Posts Tagged ‘Lampedusa’


    From left - Max Farrugia and James Baldacchino - Photo by Fiona Vella (2)Recently, Max Farrugia has donated a collection of 10,500 memorial cards to the National Archives of Malta. I was curious to learn why someone would wish to have such a collection and what was its value to the national archives.

    “Initially, I started this collection in order to pray for the souls of the dead,” revealed Max. “I would separate the memorial cards into sets according to the village or town they came from. Then, each week, my family and I would choose a set, spread the memorial cards on a table and pray for their souls.”

    “We were aware that among those individuals, there were elders who had no one to pray for them and so we did. We also believe that prayers can be passed on to other souls if the person we are praying for is already in heaven. Flowers wither, tears dry out but a prayer is always beneficial.”

    Max succeeded to gather such a huge collection, mostly by word of mouth, and also a touch of luck, here and there.

    004b“I am 73 now and I have been collecting memorial cards for many years. When people learn that you have such an interest, they would generally help you out. I still receive packs of memorial cards in my letter box. Facebook is another great tool for such things. Whenever I post a request for memorial cards, someone will always respond,” he said as he smiled.

    Then there are moments of serendipity.

    “One day, I was attending mass at the chapel of Fort St Angelo and I noticed a memorial card in the sacristan’s hand. I approached him and asked him whether I could have it since I was a collector. He gave it to me eagerly and told me to return within an hour so that he could bring me more. There were 400 memorial cards waiting for me when I returned!”

    Some of the memorial cards in this collection go back more than 100 years. One of the oldest ones was discovered accidentally.

    003a“I was at the DOI office to get some documents and while I waited, I started to talk with one of the officials. Soon I learnt that he lived in Birżebbuġa and when he continued to elaborate, I realised that he had purchased my great grandfather’s house. When I told him that, he informed me that he had found two old memorial cards in a piece of old furniture in that house. We met later on and he gave them to me. The memorial cards were of my great grandfather dating to 1897 and his brother.”

    As he opened some of the boxes brimming with memorial cards, Max selected a number of them to explain their research value to me.

    “These memorial cards are rich with information for researchers. For example, they can be very significant to genealogists when they are tracing people to build a family tree. From the date of the demise of a person, one can research for further information at the Public Registry, where one would then obtain the date of birth. From the birth certificate, one can then identify the parents, and can continue to trace back the grandparents and so on.”

    009bThe images of the saints on memorial cards, which are generally patron saints, will reveal the location which the deceased came from.

    “From this information, a researcher can then look for more details in the particular parish archives. Look at this memorial card,” he said as he chose one of them. “On the left side, there is an image of Christ the King which is the patron saint of Paola and on the right, there is the image of the Immaculate Conception which is Cospicua’s patron. This means that this person was born in Paola and then he moved to Cospicua.”

    The National Archives hold a vast collection of passports and from them, researchers manage to find photos of people and other details. Yet, this collection does not cover those persons who were never abroad. This lacuna can be filled through the collection of memorial cards. Interestingly, from this collection, one can also trace Maltese people who emigrated and died in Australia and in other countries, since their Maltese relatives tend to organise a mass in Malta to pray for their souls and give out memorial cards to those who attend.

    002“As you can see, memorial cards can serve to tell a social and a cultural narrative. They also have a historical and an anthropological value. For example, when one compares memorial cards of different periods, one can notice the development of printing. One can also observe the use of different languages in various villages and towns, with some using the English language while others prefering Italian. As time passes, one can then follow the introduction of Maltese and the evolution of the language’s spelling as years go by.”

    “Originally, memorial cards were meant to be placed in a Missal in order to pray for the souls during mass. However, modern memorial cards tend to be bigger in size, making this practice difficult.”

    Max Farrugia is one of the founders of the NGO ‘Friends of the National Archives’. The main objective of this NGO is to raise public awareness of the work of the National Archives, and the importance of preserving documents of historical value. It also offers assistance and support to the National Archives by various means, including fundraising and the promotion of a volunteers’ scheme.

    “This collection of memorial cards will now form part of the project MEMORJA,” explained James Baldacchino, the administrator of the MEMORJA Project at the National Archives of Malta.

    001 - Copyright - National Archives of MaltaMEMORJA is an oral, sound and visual archive. Its main objective is to employ cutting edge research, methodologies, theoretical and archival approaches and techniques to collect, record, transcribe, preserve and make available and retrievable all the deposited material detailing the islands’ history.

    “Initially, we started out with four themes, namely the Second World War, the British expatriates in Malta, public administration, and the Lampedusa-Malta connection. Then, we added two others – the Malta buses and transport and the bell-ringers. However, our country is blessed with so much history that you continue to expand as people approach you with different valuable memories. In this case, Max Farrugia has introduced the death theme with all its significant meanings.”

    MEMORJA - Copyright -National Archives of Malta“Through this project, we found a huge amount of data which existed only in the minds of people and in their photos. Many individuals were enthusiastic to make their voice heard in order to help out with the shaping of the public’s narrative which up to now was not formally recorded for posterity. They were also very generous in donating or allowing us to copy hundreds of personal family photos from which we can identify various themes such as social life, fashion, local landscape, celebrations, food and much more.”

    Gathering records for MEMORJA is all about reciprocal patience and trust. James spends several hours over a period of time, visiting people who are interested to be interviewed until they are ready to give out the formal experience on record. He showed me several photos which were handed to him. All this information will soon be available on a website which the National Archives is currently working on.

    Max Farrugia can be contacted on

    If you are interested to contribute to the MEMORJA Project, you are invited to contact James Baldacchino on  or call 21459863.

    The National Archives is located at ‘Santo Spirito’, Hospital Street, Rabat, Malta.

    (Note – This article was published in SENIOR TIMES – November 2019 issued with The Times of Malta on Friday 15th November 2019)

    2019.11.15 / no responses / Category: Times of Malta


    For hundreds of years, the recording of the past focused on public records, statistical data and the lives of prominent people. Yet in recent decades, the spotlight turned onto the general public and its memories in order to provide a more accurate picture of the historic narrative.

    0007 (Eng.)“People who have lived through particular events can contribute different viewpoints and perspectives that fill in the gaps of documented history, at times correcting or even contradicting the written record. The project MEMORJA aims to give a voice to those who have been unheard,” explained James Baldacchino, the administrator of the MEMORJA Project.

    MEMORJA is an oral, sound and visual archive. Its main objective is to employ cutting edge research, methodologies, theoretical and archival approaches and techniques to collect, record, transcribe, preserve and make available and retrievable all the deposited material detailing the islands’ history.

    “Work on this project has begun in January 2017. This is a new platform which is giving an additional dimension to the National Archives since this time, it is not only collecting records but reaching out to create them.”

    At the early stages of the project, four themes were selected, namely the Second World War, British expatriates in Malta, public administration and the Lampedusa-Malta connection.

    0005 (Eng.)“The theme related to experiences during the Second World War aims to document and record a past which is slowly disappearing from public memory especially with the passing away of the older generation. Oral testimonies and photographs serve to recollect the terrible years of war and what the people have lived through in those times. Stories of the outbreak of hostilities and the first bombings on June 11, 1940, the mass evacuations and refugee experiences, fear and uncertainty, hunger and the Victory Kitchens, shelters and sanitation, soldiers and sirens, and tragedies of bombings are part of the significant remembrance which needs to be collected and preserved for future generations before it is lost for good.”

    The history of the relationship between the UK and Malta is another central theme which has not been documented through the eyes of the British and Maltese individuals.

    0006 (Eng.)“This section includes interviews with British and British-Maltese people who were either in the British forces during the 1960’s (or their spouses) and remained in Malta, or civilians who married a Maltese person and relocated to Malta. Such recordings open a window on everyday life in Malta during the 1950s – 1970s. Much of the narratives relate to military bases, post-war experiences, political issues, relationships and cultural differences. This theme was further expanded when the experience of service families’ children was included as well. These children had attended the Naval Childrens’ School and HM Dockyard Children’s School which had occupied sites at Ta’ Xbiex, Cottonera, Senglea and the Dockyard before moving to Tal-Ħandaq.”

    0003 (Eng.)Civil servants are often regarded as those who are implementing the Goverment’s policies. However, through their memories we can get a glimpse of what happenned ‘behind the scenes’ during the most important political, social and economic decisions undertaken by Maltese political leaders.

    “These include background revelations of what was taking place during the granting of Independence in 1964, the dismantling of the British military base in 1979 and how the Maltese prepared for such an event, membership in the EU and how it affected the civil service, the migration of the hospital from St Lukes to Mater Dei and many other memorable challenges.”

    Lampedusa and Malta are two islands with different political histories. Yet to some extent they share similar economic, trade and socio-cultural interest.

    0008 (Eng.)“We have an interest in Lampedusa since in the early 1800s, there were a number of Maltese settlers on this island. Until now, no one had attempted to record these people’s history in order to understand the link between the two islands. The MEMORJA Project is focusing on two time frames to investigate the islands’ shared history. The first one relates to the period from 1800 – 1843 when Lampedusa was colonised by Maltese settlers working in agriculture and animal husbandry. The second covers the period between the 1950s and the 1980s when Lampedusani fishermen visited Malta regularly for the maintenance of ships, the sale of blue fish and the provision of supplies.”

    As the team of the MEMORJA Project reached out to people, they were soon welcomed by the different communities who were eager to share their recollections.

    0002 (Eng.)“We found a huge amount of data which existed only in the minds of people and in their photos. Many individuals were enthusiastic to make their voice heard in order to help out with the shaping of the public’s narrative which up to now was not formally recorded for posterity. Even though we have four selected themes, it does not exclude us from recording other memories as well which we deem to be of importance to form part of the community memory.”

    The search for the stories which make the history is still going on. The final goal of the MEMORJA Project which will be officially launched later on this year will be to make this information accessible online for educational and research purposes.

    0001 (Eng.)“Oral history allows people to express the personal consequences of change, from the simplest things in life to the more complex. It enables people to share their experiences in their own words, with their own voices, through their own understanding of what happened and why. Eventually, such documentation will offer depth to the understanding of the past to present and future generations.”

    If you are interested to contribute to the MEMORJA Project, you are invited to contact James Baldacchino on or call 21459863.

    The National Archives is located at ‘Santo Spirito’, Hospital Street, Rabat, Malta.

    (This article was published in SENIOR TIMES – MAY 2018 issued with The Times of Malta dated 24 May 2018)


    2018.05.24 / no responses / Category: Times of Malta


    Mhux darba u tnejn li nkun għaddejja fit-triq u nilmaħ qatta’ għasafar itiru fis-smewwiet, bosta drabi ħamiem, mitluqa liberi minn sidhom għal ftit tal-ħin. Taffaxxinani bird in the skydik l-abbiltà tagħhom li jtiru preċiżament flimkien, hekk kif iduru fuq naħa u mbagħad fuq oħra, bħallikieku kienu ħaġa waħda. Kultant tara wkoll xi waħda minnhom li ddabbar rasha minn mal-bqija, donnha trid timmanuvra xi titjira għaliha biex wara tingħaqad lura ma’ sħabha. Xi ġmiel! Kemm ngħir għalihom! Kemm nixtieq li naf xi tfisser li tiftaħ ġwienħajk u ttir il-fuq bla xkiel f’dak il-beraħ kollu!

    Iva. Naħseb intbaħtu. Id-deni tas-seħer ta’ Jannar mhux talli m’għaddilix, talli żdied. U kien għalhekk li dil-ġimgħa ddeċidejt li almenu jekk ma jistax ikolli l-ġwienaħ tiegħi, ninvestiga ftit kif nista’ ntir mod ieħor. B’dan il-għan, iltqajt ma’ Aaron Micallef, id-direttur maniġerjali, ta’ Sky People Malta u miegħu stħarriġt din il-possibilità li ttir…

    “Ħafna nies jaħsbu li s-sema hija l-limitu sa fejn tista’ tasal. Iżda għalina l-piloti, id-dinja tagħna tibda mis-sema. Nies bħali li jħobbu jtiru jħossu li posthom hux eżattament fl-art imma hemm fuq, fis-smewwiet.

    Is-sensazzjoni ta’ meta tkun qiegħed ittir hija waħda unika u mill-isbaħ. Diffiċli tispjegaha bil-kliem għax hija partikolari wisq. Tagħtik dik is-sensazzjoni ta’ libertà fejn inti tista’ tara l-ħajja minn clouds and seaperspettiva differenti. Ikollok l-impressjoni li qiegħed f’xi dinja oħra fejn m’hemmx ostakli. Tħossok letteralment qisek għasfur, ittir bla xkiel filwaqt li taħtek qed tara n-nies u l-karozzi żgħar għaddejjin bil-ħajja tas-soltu fuq l-art.”

    L-interess lejn l-avjazzjoni tista’ tgħid li twieldet m’Aaron peress li fil-quċċija, l-għażla tiegħu waqgħet fuq ajruplan.

    “Ħalliha li probabbilment għażiltu għax kien l-akbar ħaġa dakinhar. Imma l-fatt hu li l-ġibda lejn l-avjazzjoni minn dejjem kienet kbira ħafna fija.

    Jiena trabbejt f’familja f’ambjent ta’ negozju u għalhekk qisni awtomatikament sibt ruħi nistudja u naħdem f’dan il-qasam. Imma meta bdew għaddejjin is-snin u l-kilba lejn l-avvjazzjoni baqgħet fija, ma stajtx nistaporti aktar u ddeċidejt li nitħarreġ biex insir pilota. Finalment, hekk kif ikkwalifikajt ukoll bħala Ground School Instructor, id-demm tal-familja reġa’ beda jiġbed u wara li ħdimt għal xi żmien bħala instructor ma’ kumpanija oħra, deherli li kien wasal iż-żmien biex niftaħ il-kumpanija tiegħi.”

    Sky People Malta fetħet f’Lulju tas-sena l-oħra u toffri s-servizzi tagħha permezz ta’ ajruplan Tecnam P2002JF. Xtaqt inkun naf fhiex jikkonsistu dawn is-servizzi?

    “Is-servizzi tagħna jvarjaw skont il-ħtieġa tal-klijenti tagħna. Jibdew minn sempliċiment trial flights, li numru minnhom jingħataw bħala rigali lil dawk li jkunu jixtiequ jesperjenzaw kif itajjru ajruplan.over Filfla Għandna diversi pakketti ta’ trial flights. Hemm dik ta’ 40 minuta, li tieħdok fuq titjira madwar Malta, oħra ta’ siegħa fejn tmur madwar Malta u Għawdex, pakkett ieħor ta’ siegħa u nofs li jwasslek sa Lampedusa; kemm tmiss l-ajruport t’hemmhekk u ttir lura lejn Malta u finalment hemm trial flight ta’ tliet siegħat fejn il-vjaġġ iwasslek sal-Etna, tinżel tmiss l-ajruport ta’ Catania u nerġgħu lura Malta.

    Imbagħad għandna wkoll l-iskola tagħna fejn inħarrġu lil dawk li jixtiequ jsiru piloti, kemm jekk għal skop ta’ passatemp jew inkella biex jieħdu l-liċenzja kummerċjali u jkunu jistgħu jaħdmu ma’ xi linja tal-avjazzjoni. Barra minn hekk, aħna noffru wkoll l-ajruplan għall-kiri sabiex wieħed ikun jista’ jtella’ s-siegħat meħtieġa tal-avjazzjoni jew għal xi livelli addizzjonali fuq il-liċenzja tiegħu, bħal ngħidu aħna, biex ikun jista’ jtajjar ajruplan bil-lejl.

    Hemm ukoll piloti li jikru l-ajruplan biex imorru għal vaganza qasira bih, ngħidu aħna fis-sajf, biex iqattgħu ġurnata jgħumu f’Lampedusa fejn hemm waħda mill-isbaħ bajjiet fid-dinja – La Spiaggia dei Conigli, li hija saħansitra protetta mill-UNESCO għax wara s-7:00pm jitilgħu l-frieken jistkennu fuqha. Kull ma hu vjaġġ ta’ 40 minuta, fejn tmur bit-temp tiegħek, mingħajr xkiel u fejn mal-kumpanija tagħna, tħallas biss għal ħin li għamilt ittajjar l-ajruplan.”

    F’moħħi kont diġà wasalt f’dik il-bajja meraviljuża…. Imma kemm hu faċli biex titgħallem ittajjar ajruplan?

    “L-ajruplan mhux diffiċli biex ittajjru. Anzi pjuttost hija ħaġa faċli. L-itqal biċċa sakemm tidrah u sakemm titgħallem it-teorija li hemm warajh ħalli inti tkun taf x’għandek tagħmel f’każ ta’ emerġenza.

    Wieħed li jibda mill-bidu jkollu bżonn jitħarreġ f’sebgħa suġġetti bażiċi qabel jibda jtir fostom: il-liġi tal-avjazzjoni, informazzjoni ġenerali dwar l-ajruplan, x’inhu l-makkinarju tiegħu, kif taħdem il-magna, il-meteoroloġija sabiex tagħraf taqra t-temp, titgħallem dwar kif jirreaġixxi l-ġisem tal-bniedem f’altitudnijiet differenti, il-komunikazzjoni bil-VFR Radio eċċ.

    Għalkemm is-suġġetti huma kemmxejn vasti, mhux kors diffikultuż. Infatti fis-sajf, min jieħdu full time, kapaċi jlestih f’madwar xahar u nofs. Fix-xitwa, niftħu korsijiet part-time li jibdew f’Ottubru u fi Frar u dawn isiru fil-għaxijiet, darbtejn fil-ġimgħa fuq tlett xhur. Imbagħad, għal dawk li jippreferu, hemm ukoll korsijiet privati, fejn ikunu weħidhom mal-instructor u jimxu skont it-temp tagħhom.

    Jiena nissuġġerixxi illi min ikollu l-ħajra li jieħu dan il-kors, l-ewwel jattendi għal trial flight, sabiex ma jidħolx għal spejjeż u studju inutli biex imbagħad jitla’ fuq l-ajruplan u jsib li mhiex il-linja tiegħu. Fil-fatt min jattendi għal trial flight u mbagħad jibbukkja l-kors, jingħata l-flus tat-trial flight lura.”

    Allura x’jiġri eżatt waqt trial flight?

    “Qabel issir trial flight, is-Certified Flight Instructor jagħmel briefing tal-ajruplan, fejn il-passiġġier idur mal-ajruplan ħalli jara li kollox hu kif suppost. Imbagħad jidħlu fil-cockpit, jilbsu l-headsets u l-over Melliehainstructor juri l-istrumenti lill-passiġġier filwaqt li dan ikun qed jisma’ wkoll il-komunikazzjoni għaddejja bejnu u bejn l-air traffic controller. Il-passiġġier ma jtellax jew iniżżel l-ajruplan fuq l-art imma hekk kif l-ajruplan jitla’ fl-arja, huwa jingħata l-kontroll tiegħu f’idejh. Hekk kif issir it-takeoff u tiġi stabilizzata l-altitudni, il-veloċità tal-ajruplan tiġi ssetjata fuq il-cruising speed u minn hemm il-passiġġier jista’ jgawdi l-ġmiel tat-titijira. L-ewwel għaxar minuti huma ddedikati sakemm jidra l-manuvri u r-reazzjonijiet tal-ajruplan. Minn hemm ‘l hemm imbagħad rilassament totali għax l-ajruplan huwa mibni għal dan il-għan u peress li huwa ħafif ħafna, jirrispondi mill-ewwel.”

    Kelli kurżità dwar xi tkun ir-reazzjoni tan-nies hekk kif isibu l-kontroll tal-ajruplan f’idejhom?

    “Għall-ewwel ġeneralment ma jkunux iridu jemmnu li qed imexxuh huma u jibdew jistaqsuk “Imma dan veru qed immexxih jien?” Imma wara ftit minuti tarahom jieħdu kontroll tajjeb tiegħu għax dan mhux bħal meta qiegħed titgħallem xi karozza; trid toqgħod attent għal dik il-karozza ġejja jew għall-oħra. Ngħidu aħna kemm tara li inti miexi fid-direzzjoni mal-kosta u daqshekk. Naturalment is-sodisfazzjon huwa kbir, kemm għax l-esperjenza hija pjaċevoli ħafna imma anki minħabba n-natura unika tagħha. Mhux kulħadd ikollu opportunità ta’ dix-xorta u dat-tip ta’ pjaċir ma tistax tgawdih mod ieħor.”

    Jiena li dejjem insus għal xi rakkont stramb, xtaqt nara jekk qattx kien hemm min ippanikkja meta tawh il-kontroll f’idejh?

    “S’issa magħna qatt ma ġrat imma dawn huma affarijiet li jseħħu, għalkemm huma każi rari. Bosta drabi jkunu nies li jibżgħu jtiru imma jkunu jridu jippruvaw xorta waħda.

    Sfortunatament jiġri li bosta drabi jibdew jikkomparaw lil dan l-ajruplan mal-ajruplani l-kbar tal-passiġġieri li jkunu mdorrijin itiru fuqhom is-soltu. U meta jaraw iċ-ċokon ta’ dan l-ajruplan jibdew jiddubitaw mill-kapaċitajiet tiegħu li jiflaħ għall-elementi. Il-verità hi li proprju għax hu żgħir, l-ajruplan għandu aktar sigurtà għax ngħidu aħna f’każ bħal dan, meta għandek passiġġier li qed jippanikkja, il-pilota jieħu l-kontroll f’idejh u f’ħames minuti jkunu diġà reġgħu lura fuq l-art. Xorta waħda nissuġġerixxi li min jaħseb li jista’ jkollu problema ta’ dix-xorta, javża mill-ewwel lill-pilota ħalli dan ikun ippreparat aħjar.”

    X’tip ta’ sigurtà tittieħed għal dawn it-titjiriet?

    “Qabel wieħed itir nistaqsu dwar xi kundizzjonijiet tal-passiġġier. Ngħidu aħna jekk ikollna suspett li jkun xorob, ma jistax jitla’ fuq l-ajruplan. Nistaqsu wkoll jekk hux qiegħed fuq xi mediċina għaliex over cloudsf’dak il-każ, l-ajruplan jista’ jħeddlu. Speċjalment jekk il-passiġġier ikun esperjenza xi influwenza f’xi ġranet qabel u jkollu mnieħru għadu bblukkat, it-titjir huwa wkoll impossibbli minħabba r-riskju ta’ barotrauma li huwa uġiegħ kbir fil-widnejn li jista’ jwassal anki biex jinfaqa’ t-tanbur. Ħaġ’oħra li nikkonfermaw hija li l-passiġġier ma jkunx għamel xi scuba diving f’dawk l-aħħar 24 siegħa minħabba l-fatturi tad-dikompressjoni.

    Apparti dan, bħal kif isir fuq ajruplan kbir, qabel it-titjira, il-passiġġier jingħata l-istruzzjonijiet dwar l-ajruplan u kif għandu jilbes il-life jacket f’każ ta’ bżonn. Meta l-ajruplan ikun ser itir fuq il-baħar, il-life-jacket tintlibes mill-ewwel.

    Fih innifsu l-ajruplan għandu wkoll diversi fatturi ta’ sigurtà. Fost dawn hemm illi ċ-ċokon u l-ħeffa tiegħu jippermettu tlugħ u nżul minn runways pjuttost qosra u allura anki jekk ikollu jinżel f’għalqa, f’każ ta’ emerġenza, ma jkunx hemm problemi. L-istess ħeffa tiegħu tagħtih kapaċità li jigglajdja b’rata ta’ 1:12, jiġifieri għal kull elf pied li qiegħed għoli, huwa jista’ jtir għal 12 il-elf pied fuq wesgħa ta’ art. Dan ifisser li minn hemm u minn hawn, xi biċċa art, f’każ ta bżonn, nilħqu żgur. Iżda anki jekk l-ajruplan isib ruħu fl-ilma, fuqu għandu transmitter li hekk kif jixxarrab, jibda jitrażmetti awtomatikament fuq frekwenza ta’ emerġenza filwaqt li jibgħat sinjal fuq ir-radar biex juri eżatt il-post fejn qegħdin. Barra minn hekk, l-ajruplan m’għandux bibien u allura kemm tiftaħ il-canopy u tispara ‘l fuq f’wiċċ l-ilma.”

    Aaron kompla jispjegali illi l-ajruplan tagħhom Tecnam P2002JF inxtara ġdid minn din il-kumpanija u minħabba li kapaċi jaħdem anki permezz tal-unleaded fuel, huwa ekonomiku ħafna.

    “Qabel iddeċidejt li nixtri dan l-ajruplan, studjajtu sewwa ħafna. Għandu diversi fatturi interessanti li wħud minnhom diġà semmejnihom. Fost oħrajn, il-possibilità li jaħdem bl-unleaded fuel, jagħmlu ajruplan li faċli tmantnih u allura jagħtik il-possibilità li toffri prezzijiet aktar raġjonevoli lill-klijenti. B’hekk dan jagħmlu l-ajruplan ideali għal dawk li jixtiequ jieħdu taħriġ fl-avjazzjoni u għal dawk li jixtiequ jibnu s-siegħat fuqu. Apparti minn hekk, huwa ajruplan li jżomm l-ambjent nadif.

    Fattur ieħor sabiħ tiegħu, apparti l-manuvrabbiltà pjuttost faċli, hija l-viżibilità eċċellenti li joffri. Dan minħabba li l-cockpit hija kollha tal-ħġieġ u allura tista’ tara dak kollu li qed isir kemm fuqek u kif ukoll madwarek. Tħossok qisek qiegħed letteralment fl-arja. Huwa ajruplan li jagħtik rispons sabiħ ħafna u bħalissa huwa uniku f’pajjiżna.

    Liema huma l-limiti tal-età li fihom tista’ titħarreġ biex issir pilota?

    “Biex iġġib l-ewwel liċenzja bħala pilota, irid ikollok mill-inqas 17 il-sena. Mill-bqija m’hemmx limitu ta’ età sakemm inti medikalment b’saħħtek. Tant hu hekk illi jkollna numru ta’ individwi li jiġu jitħarrġu fl-avjazzjoni wara li jirtiraw mix-xogħol sabiex ikunu jistgħu jtiru bħala passatemp. Illum hawn ħafna ajruplani minn fejn tista’ tikri u allura hekk kif tieħu l-liċenzja m’hemmx għalfejn li jkollok l-ajruplan tiegħek.”

    Kont mejta biex narah dan l-ajruplan wara li smajt tant dwaru u għalhekk ħriġna fuq ir-runway u dħalna fih. Tassew kien ċkejken! Stħajjiltu karozza mdaqqsa bil-ġwienaħ. Aaron MicallefKollox kien kif spjegali Aaron: l-istrumenti mdawwrin miegħek, cockpit trasparenti minn fejn tista’ tara l-ambjent ta’ madwarek, il-mezzi tas-sigurta għall-lest… kollox kien preparat, la kemm titlaq.

    “L-ajruplan jieħu massimu ta’ żewġ persuni: il-pilota u l-passiġġier jew inkella żewġ piloti għax il-kontrolli tiegħu tista’ toperahom minn fuq iż-żewġ naħat.

    Ma rridx ninsa ngħidlek li min ikun jixtieq jagħmel appuntament magħna jrid javżana almenu 24 siegħa qabel minħabba li jkun irid jinħariġlu l-permess biex jgħaddi mill-inħawi tas-sigurtà tal-ajruport.”

    Sakemm lestejna din l-intervista, s-sema kienet tqalet bi sħab griż u ikraħ u r-riħ beda jċaqlaq kemmxejn lill-ajruplan.

    “Letteralment magħmul biex itir,” qalli Aaron. “Kif iħoss naqra riħ taħtu, qalbu tieklu biex jitla’ ‘l fuq f’dik id-dinja l-oħra tas-smewwiet. Jaħasra, li kieku kienet ġurnata sabiħa, kont nieħdok dawra ħa tifhem aħjar.”

    Qalbi tqalet aktar mis-sħab ta’ fuqi u lili ma ċaqlaqnix ir-riħ, tafux? Eh Jannar, wara li nħobbok tant, kemm int krudili miegħi!

    (Nota: Dan l-artiklu ġie ppubblikat fit-Torċa tad-9 ta’ Jannar 2011)

    2011.01.09 / no responses / Category: Torca - Perspettivi