Skip to main content

A Long Sitting

Time for a brief posting as outside, the world turns steadily whiter with the arrival of cold high pressure weather from the heart of Siberia.

In a week's time I could be finally free of written exams after two years. Over at Gatwick I have the last two remaining CAA theory exams to sit for my instrument rating, to add to all those that I previously sat for my commercial pilot's license. Ironically, I've probably sat almost the same exams before, Meteorology and Airframes, Electronics and Instrumentation but the CAA in its wisdom, rather than test on 'differences' between the ratings, (e.g polar streographic navigation) insists on throwing the entire kitchen sink at the poor candidate all over again.

Once the theory is out of the way, then it's fifty hours in the simulator and the real-thing before I can take the multi-engine flight test on instruments; likely to be the second most stressful experience of my life after having passed the original commercial flight test last July.

The other week, I was asked to fly the twin-engined Cougar back to Rochester from Andrewfield and when you are on your own, it's amazing how rusty one becomes moving between the more complex aircraft types after a period of not flying one. In fact, the biggest hurdle was the 'all singing and dancing' Garmin GNS430 comms and navigation integrated GPS unit but thankfully, I've now found a PC simulator for the damned thing and I'm alot happier with it.

The bitter cold weather that day also caught me 'on the hop'. I ran through the engine start sequence on the checklist, primed the left engine and pressed the start button; nothing happened. OK, so perhaps I'm an idiot, so I try exactly the same on the right engine; nothing happens.

I sit there for a good ten minutes wondering what on earth I might have done wrong before I give up and call-in some help. The answer, the cold weather has flattened the aircraft's battery and the only solution is to call an engineer in from maintenace to jump the battery, much the same as an car. So when the left engine starts, I can start the right engine and then finally taxi out to the runway and head for home.

My biggest project this year, the 2009 ecrime congress is coming along nicely for next month. I had a long chat last week with a Radio 4 presenter about a programme that the BBC will be doing on the subject and explained that whatever we try and do to mitigate the impact of online crime, we are always behind the curve in an arms race with very well funded and highly organised criminal interests across the globe.

So that's my Blog entry for the day done. Back to the revision I suppose. What I'm going to do when I finally stop having to study, I don't know. I'm sure it will be a shock.

Popular posts from this blog

Civilisational Data Mining

It’s a new expression I haven’t heard before. ‘Civilisational data mining.’

Let me start by putting it in some context. Every character, you or I have typed into the Google search engine or Facebook over the last decade, means something, to someone or perhaps ‘something,’ if it’s an algorithm.


In May 2014, journalists revealed that the United States National Security Agency, the NSA, was recording and archiving every single cell-phone conversation that took place in the Bahamas. In the process they managed to transform a significant proportion of a society’s day to day interactions into unstructured data; valuable information which can of course be analysed, correlated and transformed for whatever purpose the intelligence agency deems fit.

And today, I read that a GOP-hired data company in the United States has ‘leaked’ personal information, preferences and voting intentions on… wait for it… 198 million US citizens.

Within another decade or so, the cost of sequencing the human genome …

The Nature of Nurture?

Recently, I found myself in a fascinating four-way Twitter exchange, with Professor Adam Rutherford and two other science-minded friends The subject, frequently regarded as a delicate one, genetics and whether there could exist an unknown but contributory genetic factor(s) or influences in determining what we broadly understand or misunderstand as human intelligence.

I won’t discuss this subject in any great detail here, being completely unqualified to do so, but I’ll point you at the document we were discussing, and Rutherford’s excellent new book, ‘A Brief History of Everyone.”

What had sparked my own interest was the story of my own grandfather, Edmond Greville; unless you are an expert on the history of French cinema, you are unlikely to have ever hear of him but he still enjoys an almost cult-like following for his work, half a century after his death.

I've been enjoying the series "Genius" on National Geographic about the life of Albert Einstein. The four of us ha…
The Mandate of Heaven

eGov Monitor Version

“Parliament”, said my distinguished friend “has always leaked like a sieve”.

I’m researching the thorny issue of ‘Confidence in Public Sector Computing’ and we were discussing the dangers presented by the Internet. In his opinion, information security is an oxymoron, which has no place being discussed in a Parliament built upon the uninterrupted flow of information of every kind, from the politically sensitive to the most salacious and mundane.

With the threat of war hanging over us, I asked if MPs should be more aware of the risks that surround this new communications medium? More importantly, shouldn’t the same policies and precautions that any business might use to protect itself and its staff, be available to MPs?

What concerns me is that my well-respected friend mostly considers security in terms of guns, gates and guards. He now uses the Internet almost as much as he uses the telephone and the Fax machine and yet the growing collective t…