I haven’t posted too much about what it is like to work in aviation, so I thought I’d tell ya a little bit about it.

Aviation is not something I ever really thought I’d be involved in. I mean, until I met the DH that is. Then I was bombarded with completely unintelligible conversations about airplanes, maneuvers, aviation jobs and all kinds of tall-tales. Anyone married to or dating a pilot will attest to this habit they all have. I suppose it is similar to what nurses do when in groups – discuss all the disgusting and weird things that have happened in the hospital. I’ve also noted that pilots share something else with nurses – a love of gossip and alcohol.

Ever since coming to work at PanAm this aviation bombardment has been in overdrive. Ever spend hours at a restaurant with a group of 5 or 6 pilots, endlessly discussing the airplanes they have flown, and experiences they have had? I’ve never been in a flight school environment before so it was quite a shock to me. For the first few months I would sit, bored out of my mind, just hoping that the conversation would take a turn back to something remotely interesting. Then something bizarre happened. I started teaching Aviation English. Without realizing it, I started to understand what they were all talking about.

Now I amaze myself. I could never quite believe that a 747 could take-off and stay in the air. Not only do I now understand, I teach this aerodynamic feat of physics everyday to my students. I know how a jet engine works, which is freakish to me. Freakish that I would ever know that.

So what exactly do I do? What do I teach? Basically, I have a group of about 10 to 15 Chinese students. They are in what we call an accelerated English class because of their high English level. For 10 days I teach them basic aviation vocabulary and concepts and review reading skills that they will need when they begin studying for their PPL (Private Pilot License), the first step in flight training. (Followed by Instrument training, commercial pilot license and eventually, Airline Transport Pilot license.) The students also take a 10 day listening course and a 10 day course in Radio Telephony, where they learn how to talk to ATC and other pilots on the radio.

So if you ever need to know about the principles of a jet engine, how to use the flight control surfaces of an airplane or how a hydraulic system functions in an aircraft, I’m the girl to see. Scary, isn’t it? Especially ironic that I am actually afraid to fly in a small airplane!

Later I will tell you more about the academy itself.


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