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Darren Goes To Flight School


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then i get a call from my doc saying i show a "slight abnormality" in my ecg (slow pulse) and that i should not put my money down (2 weeks late) for training because it would never get approved!


That's odd that your doc would just tell you "you'll never get approved" based on only an ECG - from what I've learned, a weird ECG generally means "we need to do more tests" unless it shows signs of a major heart attack or something. At any rate you have your medical, so away you go! BTW, where are you training?


The research I've done tells me an odd ECG isn't all that uncommon - one of my classmates went through the same thing; she has an abnormal ECG, and she had to do a stress test as well as an echo (and she's fine).






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Ha! I love bits of trivia like that (I refer to 'em as "turds of wisdom").


I just found out my echocardiogram is scheduled for Monday afternoon, so I'm glad the ball's rolling there.


Other than a morning quiz on engines/airframes/instruments (84%, but I should've done better... <_< ) today was all flying - the hover excercises continue. I flew with Marc this morning, and though I felt my performance could've been better, it was a good lesson - he gave me a lot of great tutorials and tips. I got to see what a (simulated) power failure at the hover felt like 'cause I wasn't paying attention to my T's and P's after Marc pulled the breaker :D


I'm still overcontrolling at times, and I had a tendency to not hold enough left cyclic to compensate for the tail rotor drift. We were out at the beginning of runway 025, and Marc gave me a little challenge; every time my skids drifted outside the white lines on the runway, I owed him a beer. Didn't take me long to rack up two beers...


At the end of the flight, he left me with some good advice and many kind and encouraging words.


In the afternoon I was back with Richard again, and by now I have to say I was getting pretty pooped.

After a bit of a shaky start, I managed to hold some OK hover taxis into the wind, but by the end of the field (a couple minutes worth), I felt like I was carrying the helicopter rather than flying it; I'd just tire out and start to overcontrol. I'd made up for my earlier tendency to drift right by overcompensating - now I was applying *too much* left cyclic to deal with the tail rotor drift. Richard was kinda scratching his head over that one until I explained my morning lesson's right drift issues.


Despite these things, it was a not bad flight. My head knows what I should be doing, I just need to get my hands and feet to cooperate. I'm still tense, but it's getting (incrementally) easier to relax. I have moments where things fall into place, now my goal is to extend those moments into 'all the time'. The flight was a shorter one (0.7), but I was actually kinda grateful for that today - there's been a lot to think about and digest this week, and my poor little brain's about full-up.


The Bighorn folks held a "safety meeting" ;) for us at the end of the day, and this was a great way to wind down and have a few giggles after another busy week.


Now it's off for a restful weekend and plenty of studying - radio exam on Monday morning!


Think I'll go mix me up a martini :up:


One more thing:


---> You know you've been doing hover excercises when you're driving slowly in city traffic and you 'clear your tail' then start pressing the clutch to turn right :D

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One more thing:


---> You know you've been doing hover excercises when you're driving slowly in city traffic and you 'clear your tail' then start pressing the clutch to turn right


I mean *left*. Yeesh! The gas pedal's for right turns...

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I guess the doctor never said straight up "never get it". what he said was that i would need to see a cardiologist, and that realistically it would take a year and a half to get in to see one! thank the canadian medical system he said as well. Its funny that i never asked one question regarding my actual health, just how i could get aproved!


I will start my training with coast heli college in victoria at the begining of november. cant wait! getting itchy feet already, reading your posts is making me so anxious too. best of luck to ya!

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Here's the story of my echocardiogram:


The cardiology office called me and offered me an earlier appointment today; seems someone had cancelled, so I got their spot. As I had already booked the afternoon off from school and I was anxious to get on with this, I jumped at the earlier offer. I made sure to leave plenty early - or so I thought.


Now, I know the Foothills Hospital grounds are huge, but according to good ol' Google Maps, the place should be easy to find right? Ri-ii-iight. Even though I turned into the hospital grounds a half-hour early, I spent fifteen minutes circling various parking lots and dead ends. One thing that struck me as odd was the valet parking - I never thought I'd find this at a hospital ("S'cuse me my good man, there's a tenner in it for you if you take good care of my Lexus whilst I go get this compound femur fracture dealt with").


Well, this "Northwest Cardio" place sure wasn't jumping out at me, so I decided to abandon my Jeep and walk instead. Time was ticking! I lucked into a parking spot, sprinted for the pay ticket machine, then spent the next five minutes on the verge of a toddler-tantrum as the machine refused to do anything at all. I wistfully considered that I never had a chance to say goodbye to my credit card before it was whisked off to another dimension, or the Kingdom of Narnia, or wherever else this evil machine sent it, but then I noticed the GIANT button and even bigger sign beside it reading PRESS HERE TO PAY. Face-palm.


By now, my appointment was only minutes away and I still hadn't found the place. It was a beautiful warm autumn day, and the grounds looked like Stanley Park in the middle of summer - people everywhere. Med students out in front of the Cancer Centre on smoke breaks (irony!) people with various maladies and illnesses out enjoying the sun, countless visitors wandering to and fro the hospital beds of friends and relatives. I slalomed in amongst folks with IV bag stands, hurdled several wheelchairs and tackled at least one orderly in my efforts to find the cardio joint before I finally swallowed my pride and phoned their office.


They gave me directions to a place where I could ask directions. Hmm. So off I go, to ask for more directions. I swarm inside and skid to a stop in front of one of those heavily fortified receptionists stations - the ones with giant plexiglass windows with the little talk-through-here holes that are never spaced right for any normal human, let alone a hobbit like me. One hole's at about waist level ("this where my urine sample goes?"), and one about seven feet up. Apparently the glass was one-way, too, 'cause though I could see them they didn't acknowledge my existence for about, oh, seven hours. I finally attract the attention of one and ask for directions to Northwest Cardio.


"Go down the hall, downstairs, turn left, out the door, through the woods and over the hills, pull the sword out of the stone, slay the dragon, then meet the keeper of the bridge. Answer these riddles three, and passage shall be granted to you. Oh, and bring us a shrubbery. One that looks nice, and not too expensive"


By now I was late.


I arrive at the seventh-floor cardio office all sweaty and out of breath (wonder how often they see *that*).


Do you remember the old Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons? How about their arch enemies Boris and Natasha? My echocardiogram technician was Natasha. Stern, humourless, heavy eastern European accent.


"Hokay. Vat vee doingk today."


Today, vee kill Moose and Squirrel! "Oh, I'm here for an echocardiogram to satisfy a requirement of my aviation medical. Apparently my ECG isn't 100% normal. I have a copy, would you like to see it?"


"Yes iff you don'd mind".


She takes the ECG printout, looks at it, looks at me, looks at it, looks at me, looks at it, and returns it to me, then turns off the lights. *Gulp*.


"Turn over on left side, face wall, mover closer to me. CLOSER!" Ve haff vays off makingk you talk!


I hastily comply, and I'm sure I hear the *snap* of a well-lubed heavy black shoulder-length rubber glove being pulled on.


In reality, she gooped up the sonogram thingy, stuck it on my chest, then seconds later said "Vell, I tell you news. Ve still must do test all the way through, buy you have perfectly healthy heart. See screen? That's what healthy heart look like. Most patients I see not like you."


Waves of relief. I was pretty sure I was fine, but it's nice to hear it from a pro. The test continues for another fifteen or twenty minutes, and I got to see my heart on TV. Kinda cool, especially after the tech told me it was all OK.


"Hokay, finished. NO, Don't get up - lay back down!!" Oh jeez. "Here take paper towl. Wipe off echo fluid"


"So, everything's good then?"


"WHAT'D I TELL YOU!? Goodbye. Have nice afternoon".


So there's my echo. I guess the results still go to the doctor, but the folks in the office tell me that he/she should review it and fax it off to Transport Canada tomorrow. I phoned TC, and they said after they get it, my medical should be issued in about a week. I also discovered that even though the Canadian Aviation Medical standards say that any audiogram done within the past five years is considered recent, in reality it is not - my two-year-old audiogram is not valid. Luckily, I found a doctor right out at Springbank who will do one on Wednesday this week for $25.


Yeesh, not even completely through my first medical and I've already weary of it! It's a load off my mind though...


So, I didn't get any flying in today. This morning's ground school was the radio exam (we all passed!), then on to weights and balances. Although it seemed cryptic at first, I took some blank sheets home and did a few practise weight/balances - now it seems pretty straightforward.



Thanks for tuning in!


--- Darren

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[. We were out at the beginning of runway 025, and Marc gave me a little challenge; every time my skids drifted outside the white lines on the runway, I owed him a beer. Didn't take me long to rack up two beers...



Ha ha call a bluff on him...he dosen't drink beer! your in the clear! but ask him about fire ball! ah ****, might as well ask him if he likes barbacued meat whistles too.........oh , I guess we are not in drumbheller any more...lost myself for a minute LOL!

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Insider stories abound in this industry, so it seems...







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