Saturday, August 01, 2009

I wanted to be a pilot

During my primary school days, if any one of my Apak's friends were to ask me the proverbial question "when you grow up, what would you like to be, son?" I was sure to shoot back "a pilot!".

Yup, there would've been no doubt what so ever in that answer.

For I love aeroplanes.

I think I began to develop this love looking at airline advertisements featured in old magazines and in the newspapers. One such magazine was the Asia Magazine which was distributed free of charge with the New Sunday Times newspaper, Apak's newspaper of choice. Another one was the Readers' Digest.

Old ads especially by BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation), the Malaysia Singapore Airline (MSA) and, much later, MAS (Malaysian Airline Systems) fed to my interest.

An ad for BOAC VickersVC10 aircraft

At first, it was the mind-boggling thought of long distance travelling - flying into the sunset - and being able to go to nice places that I'd seen many times in our encyclopedia set, that first got me hooked.

But later, it was also the sight of beautiful, elegant aircrafts with their graceful wings that further intrigued me.

As my interest grew, I got to the point where I could recognize and memorize the names of all the aircrafts in the papers and magazines. And if there was a picture of an aeroplane or an airline advertisement in any magazine or newspaper (I seldom miss them), you can bet that there'd be a hole in them by the end of the day. I would cut the pictures up and stick them in my scrap book.

MSA ad and timetable

The formation of our very own national airline, MAS, in 1973 further fueled my interest.

I still remember looking on proudly at the very first printed advertisement for MAS in the newspaper. It featured a picture of MAS's first ever fleet, seven spanking new Boeing737s, lined side by side on the runway in dignified fashion.

Oh, how it took my breath away.

They came in a new, bright red colorscheme. The logo on the tail unmistakeably showed the kelantan wau. How, nice, I thought. Befitting Malaysia's very own national carrier.

When I went to boarding school, and later entered university, the intensity of love for aeroplanes waned a bit as I got engrossed in (distracted by) other mundane things like study and assignments. Nevertheless it never faded away.

During one of the summer breaks in UK, I managed to get a part time job selling Red Arrows official magazines at airshows and festivals in which the Red Arrows team were featured.

I had a whale of a time not only selling those magazines, but also looking up the aircrafts on show, as well as, taking pictures (my new hobby then).

Airmen atop a Hercules C3. Pic taken at one of the airshows in UK



zainal said...

My, my what a revelation. How come you do not earn the wings? Or did you? I have the same answer from my son. he too wants to become a pilot though of course we want him to secure the mother's practice. he is interested in engines esp cars but i have not seen him showing attachment to planes.A very interesting story and it should encourage yr children to reveal their hopes and ambition too. Me I suppose when young I wanted to ride the horses as the cowboys do.Never realising that the ground or the tuff is not as smooth as the highway. You hit a potholes and you go tumbling. Cowboys don't of course. Have a good weekend.

Abu Imir said...

Salam Yob,

Patutla you flew with your bike. He.. he.. jangan marah melawak je. Hope to see you cycling after Eid.