The World's Most Expensive Fill Up

Planes have huge fuel tanks to enable them to fly far. The tanks are in the wings and sometimes behind the forward cargo compartment. The center tank of the Boeing 777 is so big that you can stand up and walk around in it. So how much does it cost to fill her up?

Today I followed the HZ-AKC for refueling. The refueling process is quite lengthy. It took almost an hour to tow the aircraft out, refuel and re dock it back into the hangar. But I’ll talk about the refueling process since it’s pretty interesting. I don’t have pictures to show but I’ve got some diagrams to simplify things.


The grey shaded areas are fuel tanks.

First, in order to refuel the aircraft, it must be towed to a suitable refueling area. Planes cannot be refueled in the hangars because it’s dangerous. In case of a fire, you might lose the plane and the hangar altogether. Once the plane is at a suitable area, ground power is applied so the plane’s computers can operate the refueling valves.

Next, the bowser comes. The bowser is a mobile fuel pump. The one we used today obtained its supply of fuel from underground storage tanks. Some carry their own supply in big tanks, like those petrol tankers you see on the road. The bowser will connect its hoses to the refueling nozzle. But wait. How do you know how much you want?


The refueling panel with the 2 hoses connected.

Now this is the interesting part. You actually tell the plane how much fuel you want and then the plane will calculate and allocate the correct amount to each tanks (right, left and center). The bowser, unlike normal petrol pumps that supply a fixed amount of fuel (say RM50), will keep on pumping until the plane stops the fuel flow by closing the refueling valves. There is a meter on the bowser that tells how much fuel has been transferred so they will know how much to charge. So basically the plane’s computer will be in charge of the whole refueling process. The bowser pumps fuel pretty fast. It will transfer 20 liters or more in about 1 second.

I thought JET A1 was cheap. Turns out its not. It costs RM4+ per liter. And today we filled in 55 tons of JET A1. Assuming the average specific gravity of 0.79, that amounts to almost 70000liters (69620) of JET A1!! And at RM4 per liter, that’s RM280k worth of fuel! That’s more than a quarter of a million! And jet engines burn fuel pretty fast.

According to an engineer, the 747 uses 4 tons of fuel for take-off for ONE of its engines. So that means 16 tons of fuel is needed by the 747 just for take-off and to reach cruising altitude. While cruising, ONE engine drinks up 1 ton of fuel every hour, so that makes 4 tons per hour. 55 tons of fuel will give a 747 close to 10 hours of flight including take-off. RM280k for 10 hours. I wonder how airaisa makes money.

Pilots are usually the ones who calculate the amount of fuel needed for a journey. They will take in just about enough for the trip. Too much will slow the plane down and waste fuel and they have to dump fuel if the plane is too heavy for landing, too little and you’ll never reach your destination. They will let the bowser know how much fuel they want, but the company will be paying for it. Continue reading

Fast weekend

Time flies when you’re sleeping till noon everyday. I’m back in KL once again. Today is my mum’s birthday so that’s the reason why I was back in Kuching. Happy birthday mum! We got her a Nokia 6300 because her old phone constantly turn itself off.


Couldn’t believed how thin it was until I actually held it in my hands.

Someone complained about my toyol post the other day (and in the process, I lost a loyal reader) so I will TRY not to post any more nightmare-inducing posts. Seriously, I’ve never been confronted by a toyol before so I guess it’s up to you to believe if they really exist or not. If you think they are real, they are. What’s that behind you? :P

I cannot post any pictures up because I got locked out of my own FTP account! I don’t know how that happened but it happened. So now I cannot upload pictures until I can find my host. So you won’t be seeing my latest project anytime soon. Or any pictures for that matter.

I was listening to Rick Dees on the way back from PJ when I heard them discussing the movie “Sleepaway Camp” which has the best ending of all times. It will definitely be worth watching if it can beat the ending of “Wild Things”.

Something I found on youtube. Either the guy is stupid or he’s never been stoned before. But either way, he was never charged. Which reminds me of our own Malaysian policemen. Sometimes you see them speeding, making illegal u-turns (with their sirens off, i.e. not in a hurry) and I wonder if they ever think of how the public look at them when they do something like that.

Back to work tomorrow! Continue reading

In Kuching Once More

I realized I haven’t been talking much about work lately. Problem is, it’s getting very routine for me so I don’t find it very special anymore. Not to say it’s getting boring, I still learn new things everyday and will be doing so for the rest of my career.


HZ-AKC

The plane that I’ve been working on is the Saudi Arabian 777, registration HZ-AKC. I’ve been working on the right wing of this plane and for the last few days we were doing functional tests since the aircraft is going out. This is also the time where the flight controls are rigged/calibrated/adjusted. Any defects found now such as leaks from hydraulic pipe lines or inoperable units will be troubleshooted and rectified.


Another view of the HZ-AKC.

Today we did the rigging of the ailerons. Hydraulic power is applied in order to do the rigging. People in the cockpit must be very careful not to turn the control wheel, else the ailerons might move unexpectedly (once the test is finished and if hydraulic pressure is still being supplied because during the test, the computer does not take into account the position the control wheel is in) and cause damage to equipment or injuries to persons.

Anyways, straight after work I took the bus to KLIA and boarded the 630PM flight back to Kuching. I swear if I take another flight back to Kuching, I’ll be able to remember which parts of the sky the route uses. But of course, it’s worth coming back for the laksa and kolo mee and the gubak mee and the matterhorn and the midin and the fried oyster and many more.

I forgot to bring my phone charger back. Don’t bother calling until I can find a way to charge my phone. And now it’s time to go watch LOST season 3 episode 21. Continue reading

Toyols

My friend told me of his encounter with the unknown and unexplained this morning. It was 4am and he was awake lying on his bed when he heard his wallet being opened. Since his wallet is the Velcro type, you can clearly hear a sound when you open the wallet. And he keeps his wallet beside him.


“A curious fisherman had found the bottle on Tuesday on the shores of a coastal village, believing that what he saw in it was a toyol.” Full article here.

So he was falling asleep when he heard the ripping sound, not once, not twice, but 3 times. He grabbed his legs to make sure he’s not dreaming. Sensing that SOMETHING is trying to steal his money, he grabbed his jacket and blindly whacked at the thing. Needless to say, it was like hitting thin air. When he switched on the lights, there was nothing to be seen. He did recall however seeing a dark shadow. He can only assume it was a toyol doing its master’s biddings. So what is a toyol?


IT IS BELIEVED THAT THE ANAK KERAK IS A FOETUS OF A STILLBORN BABY OR A CORPSE OF A BABY KILLED BEFORE THE AGE OF 1.THE CORPES OR THE FOETUS ISSMOKED TO SHRINK AND THEN INVOKED FOR SEVERAL PURPOSES SUCH AS FOR HEALING RITUALS AND CARRYING OUT EVIL DEEDS LIKE STEALING.THE MOST IMPORTANT CRITERIA FOR THE ANAK KERAK WILL BE THE BABY MUST BE A FIRST-BORN CHILD FROM THE FIRST-BORN PARENTS. THIS PARTICULAR 70 YEARS OLD ANAK KERAK IS BELIEVED TO BE FROM PATTANI,THAILAND.HE WAS SAID TO BE BORN ON TUESDAY AND WAS PROCESSED AT THE OF FIVE MONTHS.HE MUST BE CAREFULLY TAKEN CARE TO AVOID HIM FROM EATING HIS OWNER.THUS,ALL NECESSITIES SUCH AS A CRADLE,MOSQUITO NET,PILLOW,MATTRES AND A FEEDING WITH MILK MUST BE PROVIDED. (From http://www.seekers-malaysia.com/?p=539)

Taken from Toyol@Everything2.com:


The toyol is a mischievous creature popular in Malay and Indonesian myths. Bearing some similarities to leprechauns in Irish legends and the bad elves of English stories, toyols are commonly blamed for any missing or misplaced items.

Toyols are spirits who do the bidding of certain humans who control them. In this aspect they resemble the genies of Arabia, but toyols are more likely to be spirits of children (like still-born infants) rather than of men. Older toyols are more vicious than infant toyols, and have a greater tendency towards violence.

There is a price for having your own toyol. You have to feed it with your blood at regular intervals. Chicken blood may suffice for some of the less fussy toyols. Some people claim that the toyol’s appetite would increase as they perform more and more tasks, until the point where they may require fresh blood from an entire human adult to satisfy their craving. (Think of the bloodthirsty Venus Flytrap in Little Shop of Horrors: “Feed me, Seymour!”) Sometimes toyols will accept money in place of blood.

In return, toyols do every bidding of their master, from petty mischief and creating inconvenience for enemies to robbery and even murder. Toyols require a “salary” equal to the task at hand, that is, if you require the toyol to turn the entire house upside down and kill the watchdog as well, then you will need to pay the toyol a certain sum of money as well as feed it with enough fresh blood to keep it happy. If toyols aren’t kept happy, there is a chance that they will turn against their masters. Otherwise they are fiercely loyal and may even defend the master’s honour without being told to.

To get your own toyol, you will need to obtain a still-born foetus or the body of a dead child. The services of a bomoh (Malay witch doctor) is required for the resurrection of the body, which will thereafter obey you. Some people keep their toyols in large clay jars. Toyols are transferable and sometimes roam freely about, so it might be possible to enslave a free toyol with the right black magic.

Due to the fact that toyols have bodies that should be dead, they usually have skin with a greenish or bluish hue, and eyes that are red. It has small sharp teeth with which to feed, and might have long messy hair. Toyols are not known to fly, but they are very good at hiding from humans. There are no known warning signs that a toyol is about, except that things go missing often. Toyols may also suck on the big toes of people who are sleeping, so sometimes small bite marks are also indications that a toyol was present (although I’d rather suspect a mosquito was at work).

To stop a toyol from disturbing you, you can either try to catch the toyol using mice traps or engage the services of a more powerful bomoh than the one who resurrected the toyol in the first place. Making peace with the neighbour whom you suspect the toyol belongs to is also a good move to make.

Scary huh? We’ll see if there’s any more updates tomorrow. Continue reading

Langkawi – The Island

Sorry for the lack of updates. I have been very busy with my latest project. And I’ll be flying back to Kuching again this weekend so I won’t have much time these few days. Anyways, on with the 2nd part of our Langkawi Trip. On this installment, I will show you a few places on the island that we went to. Trust me, staying there for 3 days is not enough to tour the whole island. Good excuse to go again.


What’s so great about Langkawi? Even if you’re not a drinker, the thought of duty free liquor and chocolates will definitely turn you alcoholic.

We reached our hotel room at 12pm and surprisingly enough, they let us check in at 12pm. We had lunch at Kuah town and after a brief walk around Kuah, some of us went to take a quick nap, waking up just in time for dinner.


Hotel Malaysia. It’s no 5-star hotel but you get aircond, hot water, 6 beds for RM80 per night. Will recommend if you need a room to sleep only.


Roughly how the room looks like. 2 queen size bed and 2 single mattress. The mattress were actually complimentary.


Having lunch at one of the kopitiam at Kuah town. Freaking hot day by the way.


Driving to Cenang Beach.

On the first night, we went to have a look at Cenang beach. It was packed full with tourists. We managed to find a public beach and we decided to stop by there to have a few drinks. The next thing I know I wake up in the hotel room the next day. Actually no. It didn’t happen that way.


Marina near cable car area.

The next day we set off after lunch to visit some of the famous places in Langkawi. We didn’t cover a lot of places so there’ll be a second trip there some time in the future. But we did manage to get a ride on the cable car that brings you to the top of Langkawi.


The cars actually travel quite fast.


Leaving base camp.


The bridge over troubled waters valleys. The bridge sways with the wind and you can distinctively feel it move.


On the bridge, looking at the top most cable car station. There are 3 stations: the base station, the mid station and the top station. You can get down anywhere you want.


Not for the faint-hearted or those scared of heights who are in the same gondola as those who like to test how much you can swing before the car falls from the cable.


Panoramic view of the journey from the base station. Click for bigger picture (956KB).

The view at the top is simply astonishing. You can see everything and it’s simply awesome. If you go to Langkawi and you only can visit one place, this is the place to visit. If this place doesn’t exist, then wait no more and head on over to the go kart track, which is our next destination.


Just after rain. Click for larger version (1MB).


Enjoying cendol beside the runway.

Oh wait, I lied. We went for cendol first. Even though we see planes everyday, we went to this place beside the runway to eat cendol pulut and see planes. The cendol pulut wasn’t as nice. It would be nice without the pulut. Then again, it won’t be called the cendol pulut anymore if there wasn’t any pulut in the cendol.


Cendol with pulut.


Karting.

We went for karting at this go kart track near the airport. It’s supposedly a world class track. We were lucky because we started the race dry but halfway it started raining so everyone was understeering/drifting at the end of the race. The track was so wet that even by stepping on the throttle can cause the rear wheels to spin and initiate a drift.


Making sand octopus.

We dropped by at Aquaria but didn’t go in because we reckoned that there wasn’t enough time to fully explore the place. This will be the number 1 place that we will go the next time we are at Langkawi. We then dropped by at the Cenang beach for a swim.


Everyone watching the match between ManU and Everton.

That night (28 April) was the night when Man U played Everton. We started watching after halftime with Man U losing 1-0 and then Everton scored another, making it 2-0. We thought it was over for Man U. What we witnessed after that was probably one of the greatest, most inspiring comeback I’ve ever seen. Can’t believe they managed a 4-2 win after being 2-0 down.


Playing pool below our hotel.

That night we took the car out to drive around Langkawi to use up the remaining fuel. A Gen2 is not a good drift car. Someone suggested waking up at 4am the next day to see the sun rise. It didn’t happen. We woke up 8 hours late, just in time to check out and head over to the jetty to return the car and wait for our ferry.


Having lunch at KFC near the jetty.


Waiting for the ferry.


Ferry ride back. Watched some static on TV while in the ferry.


Waiting for the train back to KL.

After reaching KL at 7am, everyone was exhausted. It was rumoured that they slept until 3pm while me and Alvin took the 3pm flight back to Kuching. Overall it was a fun trip. Although not many places were visited, this was the first time I’m in Langkawi and it was a unique experience. Nothing beats going on holiday with your friends ;) Continue reading