Archive for the ‘DG’ Category

Dangerous Gringo

February 7, 2008

The last few days have been busy, but not too busy.  I wasn’t sure what to expect when I found out that I had to get a South African validation for my pilot’s ratings, but at least so far I seem to have overestimated what it was going to take.  I expected to be in classes from 8am or so until 5 or 6 in the pm.  Every day so far, the classes have started at 9 (ish) and have been done by no later than 2pm.  The classes so far have been not much to speak of. 

Monday and Tuesday were taken up by “CRM” classes.  The classes had very little practical application of anything.  Most of the time was spent by listening to the instructor try to remember details of flying 747’s and other big planes for various airlines that don’t exist anymore.  I was hoping for a bit more real world type scenarios and other useful things rather than just listening to mildly amusing tales that occasionally drifted into Afrikaans.  As I sat there, I was thinking how angry I would have been if I had to pay to take the class as many in the room had to.

Most of the other people in the class were “contract pilots” (as I suppose I sort of am) for various companies around Africa.  Many of them had to pay for the training out of their own pockets rather than having the training paid for by the company as is the norm in the US.  One told me that it was a good thing for them to do it that way so they wouldn’t be obligated to their employer for a specific period of time to pay back the training costs. 

Today was a class on DG (dangerous goods).  The instructor read the manual we had been given word for word.  Matt Payne could make a mint if he wanted to come to South Africa to teach DG.  Pepe and Larry (the Venezuelans) rode with me to the class which was about 20 kilometers away from the lodge where we are staying.  They started to call me “DG”, which stood for “Dangerous Gringo” in reference to my LA style combat-mode driving (which seems to work well here as long as I remember to stay on the left side of the road).