Thursday, 5 April 2012


Where did March go?

I sit here, completely run down with a head cold and utterly exhausted after a relentless month (my doctor informed me yesterday that my left eardrum is bleeding a little, to top it all off).

I had to put away everything - personal life, family, writing, exercising...all in an effort to run the gauntlet of Emergency Procedures training that all pilots and cabin crew must pass in order to fly above the clouds.

There was a twist in my story though.

I was part of an initial flight attendant course - and I had to sit all the exams and the practical drills, but I was there as a 'trainee trainer'. For those of you out there who think flight attendant school consists of learning how to serve food and beverages in the sky - think again! The first four weeks of the course is all about dealing with emergencies at 40,000ft.

Crash landings, ditchings (landing on water), inflight fires, depressurisations, dealing with door and exit malfunctions, pilots who are incapacitated, post-crash survival, and I can keep what occurs every nine hour work day during the course. The pass mark for written exams is 80%, and in other assessments, only 100% will be deemed a pass. (In my case, as a new Aviation Safety Instructor, it was expected that I ace them all - no was a cinch...really...(gulp). Some don't make it, and tears are shed, tempers sometimes fray, but the pressure-cooker environment is purposely crafted to see what crew are made of in the event of an emergency.

Sitting at my desk now, at the tail end of it, I have to say it was an awesome month. The pressure was immense and the scenarios were grim, but working with the new recruits (who you can't help but bond with over the course of the journey), and working with my fellow instructors - who range from former soldiers, fire fighters, flight attendants, pilots, school teachers, air marshals and other fascinating backgrounds, made March a crazy, intense, cortisol-increasing month, but one that was well worth the journey.

Coming from instructing crew in aviation first aid and security (anti-terrorism), to now being on the journey to becoming an emergency procedures instructor, it makes the non-writing part of my life feel incredibly worthwhile.

Having said that, I am looking forward to getting stuck back into my novel right after the Easter break. As broken as I feel now, I have been reinvigorated creatively and I'm excited about the next few months - I am also at the tentative beginnings of creating an 'author website'.

But, in the meantime, whether you celebrate Easter or not, eats loads of chocolate and get out amongst it all with your loved ones - that's what I'll be doing.