Sunday, March 6, 2011

Watches

I've had a few watches during my student years; mostly digital Casios and at least one digital / analog Timex.

My first watch bought after I started working was a Citizen Wingman. Bought this one from a shop in Bukit Bintang Plaza. It was nice but the slide rule was quite sticky. It was used for about five years before being replaced by another Citizen.



My next watch is a Citizen Navihawk, with a better slide rule and triple time zone. It has a digital, analog and UTC time display; unlike many other watches I only need to set the time once and all the indications will revert to the set time zone. It really was a cool watch to have during my cargo years (1997-2000).



MAPA (Malaysia Airlines Pilots Association) Breitling Aerospace special edition, year 2000 (or was it 2001?)Didn't order it initially, what I got was one of the the few leftover from the 100 made. Mine is number 57. This one comes with the Aerospace bracelet; the Professional bracelet is better (and RM 400 more) but only available by pre-order.



When my Navihawk started to have problems after about 5 years of daily use, I used the Aerospace as the daily watch. The problem is that it started to get worn and scratched. I needed a cheaper daily watch, therefore I bought the Seiko Kinetic. It is a titanium watch with only basic function. The Aerospace was send for refurbishment.



Early this week I took delivery of the latest MAPA special, a stainless steel Breitling Avenger Seawolf. This is my first mechanical watch, also my heaviest to date. Also number 57 out of 100 made. Too bad, the titanium model was discontinued earlier.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

My cameras - The Canon years

After my Minolta systems were destroyed in a flash flood, I went for over a year without an SLR camera. Finally in 2006 I decided to go Canon and bought the EOS 50E together with a matching silver EF 24-85 f/3.5-4.5 lens.


EOS 50E with silver EF 24-85

This is a Quartz date model, which means it has the capability ti imprint date, time or numbers on the image.

EOS 5oE with 75-300 IS
Later I added a Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens. This is the first Image Stabilizer lens in the world.

PowerShot G5

In 2003 I bought my first digital camera, a Canon PowerShot G5. I choose the Canon because it has the capability to use an external flash. Actually I wanted to buy the EOS 10D but the price was too high at RM 6000 for body only. The G5, at about RM 3000 was not cheap either, but it was my first foray into digital photography and at that time I wasn't sure of how digital is going to be.

EOS 20D with EF-S 10-22
In 2004 I bought my first DSLR, the EOS 20D. Those 2 lenses from the film era, the 24-85 and 75-300, were still usable with the 20D. But the 20D has a 1.6 crop factor, therefore a 24 mm lens has a 38 mm equivalent to 35mm film field of view. Therefore my first new lens for the digital camera was the EF-S 10-22 f/3.5-4.5. It is an excellent lens for its purpose.

EOS 20D with 70-200 2.8L IS
The 73-300 was a bit soft at the higher end (above 200 mm) and I was craving for something better. Therefore I joined the bandwagon for the best telephoto multi-purpose lens, the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM . Heavy, expensive yet very good quality.

EOS 20D with 24-105 f/4 L

The 24-85 develops some internal fungus, therefore it is time for a new "normal lens. For that I choose the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM . Another excellent lens from Canon.

EOS 50D with 100mm macro and MR-14EX
Another type of photography that I like to do is macro photography. For this I have the EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM. Lighting is provided by the MR-14EX Macro Ring Lite. I bought both the lens and flash in Taipei because it was slightly cheaper there. However I had problem getting the instruction manual in English; the one that comes with the flash was in Japanese. I finally managed to find a copy online from this site.
EOS 50E with EF-S 18-200 IS

By 2008 the 20D is getting old. While still perfectly usable it is time for a new camera. Therefore I bought an EOS 50D with an EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS "superzoom". With a zoom ratio of over 11X it is a lens that replaced all my other lens, except part of the 10-22. Range-wise, it is an excellent lens. Quality-wise, it is said to be better than most other similar-range lenses. However it wasn't as good as the L-lenses quality.

The 50D / 18-200 combo is now for sale, at RM 5500 (negotiable, of course). Any taker?

Events of 2009

Still 2 months before the end of 2009, but already a very eventful year for me.

I started 2009 as a B734 captain with MAS, as well as an IP (instructor pilot). Then things started to go downhill.

Early this year I wa ready for promotion to a higher fleet. According to the office there will be 2 choices this year; B744 or A330. I didn't want to go to B744 fleet as the fleet is downsizing and will be phased out. Not exactly though; the 2 freighters will still be around. And I don't want to finish off my career flying only freighters. Been there, done that, and it is not exactly what I really want to do.

So I bid for the A330. And got accepted. Good news? Not really, as the day after I got the A330 promotion, news comes out that the 2 B744 classes are being canceled. To be replaced by B777 classes! The coveted triple seven slots, the one I've been waiting for 2 years, and I missed it by days!

Started the A330 ground school in April. The CBT and classes went smoothly. The sim sessions were delayed by about a month. I started the sim sessions by late June, and things started to go downhill. I just cannot adapt the the Airbus way of flying. A few sessions were repeated. By late July I felt I won't be able to finish the course. The fleet office and myself, independently, decided that it is better for me to not continue with the course and go back to my previous fleet instead. Bye bye A330 fleet.

A missed opportunity, sure. But although I was unhappy for not making it to the A330 fleet, the greater regret is that I didn't know that there will be the B777 promotion this year. Compared to the A330, the B777 fleet has better route, better working condition, relatively easier conversion from the B737. And like it or not, more glamor.

Anyway, here I am back on the B734 fleet. For failing a conversion, no fleet movement for the next 2 years. What are my options now? We'll see in 2 years time.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Aquarium update

Looks like my live-plant aquarium is not yet a success. The plant did grow, but algae has grown in the tank too. The water is now cloudy with greenish algae. I am still looking at a way to counter this.

Another thing, the chemical CO2 generator doesn't work as advertised. Instead of lasting a month, the mixture only last a week in producing CO2. I will have to find another method.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Setting up a new aquarium

For about 3 years now I've had a 4-foot aquarium in my house. It is a simple overflow filter type which is good for keeping medium to large fishes. Currently I have a few cichlids, some barps species, a couple of climbing perch and a couple of clown loaches. Small fishes are unsuitable for this type of aquarium as they will be sucked down into the filter.

Now I'm starting another aquarium, this time with life plants. For a start, this one is a 2-footer with open top. This one is quite an expensive setup; the tank costs just below RM 2oo but the soil costs more than that. There are 3 types of soil in this tank, basically large, medium and small granules. There are also soil conditioners and fertilizers for the plants.

For lights, I am using 2 unit of 55-watt bright fluorescent bulbs. These are bright enough to substitute for sunlight. Carbon dioxide for the plants are supplied by a simple chemical CO2 generator.


I've planted some underwater plants and grass inside the aquarium. Now I have to wait for them to grow and stabilize before adding fishes into the tank.

The plan now is to add some swordtails, mollies and tetras.Expect the updates in about 2 weeks time.

And now it is time to watch the grass grows. Literally.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Perak State Government

A lot has been said about the power tussle in Perak, between the Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR). So who is the rightful Menteri Besar now? A solution to end this impasse need to be found, and fast.

There are two possible way to solve this problem.

Option 1.
Duel to the death between Nizar and Zambry. What weapon to use? Keris? Sword? Pistol? Maybe the people can choose by sending SMS to 73725, only 50 sen + telco charge per SMS. Terms and conditions apply. The duel can be shown live on Astro pay-per-view so Astro can make some more money. Can telecast to the whole world too. I'm sure it will be an international hit. The winner can be the Menteri Besar, the loser will be six feet under and cannot challenge him in court anymore. Malaysia Boleh!

Option 2.
A new state election.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bye bye Boeing 737

After almost a decade on the B737-400 fleet, it is time to seek new challenge.

I started flying the B737 (-300F, -400 and -500) as a co-pilot in 1993. Those were the days when the fleet was young, I flew the first commercial flight on one of the aircraft. I was on the fleet until 1997 when I joined the B747-200/300 fleet. I rejoined the B737 fleet as a commander in 2000.

My total flying hours is about 10000, of which about 3000 as a B737 co-pilot and 1000 as a B747 Classic co-pilot. Which means approximately 6000 command hours in the B737.

I was also an IP (instructor pilot) for the last 6 months on the B737, doing simulator and flight training for new crew.

My last simulator session on April 8th.

My last flight on the B737 was on the 11th of April 2009, doing MH 780 / 781 KUL-BKK-KUL.

With the cabin crew on my last flight, April 11th 2009.

Enjoying my last dinner in the flightdeck of the B737. Next time, there will be a table instead of the control column.

With Second Officer Ahmad Adib during my last B737 flight.

Align CenterNarrow cabin of the B737-400

Stepping out of the B737 for the last time


Bye-bye B737. It has been a lot of fun flying this baby.

The B737-400 is getting old. It will soon be replaced by the New Generation -800 series. As for me, I'll be going the Airbus route with the A330. Fly-by-wire, sidestick, FMGS....

Friday, March 27, 2009

Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2009.

The event was held on 19th to 22nd of March 2009. 16 hot air balloon was displayed.

I managed to attend the event on the 21st, morning show.

I was greeted by this view on arrival at aboy 0800.

Inflating the balloons


2 Special-shaped balloons, Mauriske the clown and the Blue Peacock.

Papillon

Nelly B the pink elephant

The coffee cup

Across the lake, some of them can't go much further.

I managed to take individual photograph of 15 of the balloons. Click here for the thumbnails, then you can click on the thumbnail for a larger picture of up to 1200 x 800 pixels.

Friday, January 16, 2009

MFM - KUL flight

Six months has passed since my JOG - KUL flight, and I'm due for another adventure.

Day 1

We started from Macau (MFM / VMMC) on a rainy day. Temperature outside was 26 degree Celcius, QNH 1006, runway 34 in use. Zero fuel weight was 48000 kg; I ordered 11800 kg of fuel which is the minimum required for the return trip.

Everything was ready and we were cleared for pushback and start. I expect something to go wrong, but what happened was totally unexpected. First, engine 2 was started normally, without any problem. We were still being pushed back when engine 1 was started. The engine started normally, then suddenly the aircraft lunged forward. Immediately I jumped on the parking brake and put the start lever to idle to shut down the engine. Apparently the fuel control unit has malfunctioned; engine 2 goes into takeoff thrust even with the thrust lever still at idle. Aborted engine start non-normal checklist (NNC) was carried out, and I requested the aircraft to be towed back to bay for rectification.

During takeoff roll, at about 100 kts suddenly a warning light lighted up on the front panel. It was the "LE FLAP TRANSIT" amber light. There was no yaw of any problem controlling the aircraft, so an abort action was not needed. Therefore the takeoff continued.



To be continued.

(Or maybe not.....)

Friday, January 9, 2009

My cameras - The Minolta years

I bought my first camera in 1983. It was about 3 months after my arrival in Newark, Delaware. It was bought during my first trip to New York city around August 1983. The camera was a Minolta X-700. It comes with a 50mm 1.7 lens .

Minolta X-700 with 50mm f/2.0

I also bought an off-brand flash and a Zykkor 2X teleconverter. Within the next 2 years I would add a Minolta 100-300 f/5.6 zoom lens and a Vivitar 24mm f/2.0 wideangle. The flashgun was replaced by a Vivitar 4600.

This is a Vivitar 24mm f/2.0, here shown in Nikon mount.

In 1985 I moved to Hartford, Connecticut. Also in 1985 Minolta introduced the first successful autofocus SLR camera, the Minolta Maxxum 7000. The top-of-the-line Maxxum 9000 was introduced later in the year. My X-700 was sold to a good friend, and with money from a summer job, I bought the Maxxum 9000 in 1986.

Minolta Maxxum 9000 body.

My first lens for the Maxxum 9000 was a Minolta 28-85 f/3.5-4.5. Between 1986 and 1998 I would add a 70-210 f/4, a 50mm 1.7 and a 135mm 2.8, all original Minolta lens. I also added a Minolta 4000AF flash, a data back and a power winder AW90. All equipment were kept and carried in a Tamrac camera bag. I also had a Slik U212 tripod and started to shoot slides, both Kodachrome and E-6 Ektachrome which I processed on my own, with varying degree of success.


Minolta AF 28-85 f/3.5-4.5

Align CenterMinolta AF 70-210 f/4.0


Minolta AF 135mm f/2.8

Minolta 4000AF flash

I returned to Malaysia in 1989, went to Cessnock, NSW, Australia for pilot training in 1990 and finally becomes a co-pilot for MH B737 in 1992. Starting a family, money was tight and film was not as cheap as it was in the USA. The camera was hardly used; only for snapshots and only for prints. The Minolta 9000 was becoming outdated but still producing good pictures.

Then disaster struck. In 1996 the house I lived in was hit by a flash flood. In the ensuing chaos, trying to save the family, furniture and the car, the camera bag was left in the closet and drowned. I only realized it the next day which was way too late. The whole system was damaged beyond economical repair.

I was without an SLR for about a year, using my wife's Olmpus AF-1 Twin compact for family pictures. I would buy another SLR later, but I would never but a Minolta again, ever.

Anyway, that was for another story.

(all pictures here were taken from the internet. The damaged Maxxum 9000 camera and system is still sitting in a box somewhere in the storeroom)

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Birdstrike!

(Due to some possible legality problem, this post has to be removed. Thanks)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fuel price

The price of petrol has changed significantly in the last 6 months. Oil price has dropped from USD 150+ to around USD 50 today.

More significantly the petrol price in Malaysia has changed considerably. 2 weeks after I bought my Toyota Camry the RON97 petrol in Malaysia was increased from RM1.92 to RM2.70. Back then the government were telling us that they're subsidizing the petrol. Now the petrol price has been lowered; currently selling at RM1.80, and even that is actually above the world market price. So the government is actually taxing us in petrol nowadays.

I think it is about time for a major policy change. Not only for fuel price, but regarding car price as well.

1. Sell fuel at market price, plus some tax. Something around 10 to 20 sen per liter. Either the government can set the market price, according to world price of oil to be determined daily or at most weekly; or let the retailers sell at their own price.

2. Abolish road tax, since now the fuel is being taxed. If required maybe a nominal tax can be imposed, but not to be based on engine capacity.

3. Reduce tax on cars to a flat rate based on the original price. The practice of taxing cars based on the engine capacity should be abolished forever.

By doing these the people will have the choice of buying and driving cars that are much better than what Malaysians are used to be driving today. We also can buy more fuel efficient cars for daily use; or buy a fuel guzzler sports car and have it parked most of the time.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Cinemas of Perlis

There are no cinemas operating in Perlis today.

But there were cinemas in the state before. There was one in the mining town of Kaki Bukit, and another one in the rice fields of Simpang Empat. But those were as told by my elders; haven't see them myself.

But there was definitely a Cathay cinema in the port town of Kuala Perlis.

There were 3 cinemas in Kangar, the capital. The oldest was Empire; the building has been demolished back in the 80s.


The youngest was Sri Mahkota. It was build in the early 1970s and closed in the 80s. It is now a supermarket.



The most popular back then was Kapitol. I remember watching a few movies there years ago in my childhood years. Jaws, Malay movie Laksamana Do Re Mi and and some Hindi movie as well. This was the last cinema to close; not sure of when but this building is now a lecture hall for Unimap, the state university of Perlis.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

ASPUTRA 82 Hari Raya Open Day 2008

The ASPUTRA 82 open house was held in Dr Azmi Ayub's house in Kota Damansara on Sunday 26th of October 2008.

Among those who were there:

Dr Azmi Ayub (host)
Hatta Hussin (organizer)
Latif Jamin
Che Zurina (Latif's wife)
Mustafa
Marina
Amirul Sharifuddin
Khairul Ikmal
Norhalimi (Md Gee)
Farid
Joe Pinto (....er, sorry, can't remember your real name)
Rosniza Hussin (my wife)
and myself.

My apologies if there is anybody else that I missed.

And many thanks to Dr Azmi for hosting the gathering. Bring back many colorful memories of our days at Sekolah Menengah Tuanku Syed Putra.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri to all. Maaf zahir dan Batin.

Drive safely and safe flights always.

As for me, I'm celebrating right here at Salak Tinggi. No balik kampung to Perlis for me this year. Will be working again on the 3rd, this time going to Jogjakarta for real.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

First ATR-72 for MASwings

MASwings recently took delivery of their first ATR-72-500. Registered 9M-MWA, she first landed in SZB on September 2nd, then to BKI on September 8th. There was a launching event on September 12th, coverage which can be seen in MalaysianWings forum.

I visited MWA in BKI on the 10th, after the aircraft finished a proving flight to MYY.

The flight deck looks quite old-fashioned.


Nice curving 6-bladed propellers.

Leather seats.


IFE panel.

Exterior view. Higher-resolution picture here.

Cabin view. Higher resolution picture here.

This is the first of seven ATR-72 ordered by MASwings to replace their 7 Fokker 50s. They will operate within Sabah and Sarawak together with the Twin Otters.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Update on the kittens.

Sorry to announce the death of Tamtam yesterday. He fell ill the night before, and although utmost care was given by my children, he died early in the morning before we had time to go to the vet.

Tamtam was buried under the mango tree.

And my children were still grieving, especially my son Ridzwan who is very attached to the kittens.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Corruption in Malaysia

So much has been talked about the ACA nabbing the corrupt Puspakom officers. It is simply bribery, probably the easiest to identify and handled.

But there is another type of corruption, such as the MPSJ buying laptops at double the price. This is the overcharging corruption. I think this is more prevalent and harder to tackle as it normally involved those in power.

And come to think of it, those privatized monopolies are corrupt practice themselves. Think of Puspakom, Fomema, Indah Water and many other, created to siphon money from the public doing things that were previously done by government agencies or could be handled directly by the public. It is simply abuse of power by the authorities.

Just a thought from a man on the street.

Flying the Malaysian Flags

A lot has been said about how few flags is being flown this Merdeka season.

I have no comments on flying the flag at homes, shops and offices. But I have a reason why there is less flags flown on cars.

For info I've never put on those little flags on my car. Never ever.

Last year petrol was RM 1.92 pr liter. This year it is RM 2.55, and RM 2.70 just weeks ago. Those flags on your moving vehicles cause a lot of drag, and drag will mean you will use up more fuel. More hydrocarbon burnt. Not exactly a good thing for the environment, or your pocket.

There are still lots of those little flags on cars and taxis. And big ones on trucks. Maybe for he trucks especially, the drivers don't pay for the fuel from their own pocket. And I'm quite sure the majority of the taxi and truck drivers didn't score A1 on Physics.

Just my thoughts.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The cats

I opened up the hood of my car, and guess what was inside?

I don't know how they get inside the engine compartment with the hood closed. Must be from the underneath.

The kittens were born on 6th of July 2008.

Ggirl, a female.
Boboy, a male.
Tamtam, a male.
Bubu, a female.

And finally Cing the mother. She was a stray and was adopted by my children. Cing is a good mother, and very protective of her kittens.