Monday, 13 August 2012

The Final Straight

This week, I finally feel like everything has fallen in to place, and that I'm ready to head off to CTC in a week-and-a-half's time to start my pilot training.

In the last few days:

  • Funding has finally been arranged, and passed to CTC.
  • CTC have arranged our accommodation, so I know who I'll be living with soon!
  • I've visited BA for a Family Day and met most of the FPP students who'll be at CTC with me.
So now I'm just working my last few days of work.  Sadly, they're not as gentle as I would have hoped - my final project was due to hit the last critical milestone to affect me last Friday, but is running late!  Obviously I want to get it finished before I head off.  Well, it'll make the leaving drinks on Friday seem all the sweeter.

Sunday, 8 July 2012


One of the things I was most nervous about going through the steps to become a pilot was the medical. As a wannabe airline pilot registered in the UK I need a JAR Class 1 medical, which is issued by the CAA. The CAA publish information about it here, but I didn't really find it answered the question "what does that mean to me?"

I figured I'd write down what happened to me - it might be helpful for someone out there! Bear in mind that you might get tested differently, either because you're in a different physical condition to me, because the CAA has decided to test differently, or for any other reason you can think of...

Monday, 25 June 2012

Radio 1 Hackney Weekend

Yesterday Emma and I went to Radio 1's Hackney Weekend on the Hackney Marshes. Barring a few brief showers, the weather was good and the field wasn't too muddy - certainly not as muddy as the Isle of Wight festival was. I guess it's simplifying a bit, but the Hackney Weekend was aimed at more of an "urban" music lover than me. Nonetheless, I had a good time and I think Emma did too.

London to Brighton

Last week I rode in the British Heart Foundation's London to Brighton Bike Ride with some friends. This is pretty much what it says on the tin - a 50+ mile cycle from Clapham Common in London to the waterfront at Brighton. It's a lovely ride, and we helped to raise money for the BHF.

Saturday, 9 June 2012


A while ago I said that I was withholding a few posts for the time being. The eagle-eyed will have spotted what they are already, but if not...

I'm going to be a pilot!

I'm unbelievably fortunate to have been accepted onto BA's Future Pilot Programme, which I'm starting on this August. The grand series of posts I had planned hasn't really worked out, but hopefully there's some more exciting things to come.

The two posts that have recently been unveiled are:

  • Learning to Fly
  • The Long Wait

Saturday, 17 March 2012

On demand - or not.

As well as enjoying flying, I work as a software developer. It's fairly interesting, so I figured I'd write up anything a bit different that I find out. It may not be new to most developers, but it is to me!

This week I discovered something interesting about the way Linux manages CPU speed. Linux is designed to take advantage of a feature of modern CPUs where they slow down if they're not being heavily used, in order to reduce power. This mechanism is known as the "ondemand governor".

In the software I write at work - which is event driven, and heavily multithreaded - it seems to be possible for us to get into a state where Linux doesn't detect that we're putting heavy load on the CPU, so it doesn't push the CPU speed back to full speed, so our application runs slowly. We're conjecturing a bit here, since there's an easy solution for us so we haven't investigated much further.

Also, I should stress that this is most likely "by design" - but it caught us out, so it could catch other people out too.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Hold in there!

There's something frustrating me recently. I've started writing a series of blog posts about flying, but for various technical reasons I can't publish them yet and it's making me go slightly nuts. Aspiring pilots should check back later in the year, when the full force of my excitement about flying will be revealed!

I know I said when I started this blog in 2009 that I'd keep writing stuff for it, and I've been pretty lame so far, but this time it's true :)

The Long Wait

It's starting to feel like an absolute age since BA accepted me onto the Future Pilot Programme - even though it was only three months ago - and an unbelievably long time until I start in August! I figured I may as well make some notes about what's going on so far.

Visiting Hong Kong

Recently, two of mine and Emma's friends got married in Hong Kong. I had quite a good time, and I really ought to put something on this blog, so I figured I'd write a quick summary of the trip.

I've spent some time in Hong Kong before, so this time I wanted to do some things that I didn't do before. I don't want to focus on eating, drinking or shopping, because Hong Kong is good for all of those things and you can see it any guide book. If you're going to Hong Kong, read, on...

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Learning to Fly

(I originally wrote this post in February 2012, but it has been kept under wraps until I was able to tell my current employers)

Relatively recently, I got accepted on to BA's Future Pilot Programme.  I think I'd like to write about my experiences - it'll be good for me, and someone might be curious in the future!

I love flying, and I've wanted to be a pilot for a long time.  There haven't been many airline jobs going recently, so I've been biding my time.  This really has been the first opportunity to work for a major airline I've seen for a long time, so I had to take it!

In this post, I'm going to briefly describe the course I've joined, the application process and my thoughts and feelings.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Bronze Confuser

A long time ago, I took the BGA Bronze exam.  Rather than studying, I did some procrastinating and came up with a simple multiple-choice question program, and populated it with the complete list of possible questions and answers:

For ages it was available online, but when I moved website I failed to put it back up.  I've finally gotten around to doing it, so if you think it'd be useful feel free to give it a try!