I know, I know, I haven’t finished telling you all the rest of the story and left you hanging. But in my defense, as I told you before, I’m lazy, and busy jumping out of planes, but mostly lazy. I was also hoping to have some new information that would bring closure, I hate that word, but no such luck. So without further ado here is “The Rest Of The Story” I think.
When I got the email from the Navajo’s owner I couldn’t believe it. Apparently being old and a former jet engine mechanic makes you a piston engine expert. The comment about not being able to actually see a large hole in the side of the engine really struck me as stupid. “So let me get this straight. If you can’t see where the oil is coming from the engine isn’t really leaking?” Okay. Frustrated, I sent the owner another email outlining the situation, again, in case there was any confusion. I explained that there was indeed a major oil leak as evidenced by the fact that the engine nacelle was covered with it and the fact that there were only 2 quarts left when I landed after a four hour flight. I explained that of course the engine indicators were normal because we filled it with oil before running it up. I told him in as diplomatic terms as possible that the mechanics he’d sent were over their heads and if he wanted to get his plane back into the air he needed to send a real mechanic out to look at it and have him do a proper engine wash to locate the leak and fix it. But doing that would take time. At least a week if not two and that was time I didn’t have to spare.
I called Cory and filled him in on the situation and told him that in my opinion there was no sense in my hanging around in Oman while the Navajo’s owner dithered around trying to decide what to do. If nothing else it would be too expensive for everyone involved to pay me to sit on my ass for a week or more. I suggested that it would be cheaper to fly me home and wait for the plane to get fixed and then fly me back. Cory agreed and told me come home. With that decision made it was time to figure out what route to take. Lee and I could fly back to the US via Europe but found out that when flying to America from a middle eastern, i.e. terrorist filled, country 24 hours advance booking was required. On the other hand we could fly directly to Bangkok, spend a day there and then fly to the US. “Hmmm, let me think, sit in Oman for another 24 hours or fly to Bangkok, party and see the sights there then fly home eastbound thus completing our round the world flight. Ya, tough choice. We could even meet with the Navajo’s owner and I could explain the situation in person.
It was a great plan. We weren’t able to hook up with the owner in Bangkok because he was flying but somehow managed to have a good time anyway. When Lee and I got back to Minneapolis we were tired from our long journey and slightly disappointed. Although we’d flown the Navajo almost halfway around the world and overcome some major problems along the way we hadn’t completed the mission. That was a first for me. In over twenty years of ferry flying I’d never come up short before. It was as I said, disappointing.
In the two months since I’d left the Navajo in Oman neither Cory or I have heard from the Navajo’s owner about the fate of the plane. I’ve heard that this was the third Navajo he’d purchased and the third one to not make it to Bangkok. I don’t know if he’s run out of money or crappy Navajos to buy but if he gets it fixed and calls me to finish the trip I’ll still do it. Can’t sit around not risking my life you know.