Monday, May 26, 2014

My Romantic Affair with Emma Roe

Before I begin, let me calm you down by explaining that Emma Roe is not human. She is, however, very very beautiful. She, is the lost Malaysia Airlines 777, bearing registration 9M-MRO (MRO, Emma Roe, get it?). 

I am writing this before all records of my documented affair with 9M-MRO are lost. As a pilot, I note down all the hours, the destinations, captains, and registration of aircrafts that I operate. I hope what I write here will be passed on to my kids knowledge, then to their own kids, the next generation, and so on. For I am proud to have flown 9M-MRO a total of 32 times, from 2007 to 2013. I spent hundreds of hours being in that 777, and to destinations all over the world. I will also include the only one flight I flew with Captain Zaharie, though it was not in 9M-MRO. 

I will now try to remember the details of my flights as a co-pilot in 9M-MRO, though I won't be able to remember everything. Make yourself comfortable, get a mug of hot chocolate, make sure it is raining outside, and, here we go...

I first met, and took control of 9M-MRO (referred to "her" or "she" from here onwards), on the 16th of July 2007. It was my only third flight on the 777, as FO Fariq was, on the fateful MH370. The destination was Pudong International Airport, Shanghai, China. Yes, my third flight on 777 was also to China, as FO Fariq was. He went to Beijing, I went to Shanghai. Our names differs by only the last letter. My captain on that flight was Captain Muhammad Azmi, a close friend of Captain Zaharie. I remember performing a very, very hard landing in Shanghai. My judgement for landing was still wrong as prior to the 777, I had been flying the much smaller 737-400 for two years. I logged 5 hours 23 minutes in her that day.

My next flight in her was October 3rd, 2007 to Zurich, Switzerland. Captain Syed Zaid was in command, and as the flight took more than 12 hours, there were two sets of pilots operating her (two captains and two co-pilots). The other co-pilot is my best buddy, Afif Azhanee. Can't remember the details of the flight, but Afif and I had the time of our lives, spending two splendid days in Zurich. 12 hours and 2 minutes airborne in her.

Third flight with her was only 9 days later, on the 3rd of October 2007. It was the first time I flew her back to KL. Took off from Frankfurt with Captain Mohd Seth, and 11 hours 44 minutes later, we docked at the gate of KLIA terminal. I cannot recall anything interesting that happened on MH 5 that day. Interestingly, 8 days later, I met Emma Roe again. This time in Johannesburg, South Africa.. 

I was waiting for her patiently at the terminal of the airport. Minutes passed, it looked like a delay for sure. The station manager came to us and informed that there was a thunderstorm approaching the airport, and that the flight couldn't make an approach for safety reason. In the end, the pilots diverted her to Durban, a city few hundred kilometers to south east of Johannesburg. Since my captains and I started our duty when we reached the airport, we can't wait for her to return to Johannesburg and continue flying to KL. Pilots have their limits as how long we can be in duty. So, another night in Johannesburg. Flight retimed to the next day, and we flew her safely to KLIA for a duration of 10 hours and 12 minutes, with Captain Andrew Lim in command.

The next three flight with 9M-MRO was very much uneventful. From Melbourne to KL (14th November 2007), then KL to Auckland on 26th December 2007, and the flight from Auckland back to KL two days laters was also in her. Those three down south destinations concluded my affair with her in 2007.

Wow, that is only 7 flights out of 32 flights with her! Hmmm, I think I should make this into few chapters. One or two chapters for each year. My affair with her in 2008 coming up in a couple of days. In the mean time, Emma Roe, wherever you are, keep your crews and passengers warm. For all we know, she is still in one piece, providing the best comfort as she did to me the past 7 years...