Notes on flying in Seletar Airport and Singapore Training Areas

Having obtained my FAA PPL earlier this year, I decided to join Seletar Flying Club (SFC) to maintain my flying proficiency and to also rent aircraft to bring friends and family up to the skies.

Before I can rent SFC’s planes to fly others, I have to complete a checkout flight with the club’s instructor to familiarise myself with SFC’s planes as well as the Singapore’s airspace and local procedures at Seletar Airport.

From left, SFC’s instructor Eric, myself and my training buddy Davinder when I was in the US.

After all, my knowledge have all been based on the way the Americans (FAA) do things which will likely differ from how Singapore (ICAO) work.

This blog post was originally meant for my personal notes for how does a General Aviation pilot fly within Singapore from Seletar Airport but I thought why not share it as well as such information seems to be quite scarce online. I’ll also try to list out the differences I learned between FAA and ICAO style.


Conference Emcee Experience: GopherconSG 2019

If you asked me 2 months ago whether I would be a conference emcee, the answer would be a clear no. But here 2 months later, I managed to pull off being the conference emcee at GopherconSG 2019.

Making the initial welcome address to the audience before passing over to the Conference Chairperson Sau Sheong.


Aviation FAQ from my friends

Ever since I got my Private Pilot’s License (PPL), my friends have inundated me with many aviation questions. So I decided, why not compile everything into a blog post?

With my PPL, I only have the lowest-rated license among the many others higher up the chain, instrument, commercial, airline etc so I’m actually least qualified to answer them but I’ll try the best I can.

Many people’s experience with aviation this days especially in Singapore are only as passengers on commercial airliners. Especially since exposure to General Aviation (GA) in SG is extremely limited relative to the US or Europe. Or worse, shaped through the media and military movies with those fancy CGI aerobatics.

Aviation does not seem to be seen much as a possible hobby thing in this side of the world. So no surprise many questions and misconceptions have surfaced to me.


I became a Private Pilot and this is my story: Part (1/2) in Singapore

I finally got my Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Private Pilot Certificate or Private Pilot License (PPL)! It seems so surreal, but I can actually fly a plane with my family and friends. This journey was almost a year in the making which I made immense sacrifices in time, money and much more. 

With my San Diego Flying Training International (SDFTI) instructors Charles and Luke on the Cessna 172R (N2441E) which I did my first lesson, solo and checkride on.

With my training buddy Davinder

Capt Kumeran from Flightschool.SG who gave me foundation training in the Redbird MCX simulator.

My journey is so long that I have to break it into 2 different blog posts:


I became a Private Pilot and this is my story: Part (2/2) in San Diego

This post continues from Part 1 of my Private Pilot training journey. This part details the flying portion I did in San Diego, USA. It’s divided into the following sections:

So let’s begin my journey!

Arrival in San Diego (14 Nov 2018)

Davinder and I managed to complete the local program so we took the plunge and made our way to San Diego.

Montgomery Gibbs Executive Airport (KMYF) as seen in our incoming flight to San Diego International Airport.

We finally set eyes on the airport that we will train at for the next 2.5 months!


Reflections after 2 weeks of PPL Training in the US

2 weeks ago, I put my life on hold in Singapore to come over to the birthplace of aviation to achieve a life-long dream to fly a plane.

As expected, learning to fly a plane is nowhere near as simple as just taking up car driving lessons for example. Behind the videos I have posted on social media so far of my practical lessons, hides the countless hours of mundane but very important theory lessons I have to attend.


Why I use the IBM Model M keyboard that is older than me?

The last primary keyboard I’ll use in my life might be the IBM Model M. It’ll probably last me the decades to the day that keyboards should become obsolete. – Kheng Meng, 2018

I just had to start my blog post with that self quote ^^^ but I’m pretty confident it’ll hold true for me. I have owned several keyboards so far and I have to say the Model M with its legendary buckling-spring switch is the one that fits my needs perfectly for the foreseeable future. This blog post was indeed also written on the Model M.

All the mechanical keyboards I have owned so far

From top-left anti-clockwise:

Manufacturer Model Manufacturing Date Keyswitch
Unicomp Spacesaver 104 Black 20 July 2011 Membrane Buckling Spring
Unicomp Spacesaver 104 White 8 June 2016 Membrane Buckling Spring
IBM Model F XT (variant for IBM 5155 Portable) Some time in 1984 Capacitive Buckling Spring
IBM Model M 19 May 1987 Membrane Buckling Spring
Lexmark Model M 3 Feb 1994 Membrane Buckling Spring
Filco Majestouch MINILA Air Some time in 2014 Cherry MX Brown

Note that Unicomp has renamed the “Spacesaver” product line to “Ultra Classic”.


A Science Project: “Make the 486 Great Again!” – Modern Linux in an ancient PC

What is the oldest x86 processor that is still supported by a modern Linux kernel in present time?

I asked the above quiz question during the Geekcamp tech conference in Nov 2017 during my emcee role. The theoretical answer as you can glean from the title of this post is the 486 which was first released in 1989. I determined that fact from this article where support for the 386 was dropped in Dec 2012.

To get you interested, here is the result of my effort.

The white smudge on the screen is not the camera’s fault, there is really a backlight problem with my old 19″ monitor.

You can skip to 11:39 when the boot completes.

00:00 to 00:46 – BIOS

00:46 to 11:39 – Bootup. It takes almost 11mins to bootup!

11:39 to 13:14 – System specs, IP info and ALSA mixer

13:14 to 15:00 – Playing music via Sound Blaster 16

15:00 to 17:25 – SSH while playing (stuttering) music in the background. With AlsaMixer adjusting volume.

17:25 to 17:48 – Opening a webpage hosted by nginx.

18:10 to 20:13 – Git clone a repo.

20:13 to 21:13 – Using Python 3.6.3

21:13 to 21:43 – Cleanup and issue shutdown command

21:43 to End – Shutdown. It takes 5.5 mins to shutdown!

Interested in how I got a modern Linux kernel 4.14.8 (released in December 2017) to run on this ancient PC? Read on!