Tuesday, June 15, 2010

GREAT NEWS!!!--June 14, 2010


Woke up at 7:10 A.M.  Pete muffled something to me.  What?!  “Check the weather, the clouds were too low when I checked a half-hour ago.”  Riiiiiiiiiiight.  I swore he was joking.  But I checked the weather anyway.  Ha!  He was right!  The clouds were only at 6000 feet!  But the forecast was skies clear by noon.  Hmm.  Pete went for more sleep, while I showered and headed for breakfast.

We went ahead and went to the airport around 8:30 anyway.  We stopped at Subway to get some food for what we thought would be a flight through lunch-time.  The clouds were pretty crazy, though.  I mean, they were EVERYWHERE.  In all directions.  And quite low.  Parts of the mountains were obscured by the clouds.  Hmm.

We decided to hang out at the airport for awhile before we flew west.  We talked to a NetJets pilot for the longest time.  He currently flies a Gulfstream.  But he was fascinated with what we do!  I mean, fascinated!!!  We talked for probably an hour!  We exchanged stories, experiences, etc.  He graduated from Embry-Riddle back in 1990, then instructed for a SHORT bit…87 hours.  But he gained most of his flight time up in Alaska, flying in what he called 500-2.  Basically, all he needed was 500 feet for clouds and two miles for visility.  Thinking about it now, he said it was pretty crazy!!!  But he was willing and eager to do it because he wanted/needed the flight hours.  I know the feeling.

He said it was REALLY rough for pilots in the early 1990’s.  He had applied to be an instructor at Riddle, but he only had 300 hours.  At the time, instructors needed 5000 hours, he said.  WOW.  I was encouraged, though.  He was just thrilled with our experiences we were able to have.  He cringed at the thought of 7 months on at a time, but he said it would be good for a single pilot.

All in all, it was just an encouragement to me.  It was just refreshing to hear someone else’s story.  He is “living the dream.”  But he had to put his time in first.  He took the hard route.  It’s nice to resonate with someone like that.  But it was a bit painful, too!  He’s been flying for 20 years!!!  He said corporate is DEFINITELY the way to go.  He told us that “boxes don’t…”, but he said that people really don’t, either.  That was good to hear.  But he ALSO said that the problem with corporate flying is that you get fired once every five years.  Haha.  So true!  He highly recommended NetJets, though.  He just seemed happy!

As far as the flying was concerned, though, he said it was pretty simple.  He showed us his “flying.”  He used his hands to rotate the imaginary yolk, then took his finger and pushed a button.  Auto-pilot was now on.  He said every flight is like that.  Some pilots will hand-fly the ascent sometimes, but it’s rare.  You just push a button and sit back and relax.  Haha.  Oh man.  He was flying to Dulles today…all in 3 hours and 3 minutes.  That is just crazy.

We just enjoyed each other’s company.  Honestly.  He seemed to be thrilled to have someone to talk to, and we were more than eager to talk with him!  I vow that if/when I become a pilot in that capacity, I will ALWAYS give the time of day to everyone.  I have flown in and out of airports with corporate pilots for a couple of years now, and this was one of the very, very few times that I had any type of conversation with another pilot.

It was just good.

Pete and I finally decided that we should at least try to scout.  The satellite showed clouds out west, but we HAD to at least try.  On the walk out, the corporate pilot wanted to know if we wanted to take a peek inside.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!  Um, yeah!!!  I was stoked.  I’ve only been in a couple of bigger aircraft, and I think this was my first jet.  It was just beautiful.  The passenger area was immaculate…room enough for six people.  It was sick!!!  I turned and checked out the flight deck.  There just wasn’t much to it!!!  Haha.  Seriously!  It’s obviously all glass-panel with Collins avionics, but I was just shocked at the open space!

The pilot went ahead and started up the avionics for us.  So beautiful.  I was seriously on cloud nine.  Just absolutely motivated!!!  Some day.  SOME DAY!!!  This was perfect!!!  I was pretty stoked.

From there, Pete and I headed out for our flight plans.  Or at least tried.  I had the hardest time starting my left engine again.  It took me about 40 minutes.  It’s pretty frustrating.  QUITE frustrating.  Oh well.  I’m putting in my time, right?  I’m smiling.

I FINALLY got it started.  I headed out west.  I couldn’t fly above 7000 feet due to the clouds, so that’s where I stayed.  I just followed the valley around the mountains.  It was a bit bumpy…not exactly what I was planning on!  It’s just amazing to me what happens at the bases of clouds.  It’s not right.  I ended up at my flight plans, and it was just absolutely positively a no-go.  Clouds were everywhere.  So thick.  These were forecast to be burned off by noon, but they were growing.  These weren’t clouds that just disappeared.  At all.

I circled around and headed back.  Pete and I were having a conversation on the radio about me not being able to get closer to the 100-hour.  I pretty much let him know how I felt about all of it.  I was promised June 10th, then the 11th, then the 15th, and now I’m not going to be able to head out until I burn off 14 more hours?  I was anything but thrilled.  He said he would talk to the boss once we got on the ground.


I landed back at KGJT.  I had logged 2.2 hours.  I saw the FBO chick from last week who then accused me of standing her up last week.  Oh boy.  Don’t even get me started.  Pete went outside to make some phone calls.  I was in a pretty crummy mood, just not knowing what was going to happen.  I wasn’t too optimistic.  I was so different that the other FBO chick said she was disturbed by how quiet I was.  Yup.  I didn’t have it in me to change.

Well, about ½ hour later, I learned that I WOULD be able to leave.  Hallelujah!  I was pretty stinkin’ excited.  We then spent a good deal of time trying to find me a ticket.  But we found one, and it was then and only then that I was actually confident that this could happen!  I’m leaving Denver at 6:20 Wednesday morning.

So basically, here’s the plan.  I’m going to fly tomorrow on this project.  The skies actually look good (ha!), so I should be able to get several hours in.  After I finish here, I’ll head east to Denver.  I’ll pick up Kenton from the airport, grab a hotel, then wake up early the next morning and BE DONE!!!

I just let out a huge sigh.  I’m really ready for it.  I really am.  I’m a bit nervous about tomorrow, though!  It was the potential to be one of those 8-hour days!!!  It’s a high-pressure system with low winds!!!  I know what that can mean!  Oh well.  MOTIVATED this time.  It’s my last day of flying this season!!!  My last day!

So whether it’s 4 hours or 8 hours of work tomorrow, I have vacation to look forward to.  I’ll have to make a (most-likely hellacious) flight east to Denver after I’m done here, so it has the likelihood of being a VERY long day, but I’ll do what I need to do.

Vacation is waiting for me.  4 ½ months of vacation.  I couldn’t be more ready.

At 8:30, Pete and I went out with the chick from the FBO.  I had honestly given up on her.  She had said she would be off work at 8:00 o’clock and would give us a ring.  It was 8:29, and I was done with her.  And hungry!!!  So we headed for the restaurant.  As soon as I hopped in the car, I got the text.  She was coming!!!  I couldn’t believe it!

So that’s what we did for the night.  We went downtown to Blue Moon, ate, and grabbed a couple of drinks.  It was sooooooo refreshing to eat with someone else…to get to know someone.  I loved every bit of it.  I really did.  We were back at the hotel at 11:00.

Tomorrow is the big day.  My last day of flying for the season.  Wow.  Hard to believe.  But it looks to be a BIG one.  The weather is lookin’ perfect.  Clear skies, calm winds.  <sigh>  We’ll see.  No matter what, though, I’m plannin’ on bein’ in Denver tomorrow night.  And Illinois the following day.

Time will tell.

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