Ferrying small airplanes around the world involves a lot of challenging flying to be sure but the biggest challenges, and delays, usually happen when you’re on the ground. My challenging day started when the phone rang while I was still sleeping. It was Stuart wondering if I was up and on my way down to the lobby yet. CRAP! I’d gotten my time zones wrong and set the alarm on my phone one hour too late. I assured Stuart that I was almost ready and then set the world sped record for showering, cramming my assorted junk back into my suitcase and racing down to the lobby. That’s one reason I prefer to ferry fly alone, I wait for nobody and nobody waits for me. I missed breakfast but I was glad I’d gotten the extra hour of sleep because for the last week we’d averaged about 5 or 6 hours of sleep a night and it was taking it’s toll. Last night was a typical end of a ferry flying day for us. By the time customs finally let us go and we got a ride to the hotel it was already 10:30 local time. After a long and stressful day of flying all 3 of us need a beer but because it was Ramadan the bar was closed, don’t want to see the infidels drinking in public during Ramadan don’t you know. We were, however, told that room service would deliver beer to our rooms so that we could desecrate our bodies and disobey the Prophet in supposed secret. So desecrate we did. Twice. Then it down to dinner where we poured over our Ipads looking at weather and routing for the next day. By the time we were done eating all of us were looking a little dazed so it was off to bed, but the rest of the world doesn’t stop just because just because you’re on a long ferry flight so I had to spend another 15 minutes or so answering emails and assuring the wife and family that I still existed. By the time I killed the lights it was 1:00 and our ride to the airport was picking us up at 6:30….great.
So scramble down to the lobby only to suffer through a 20 minute check out by the crack hotel staff. We arrived at the airport, checked weather, filed our flight plan and took off for Pakistan. Oh wait, I forgot the two hours we spent watching the customs agents, our handler and what appeared to be the airport manager argue about who knows what. There was a lot of shouting and hand waiving and what appeared to be a world class butt chewing of our handling agent but eventually they were satisfied that they’d wasted enough of our morning and let us go. We finally taxied out to the runway only to have the tower call and inform us that our overflight permit number had changed and that we would have to return to the terminal to file another flight plan. Perfect. I was sure the rest of the day was going to be just a smooth.
Yesterday, a gorgeous Catalina PBY named Flora-Bama that was being used as a prop for the upcoming Nicolas Cage movie USS Indianapolis: Men of Honor began taking on water while performing touch and goes for the camera. Today, the plane sits half sunk in the surf along Gold Beach, Florida, a most peculiar sight for beach-goers.