(This article is from PopClub Magazine Issue 50 November 2015)
By Billy Boey
Destiny sets an unexpected journey for Captain Lim Khoy Hing. Instead of becoming a teacher that he envisioned himself to be, life made him take on a journey into the aviation industry. Now retired, Captain Lim did not contend himself to stay home and relax. He continued to be active in his line of work to inspire and educate fearful flyers, as well as aspiring pilots through his book Life in the Skies. POPCLUB catches up with the former commercial airline captain to talk about his book and his sky high journey.
The thought of becoming a pilot never once crossed his mind as Captain Lim Khoy Hing felt that his family’s poor financial background then would not allow him to be one. He sets his sights instead on becoming a teacher as his lifelong career. However, life took an unexpected turn when a recruitment call for pilots appeared just when he finished schooling. Without hesitation at all, he applied for it, got accepted into training and graduated with the Royal Air Force in England.
“I graduated as a pilot. You’ll be surprise that I have gotten my flying licence even before I obtained my driving license!” Captain Lim said with a laugh.
Captain Lim logged a total of 25,500 flying hours (that’s approximately 20 return trips to the moon and back!) throughout his 43 years of flying experience. He spent 13 years of service with the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), 25 years with Malaysia Airlines (MAS), and 5 years with AirAsia before retiring at the age of 65. Now at the age of 69, Captain Lim is still actively involved in the aviation industry by being a full-time flight simulator instructor at Malaysia’s most famous low-cost airline, AirAsia.
Although he has devoted his life to flying, Captain Lim still carries a passion to educate people. Hence, with his vast flying experience under his belt, Captain Lim decided to educate the people about flying and aviation industry as a whole. He created a website called askcaptainlim.com in the year 2000 where the public can post questions on anything relating to flying, air travel and aviation. He dedicated most of his time to answer each question with fervor because he believes that by imparting knowledge about the industry to the public, he can help them, especially airline passengers, to do away with their fears of flying. Captain Lim always puts himself in the shoes of passengers, understands them and their questions before answering their questions in layman manner.
“I am quite aware of what people want, what kind of information they are looking for and I will try my best to explain to them in the most simplistic manner,” said Captain Lim.
Writing his book, on the other hand, was unexpected for Captain Lim. During his stint with AirAsia, the company invited him to contribute articles to their inflight magazine Travel 3Sixty. From then on, he began honing his writing skills. This, he explained, paved the way for him to publish his very first book Life in the Skies.
On Flying with Words
Life in the Skies is a compilation of articles that Captain Lim has written for Travel 3Sixty. The book contains insights on every aspect of air travel and aviation. The book informs people of all the hidden mysteries of the aviation industry, its safety and regulations, the aircrafts, the processes of training to become an international airline pilot – all these told through Captain Lim’s very own experience in the form of anecdotes, tales and jokes to keep readers entertained.
“It is my pleasure to share my knowledge with the people because I have been flying so long, and I know there are many burning questions from the people, especially fearful flyers,” said the captain.
He even spoke of the lifestyle of a pilot in his book. He even debunked one of the biggest myths where many believed pilots lead a promiscuous lifestyle surrounded by gorgeous air stewardess, or with other women from various cities they landed on.
“My publisher actually asked me to write on the sexual exploit(s) of a pilot. But, go ahead and read my book. You will realise not every pilot behaves in that manner. Feel free to ask my wife even, she is the only woman I knew and love in my life,” Captain Lim told POPCLUB.
Captain Lim only writes non-fiction articles in the current moment, and has never attempted writing the fiction genre. He is an avid reader of nonfiction books especially on topics about science, aviation and the universe.
“I am not a good fiction novel writer,” Captain Lim admits. “I only write about facts and I will continue to focus on writing for the non-fiction genre. I do wish I had read more books when I was young, and perhaps I could have written a novel.”
As of today, many of his readers were asking Captain Lim to release a second book as they are eager to read more of his flying experience. However, he is not in a hurry to release a second book just yet. His fans will just have to wait patiently.
“I am busy working in my current job, and I want to spend more time with my family. But I do have sufficient (Travel 3Sixty) articles for a second book. Just be patient, it will be released soon enough.”
This book is available at all participating POPULAR and HARRIS outlets at RM39.90.
Captain Lim’s book, LIFE IN THE SKIES, which won third place in the Reader’s Choice Award at the Malaysia BookFest 2015, and its Mandarin version 【飞行日记】 are now available for purchase onboard all AirAsia and AirAsia X flights. Enjoy these great collections of articles by a veteran aviator. This Mandarin version is also available at all participating POPULAR and HARRIS outlets at RM33.90.
If you like what you read, more stories are found in my book LIFE IN THE SKIES (Preview here) and you can purchase a copy here. To check for any latest updates or postings, you can follow my Twitter at @CaptKHLim or Facebook here