Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Moon ...and stuff

This morning (my time) KCL was DEAD! I always check in here about every 15 minutes, at least, to see if anyone has posted, but Saturday mornings are DULL! So I messed around with other stuff.... like layouts. I know... very exciting.

Anyway, a few people mentioned on facebook (alternative excitement...not) seeing the full moon outside. I was watching it slowly approach the horizon, viewing it from my living room window. The snow clouds left long enough and after reading those entries, I grabbed my camera and tried to take a picture..... not bad if I do say so myself....

On this one you can see the little airplane hanging in my window....

The snow clouds returned but I still had to leave the warmth of my apartment. My son had left his computer on and he's 2 weeks in Mumbai so I had to drive there and shut it down.

Then I drove to pick up my duty car for tomorrow.... I got permission to have it in my garage so I won't have to clear the snow off it tomorrow in the early hours (I have a work-related class to teach). Good thing, too....... I needed about a half hour to get the snow off! The snow had paused but started again just after I arrived home. I'm sure the streets are going to be horrible tomorrow morning and many people may not show up for the class. But I'll be there!

I hope YOU all have a great Sunday!


Thursday, January 28, 2010

It's official... I can speak English!

It cost way too much, but I am now a qualified examiner for English level 4, and I have level 6!

But I better explain from the start.....

In the world of avaition there's an organisation, ICAO, which (tries) to standardise all the regulations that pertain to flying. This includes among other things aircraft, airfields, eqipment, and licencing. Because there are many pilots and controllers around the world who speak VERY lousy English, which leads to misunderstandings and have also caused accidents, ICAO decided that since March 2008, all pilots and ATC personel have to take tests to prove their English ability. There are 6 language levels and you have to have a least a 4 to be able to fly to other countries.

Since most countries world wide ignored the March 2008 date, when it was suddenly there, hardly anyone had a system for examining, etc., including Germany. To cover the overlap, all pilots with English radio licences were automatically given a level 4 certificate, which means they have to be re-tested every 3-4 years, level 5 needs a re-test every 8 years, and level 6 never needs to be re-tested.

Those first level 4 certificates run out at the end of this year, so examiners are needed. Also, those who wanted a higher level, like me, needed to BE examined, but there was no where to get it done! I wrote to the official authorities (the LBA which is Germany's FAA) and was told I'd be notified when things got organised (well, other wording). I never got notified, but kept checking their site.

Finally, a class was offered where I could become an examiner myself for level 4. The costs were much too high for the 3 day class, but I decided it would be good to get it behind me. So I signed up.

To be an examiner for level 4, I needed to be at least a level 5 myself. Well, in connection with this class at the German ATC academy, I got my quali for taking level 4 exams and proved that I was indeed an English native speaker so I now have the level 6!! To become an examiner for level 5 I would need to take another 2 day class, but that's not necessary... the 4 is more important.

So, as soon as I get some more paperwork done, I can start doing exams for those pilots needing renewals .... and make them PAY for it! Yes, there IS a fee for them. That'll be some extra pocket money for me, especially come next November/December when the first original levels run out.

It was a very fun class with great fellow students. The instructor was an American living over here, like me, and I think a cool friendship will develope between us. She may even ask me to assist in future organising of such classes etc. (the acedemy is located only 10 km north of my villiage).

I know all the above may sound confusing to most of you but it's my blog and I'll write what I want, so there!


P.S. it's snowing here again......

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Nostalgia.... school days

I number of people have been digging out their old photos and posting some. Many times I have shared some of mine with you, but since I have nothing worth while to post at the moment, I guess I'll just dig into my nostalgic collection....

Some of you may, or may not, know that I'm a navy brat and we were once stationed for 3 years in the Philippines. My dad was captian of a small freighter there which I used to call my "private yacht", as this picture prooves (taken about 1965).

and "The Boatswain" at the helm.....

If you follow the link... my older brother is copying his former JS entries into a site of his own.

We returned to the States in time for me to begin high school. I don't have many pictures of those years, unfortunately. For 3 of the 4 high school years I marched in the banner corp.... the following picture our dear Simon once used in his JS Saga...

and this is my senior class picture.

Hard to believe that was 42 years ago!!

So, enough memories... now it's YOUR turn!


Sunday, January 10, 2010

went ice skating!

My daughter, Regina, called me at the office Thursday afternoon and suggested we go with the girls ice skating at our local rink. I was skeptical at first.... after all, I hadn't skated in like 30 years! But I'm always game for some fun.

It was snowing outside, and I was worried a bit about her driving down, but by then the skies cleared. I have a week pass for the tram so I just hopped on the next one that went to the rink.

At first I thought I'd be hanging on the wall the whole time, but soon I actually got back into the groove of skating! Regina was the same way.

Tamara has a natural talent for it, but then she's already good at inline skating. Every time she slipped and fell, she just got up and laughed!

Emely? Well... she still needs LOTS of practice! She had a little "friend" to help her....

This weekend they're expecting terrible blizzards, with 30 cm (12 inches) to 50 cm new snow! And yes, the predictions came about, though less chaotic in my area then expected. Most of the cities have already used up most of their salt reserves. The last time we had such weather was in 1978/1979!


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Belated Happy New Year

I just realised, I didn't make a New Years post here. Hm, I'm slipping...

Well, hardly anyone reads here anymore anyway, but those who do....

Happy New Year!! I hope it'll be the best year ever.... for everyone!