New Zealand

Entry Info

8th (Mon)
Mar 2010

[day39] The Day I Flew

the day I flewMy last day in New Zealand was a day to remember. I flew. I mean, I took a trial flight in a small Cesena. As New Zealand has quite a few aero clubs and we could try the introductory flight at a very reasonable price, Grant took me to the one of the airports nearby with his family.

This time I tried a double seat Cesena which has a pair of control sticks and pedals. I took one side and the instructor took the other side. As soon as I'd finished checking in, we entered on the cockpit and the instructor gave me a simple lecture about pedals and other controls. And turned on the engine. "Well, can you go to the runway? I told you how to use the pedals." How easygoing he is! Japanese driving instructors would be stricter.

Anyway, I managed to drag the aircraft to the runway and the instructor made the engine at the full throttle. After some seconds of running, he just told me "O.K. Could you pull the lever please?” and so I did. I felt a sort of sensation of losing gravity and off we went. I might be addicted with this feeling.

the day I flewThe aircraft passed the sky of Auckland city and arrived over the ocean. Now we could start playing without the risk of falling into the residential area. Actually controlling the aircrafts is totally different from cars as we are require three dimensions of space recognition. Coincidentally, I knew the words of "yaw", "pitch" and other special words thanks to 3D graphic software. I'd never imagined making use of these words in real life. At the very first, I was quite nervous but flew well after I relaxed.

After getting used to the flying, I asked the instructor to switch the control to him as I wanted to shoot some photos from sky. He agreed but went too far and started an acrobatic flight. Oh man, it's too much service. I just wanted to get some nice photos. Due to the unusual gravity, a little motion sickness attacked me and if we'd flown longer it would've been quite disastrous.

the day I flewAs landing is too difficult for a beginner, it was the time for the instructor. Somewhat surprisingly he landed on the grass not using the runway but his landing was very professional. I felt little impact and the plane landed very smoothly. He showed me the aircraft after this and the analogue meters and structures were surprisingly simple though considering the year of manufacture it was obvious. I suppose the recent hybrid cars would have more complicated structures.

I asked the instructor how much it would cost if I tried to get the real license and his answer was "no more than 10,000NZD". It's a quite good deal indeed. If I tried it in Japan it would cost more than 5 times this. Later, I googled the details of flight licenses and found that we can easily switch the license from other countries to Japanese. Actually not only New Zealand but many countries have flight training programs for foreigners with competitive prices. Well, maybe I'll try it in the future.

Entry Info

Confidence towards EnglishAfter only a 3 hour flight from Melbourne, I arrived at Auckland. You might think 'again!' though, I have friends here actually. This time, I stayed with Grant who is the son of a family with which my mom stayed more than 30 years ago. Cycling along the coast, visiting kids' school, it was like mini homestay. It's great that we've kept in contact through 3 generations so far and I'd like to keep this tradition in the future as well.

Well, I have a very special feeling towards New Zealand. When I visited this country around 15 years ago with my family, I couldn’t communicate with people in English at all even though I was supposed to do so as I’d already started learning English more than a year previously. I was just too shy to utter a single word of greeting. It was quite enjoyable staying though, the strong regret remained in my mind too.

And Grant with whom I stayed in Auckland at this time had in fact helped me to overcome the trauma. In a few years after our visit to New Zealand, he came to Japan with his wife and we went to Tokyo Disney Land together. At the time, my parents were too busy taking care of my younger sisters and they forced me to be a personal guide for Grant and his wife. Considering the circumstances, I must not have kept silent. Although my English was not sophisticated enough, I managed to communicate with them and this event changed my confidence towards English radically.

"No matter how good or bad, I should try to communicate", thanks to the lesson from this experience, English conversation become my favourite subject during my school days. In terms of the 'survival English', I was doing quite well when I started learning English again in Australia though my English hasn't improved yet for some years. Besides, I became painfully aware that I shouldn't be complacent about my English in Australia but it's another story anyway.

All in all, I was so pleased to talk with people in Auckland as I found my improvement. Yeah, no trauma any more.

Confidence towards EnglishGrant told me that nothing had changed in the city but I did walk around the Auckland city centre. As I didn't have clear memories in 15 years, the city looked very new to me. The town which is called the City of Sails had many luxurious yachts in the harbour. I wish I could use such beautiful ships someday.

Confidence towards EnglishWhat's more, I found people in Auckland are very gentle. I'd say, there are so many aggressive people in Australia. Not only the contentious Aboriginal people, but many migrants and pure Aussies, I think they, especially for males, are socially forced to be macho in Australia. On the other hand in New Zealand, everyone I saw there was very relaxed and laid back. Even the officers at the airport were smiling at us. This city could be a great candidate in which to stay after retirement.

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