Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Aerospace Club members take turns at the controls

NOAH Aiman Mohd Faiz, 10, and Jonathan Ang Kwang Siong, 10, were captaining a Boeing 737-400 confidently, sending the aircraft soaring into the sky.

Suddenly, the clear, blue sky turned into complete darkness. Before they could react, soft lights illuminated the horizon and dawn had arrived.

The kids did not panic. They kept their hands on the yoke while the aircraft flew steadily onward.

Smooth landing: Capt Mohd Radzi giving some advice to the children when they were on the simulator.

Behind them, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight operations manager Captain Mohd Radzi Mohamad Alias was choosing the scenes from a touch screen.

There were also buttons to customise the weather conditions. When the turbulence setting was activated, everyone in the cockpit felt the instability.

Noah and Jonathan were in a flight simulator with equipment identical to that of the original aircraft at MAS Flight Crew Training Centre in Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport, Subang.

Organised by Astronautical Association of Malaysia and Aerospace Education Services, the visit gave about 10 kids and teenagers a unique flying experience right in the centre that produces pilots for the national carrier.

They were given a briefing before they toured the building to visit the computer-based training centre and a number of other simulators.

Hands-on: Mohammed Faiz (right) helping Suhaimi Abdul Rahman to put on an oxygen mask.

When Mohd Radzi put on his epaulettes, jacket and hat, the kids looked at him with great admiration.

The three-hour experience fuelled Fariz Izlan Feizal‘s dream of becoming a pilot one day.

“I have wanted to be a pilot since I was six,” the 15-year-old said.

Ahmad Helmi Abu Kassim, 23, a student from Universiti Kuala Lumpur’s Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology (MIAT), saluted MAS Captain Mohammed Faiz Kamaludin animatedly after his attempt in the simulator.

“It is difficult for us on the aircraft engineering side, and today, I realised that it is just as hard for the pilots to steer an aircraft, especially to perform a landing,” he said.

Mohammed Faiz, who was one of the final four candidates to be Malaysia’s astronaut in 2006, said the Astronautical Association of Malaysia was founded last year, comprising of the former top 59 astronaut candidates.

It involves in talks and programmes to promote aerospace and science to the younger generation.

“Aerospace Education, on the other hand, organises space camps, astronomy nights, classes on aerospace and so on.

“The kids who are here today are its Aerospace Club members,” he said.

From the Star Online by Tho Xin Yi

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