marriage means admitting it is disintegrating and taking steps to fix it. Then hoping for the best.

Preparing for the worst in business means confronting the brutal reality of the situation and takings steps to recover it. Then allow hope to drive you.

Prepare for the worst in health, with the kids, at your job, in your illness and in relationships. Take steps to recover them. With hope!

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

189 | 365 In Awe

Day189.jpgFor as far as the eye could see low bulbous cloud covered the country and out beyond the sea to the horizon. The sun creeps up to the skyline as the earths revolution enables the break of a new day. The darkness of the night sky fades to blue then to burning bright yellows that reflect over the cloud.
From 18000 ft, the curve of the earth is apparent, and I am in AWE of the work of God’s hand. The depth, perspective, colour, cloud, light and darkness are amazing. Such beauty that the camera did not and will never fully capture.
Then I am reminded how honoured I am to enjoy it. Less than 100 years ago, few men had ever seen such sights, and even today, very few people around the earth will see such things.

[189 | 365 – In Awe – An amazing sunrise as I flew to Christchurch]

184 | 365 Dream of flying?

Day184.jpgIt is said that man has always looked at the birds and longed to fly.

Well, I have a non-current pilots licence and could fly, but don’t. I just dream about it. I was talking about it with a friend on the way home from work, and it reminded me about how I long to fly, about how when I get airborne I join a different world, and about how much energy it brings me. Yet flying costs money and that is an entirely different subject.

Anyway, I got home thinking about planes so took this shot of a Cessna 152 made out of Sprite Cans.

[184 | 365 Dream of Flying?]

Danger alright…

Now that I have my pilots licence for planes, I have started thinking about how inconvenient they are. A helicopter would be so much better. I could drop into the vacant land next to agóge HQ. It would be great.

Well on Friday a Robinson R44 dropped into our neighbours CKL. It encapsulated all of my dreams. The sign by the tail rotor, with agoge in the background, is a warning in more ways than one…


The Helicopter HLG is owned by Meridian Holdings Limited in Auckland.

Family Flying


Took the whole family flying for the first time Saturday. We flew from Hamilton to Tauranga, took Mun and Dad for a fly, then flew back.

My Son is under 4 so sat with a lap belt on his mums knee. This meant we had 5 people on board (POB) in a four 4 seater plane. Air Traffic Control in both Hamilton & Tauranga both doubled checked when I told them 5.

As always with flying and me at the moment. I learn heaps from each flight and this was no exception.

A great day though!!

Any landing you can walk away from is a good one…

… this one is particularly good. From the Herald yesterday


Battered pilot Bob Robertson waits in shock for rescuers to cut him free from his plane after it disintegrated around him.

The 34-year-old had a miraculous escape after his 1960s light plane lost power and crashed on to a motorway.

Firefighters had to cut Bob free from the wreckage of the aircraft after it clipped a building and crashed on to the busy road in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

He suffered head, arm and leg injuries and was airlifted to hospital.

How does your cockpit completely rip off, and you end up sitting up waiting for help. WOW!!


Andrew Nicol: Licensed to Fly…

Andrew_nicol_ppl_photo_wkfWhat’s that distant scream I hear?

WARNING this post is full of Acronyms. It’s a pilot thing, definitions are below.

More screams…

After almost 3 years in the making, yesterday I passed my flight exam for my PPL.

It was a weird day. Initially I was mean to fly to NPL, so I got up early and did my flight planning. As the sun came up, NZNP tower woke up and issued a METAR and TAF and it became self evident that for the second attempt in a row I was going no where.

At 08:00 I called the Aero Club and told them I was clearly not going down and they told me to get out to the club as Wayne (the Flight Examiner) was coming up IFR.  The weather was still crap, but we would aim for a break.

Around 11:00 Wayne arrived and I did the ground school component, questions about the WX, NOTAM, SPARs etc. Then I was asked to calculate TO and LDG distance, blah blah.

Now for the hard part, out to the Flight Exam in WCD.

I pre-flight WCD, do the briefs and checks, go to start the plane and NOTHING. A flat battery! I arrange for an external power pack and get the plane started, get taxi clearance and taxi to the other end of the airport to do engine run-up checks. The oil pressure was showing NOTHING.  The aircraft at this point is OS, so I taxi back to the club. On the way back, the gauge comes to life but it is too late. (For interest oil pressure dropping is one of the things you would do a forced landing for, so not a plane you should take flying)

Now for the hard part, out to the Flight Exam in WKF, but this time the nerves are at an all time high!

Once we got back on the ground I honestly thought I had failed.

It was clearly one of the worst flying days I have had. My selection of paddocks in the FLWOP was not good and I came in high (the lack of wind got me). My steep turns were not that sharp and my wing drop was decidedly average.

Over all though I was very competent at most things, and competent in the above.   

Net result. I PASSED!!

3 years, 77 flying hours, 96 flights, well over 100 TO & LDG. Self studying the theory, easily 300 hours ground work, and countless hours going through checks while driving my car, sitting at my desk.

I need to do some more FLWOP practice and it takes 4 – 5 weeks before I get the actual licence, and I need to pass a fit & proper person test (which fortunately has nothing to do with fitness) but the hard work is done.

Thanks to all my instructors at the Waikato Aero Club – Roger, Paul, Greg, Dave, Ash, Marie, Lorreen!


  • PPL – Private Pilots Licence
  • NPL – New Plymouth
  • NZNP – Another way of writing New Plymouth just to confuse you.
  • IFR – Instrument Flight Rules (Can fly through clouds and over large buildings)
  • VFR – Visual Flight Rules (Can’t fly through clouds but can still fly over large buildings)
  • WX – Weather
  • NOTAM – Notice to Airmen. (info about runways etc)
  • TAF – Aerodrome forecast
  • SPAR – Special Aerodrome Report (issued when the weather turns to crap)
  • METAR – Current Metrological Conditions at and Aerodrome
  • TO – Takeoff
  • LDG – Landing
  • WCD – Plane Registration for an Alpha 160A
  • WKF – Plane registration for the Alpha that I flew
  • NOTHING – is not an acronym it is a sign of my frustration &(*%&$( !!
  • OS – Out of Service (broken!).

A review of my blog

"In short I thought I would start shouting into the wind…"

And with those words my blog began. Like most things in my life my blog has proven to be random, distracted thoughts. It comes and goes depending on my mood and has had three major changes to its look and feel.

It will continue to change because I love change. It will continue to be random and change in writing style because I am always learning and experiencing different things.

Anyway here are a few of my favourate posts etc from each month since Aug last year.

Old Posts

Old & New  … Lost after 3 years is the new car smell, it now has one of those car airfreshener smells . A smell that you know is hiding a potentially more potent odour, the way lighting a match in the toilet tries to hide a foul stench… read more [nb this is my most commented post a whole 3 comments]

Origin Pacific falls from the Never Never Land In my opinion Origin was doomed to failure before their first flight left the ground. They tried to behave and act like super powers, then align themselves with super powers like Qantas, rather than establishing profitable niche markets … read more

Authentic Community …I think this small business called agóge. This business with people from all over the world, with varying educations, from different religions and diverse upbringings is starting to become an authentic community … read more

Woolgathering at 17,000 ft about the Marlborough Sounds … I sit in the ATR, transfixed at the sight of the Marlborough Sounds out my window and grateful for the relief from a tiring day that woolgathering about the Sounds allows. … read more

Flying an Alpha 160"It is like climbing into a new car when you have been used to driving a car that is 25 years old." … read more

Most enjoyable book

Blue like Jazz – Donald Miller.

Best quote

"I’ve always thought smack in the middle of a contradiction is a great place to be!"  Bono – U2

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