Tag Archives: PPL

Blessings

The new year began well. Wifey has been getting her bearings of the new town. It’s a small rural town with many military retirees. She’s figured it out with the help of Uber as I’m working most of the time. 

We had a new addition to the family this month. We thank God for blessings. The bundle of joy is quite a handful. Many nights with only a couple of hours sleep is the order of the day. He’s loving it at our expense. 

It was only two months before birth when wifey got here but the military insurance has been a blessing. It’s called TRICARE and to say its sorted us out would be an understatement. It’s been there for prenatal visits for the two months, delivery and now the paediatric visits. I’m be forever grateful to the Airforce for being there for me when I needed it. Insurance is ridiculously expensive here. 

Some people have asked about insurance options here. I didn’t have insurance for the year before I joined the Air Force. Luckily  I didn’t make a lot of money to be penalized by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) when I filed my taxes . You are penalized according to your income at the end of the year for not having insurance. Luckily for me the $300 a month deductible wasn’t an option. It was too expensive and I thank God I didn’t need to go to hospital during that period. 

Flying is going on well, I just completed my first solo flight. I take flying lessons once a week on the weekends and so far it’s been good. It’s a great experience. Combining college classes for my undergrad aeronautics  and flying hasn’t been easy and is kicking my behind. They said chasing dreams has never been easy so will keep working at it.  

Financing the flying is affordable too so I’m grateful for the endless opportunities moving to the US brings. It’s the main reason we made the decision to come here. 

There is a new Sheriff in town but so far it’s been ok for Kenyans save for a case I read about a girl being sent back to Nairobi after landing in Chicago. They went thru her stuff,  checked her phone and denied her entry and put her on the next flight out. 

The military loooooves the new Sheriff but as an immigrant there is alot of negative anti immigration vibe going around. There must be an uneasy feeling for those who are here illegally as they don’t know what the future will bring. The dreaded Immigration & Customs Enforcement aka ICE have been making the rounds detaining illegal immigrants and initiating removal proceedings. Even for legal immigrants holding green cards,  they must be on their toes about the fine print in the travel ban. I did refugee resettlement for many years back in Nairobi and the refugees admitted here are more than what the rest of the world does combined. The security checks by US security agencies is sometimes frustrating to the refugees but they are necessary in today’s insecure world. It’s been a country of immigrants and believe it’ll continue to be in long run despite the current situation. 

One year down,  three to go in my Air Force contract. It’s been a good year. To another great year ahead and what it brings. 

Interesting observations about Americans

I’ve been in this beautiful country for slightly over 2 years now and I’ve noticed some things that weren’t very common back in Kenya.

The first is how common buying new cars on credit is. I first noticed this trend when I was in technical school in the bunduz of Texas. Young airmen straight out of high school were buying $ 20,000 cars without a care in the world. That surprised me. Most didn’t have a lot of money or very good credit history but that didn’t stop them. They were getting into a life of debt very early in life. They would be offering rides for gas on base after spending their whole paycheck financing those hot 5 liter engine cars.

The number of car dealerships that were willing to sell to these young airmen surprised me. As I’ve moved to my new base I’ve realized it’s not a young airmen thing but a general culture with the populace. 

There are very many affordable used cars that wouldn’t dent one’s finances that much but I guess I think like a Kenyan who wants to save for a rainy day instead of blowing it all on a 2017 Subaru WRX that will set me back $500-600 a month for years inclusive of comprehensive insurance.

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to own a brand new car but you can have a nice car for less and have some change without having to dig yourself deeper into debt.

It’s not uncommon to see people change cars in a short period of time. They just refinance their loans and get the next newer, faster rides and with it becoming financial prisoners of the lending institutions.

Most people swipe credit cards wherever they go but a study I read the other day said a very small population of Americans is capable of raising $1,000 if an emergency arose. 

I guess it’s good having come from a different country with a smaller economy and maybe a different way of doing things.

The other observation is eating out all the time or most of the time. The hospitality industry in this country makes a killing. People have fast food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not all but the queues you see at fast food joints says a lot about those habits. Dining restaurant’s parking lots are typically full during meal times and especially on the weekends.

I try to avoid the temptations that come with peer pressure. Everyone at work going out for lunch and you head home to make a quick meal. It’s not easy sometimes and it does get expensive when you do the maths. In the end is well worth it.

It’s also unhealthy and this is more evident in my fellow airmen who you see struggle with their physical tests. Bulging waist lines and panting on the track like they are about to collapse. If only they would make changes to their burger and fries choices they’d avoid ‘fat camp’. That’s where they send you if you fail your PT test as we call it. 1.5 mile run, less than 35 inch waist line, 60ish pushups and sit ups is the standard test for the Air Force.

You’d think it would be easy but you’ll be surprised at the number of obese service members.

Those two observations have really stood out since I’ve been in this country.

In other news I’m getting my flying time in and it’s so much fun. I fly twice a week and hopefully should be done with the Private license by early next year.

Third Class Medical

I finally got my medical and student pilot certificate today from the Lieutenant Colonel on base who is a certified Aviation Medical Examiner (AME). It’s valid for 5 years. The dream continues.

I went to the local flying school a couple of months ago and got all the information I needed towards starting my Private Pilot License (PPL) certification. You see even with the GI Bill which is the military veteran benefit that attracted me to the Air Force, I still need to have a PPL in order for VA (Veteran Affairs) to pay for my flight training.

The nice lady at the airport informed me a doctor on base does aviation exams at no cost. I called up the hospital and they just took me around in circles and finally told me the aviation doctor only does renewals for those renewing medical certificates. 

School was starting around the same time so I got busy with classes and school work and relegated the medical to the back burner.

Until last week when it hit me that I needed to get going with that PPL. I called the flying school and spoke to the main boss. Surprise, surprise..I was misled by the hospital..they do 3rd class medicals on base after all..what the..she even have me the name of the only Colonel on base who does them for military pilots here. I was in luck.

Third Class is for pilot students, second class for commercial pilots carrying under 19 passengers and first class is for airline transport pilot license.

I called the flight medicine department early this week and voila..got a quick appointment. I only had to do my Federal Aviation Administration(FAA) medical pre application, get a confirmation number and do a urinalysis before then. I downed a liter of water and headed to the hospital lab immediately. I gave a urine sample and was on my way.

I reported early for my medical. Waited for a bit and was sent for a hearing test. I’ve done a couple before but this one felt extra long..luckily I passed with flying colors..you missed the joke? 😝😝..Aah.

Next I did the visual test..reading those tiny letters and numbers while head butting this microscope looking thing. Done. Next was a color test. It was kinda challenging that one..the faded letters in blue, green and purple on faded background did not help. I passed though.

The doctor did a physical..the-breathe-in-breath-out routine, joint reflex, eye exam, questions and finally getting all the info to FAA online.

He gave me the low down. The certificate must be on my person anytime I’m flying or else..

He gave me two original copies. If I  lose them I have to apply to FAA in Oklahoma City for a replacement which takes a while..and finally no copies allowed. Only originals with a wet signature. 

Wished me luck in my flying career and I was on my way..the journey of a thousand miles has started with the first step or maybe the second step. I’m enrolled in Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University already.

Next get the PPL show in the air..buckle up for the long journey ahead.

Your dreams are valid..keep keeping your body, mind and soul on them.✈✈✈

In other news, I drove to a national park hours away on the long labor day weekend a couple of weeks back. Here are a few pictures from that roadtrip.