Had a good couple of days flying the great white hope around the country. Wisconsin-Omaha-Scottsdale-Santa Ana-Minnesota-Home. 2 different sets of clients and 8.6 hours of jet time in the logbook.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Citation 650
It’s going to be a super easy and short day of flying today. First thing in the morning we bring 7 oil field workers from Wisconsin and drop them off in central Texas. The guys they are replacing jump in and we run right back to Wisconsin. Easy peasy. 2 hours each way. Done by 2:00. I’ll probably be back in time to go deer hunting when I get home. That was the plan anyway. Thunderstorms and strong crosswinds at the destination airport forced us to change where we drop off the customers. No big deal, that’s why they invented cars. The guy giving rides to and from the airport can just drive to and from a different airport is all. The only problem (aside from the fact that he’s super slow) is that when he finally showed to pick up our passengers he’d neglected to bring along the guys we we’re supposed to bring home. Great. So what was supposed to be a short turn around turned into an all day affair. That’s OK, it gave us time to stare at the radar screen as the weather along our route of flight got worse and worse. “Take your time guys, no rush!”
Well, our passengers finally showed up at sunset into an ominous dark sky. After winding our way through a line of central Texas thunderstorms, with the help of the Citation’s onboard radar and my Ipad linked to ground radar stations through the plane’s WiFi, we finally burst out on top of the weather at 41,0000 feet . With the turbulent weather thousands of feet below us our sleek white steed ripped through the night sky on air so smooth our passengers in back had no trouble putting a sizeable dent in the liquor cabinet. Looking down I commented to the pilot flying that was glad I was up there cruising along in style and comfort instead of beating my head against that wall if weather in some small slow bug smasher. He heartily agreed.
Now when I say “the pilot flying” I’m talking about the guy in the left seat because at our company all the pilots are all qualified captains, although some are more qualified than others. Most of the guys, and one woman, have been flying jets for years while you humble scribe has a grand total of one month under his slowly expanding belt. (have to watch that) For the first few months I’m to be paired with the most senior pilots who will do their best to teach me how things are done “in the real world” vs. what I was taught in the two week flight school where I received my Citation type rating. I’m also only allowed to actually “fly” the plane when there are no passengers aboard lest I scare them with some ham fisted maneuvers or bouncy landings. It’s a sound policy but seeing that the object of this company is to make money, and you don’t make much money when there are no passengers to gouge the opportunity to practice my takeoff and landing skills have been few, let’s call it 4, because that’s how many there were. Like I said It’s a sound policy but I’m itching to get my hands on the controls more. At least my jet pilot radio voice is getting better. “Aaaaaaah roger Kansas center. Citation N4Y checking in at Aaaaaah 41,000 feet.”
The rest of the flight went pretty smooth. As I’ve said before I really love flying at night. It’s usually nice and smooth out, as long as you’re above the weather, and it’s, I don’t know, just cooler, ya know?
To top things off we had a nice strong tailwind pushing us home and while I didn’t mind reducing the time until I could have a cold beer what I really liked was that I broke/smashed my personal ground speed record! 548 knots! Woot!
Back in Wisconsin a short drive home to a mostly hot meal waiting for me, (Thanks honey!) the cold beer I’d been craving, then off to bed. Gotta do it all over again tomorrow. I’m having so much fun!
A soldier’s Christmas
I spent 12 years in the Minnesota Army National Guard. And even though I spent a fair amount of time away from home for training and schools I never missed Christmas at home. Number one son (NOS) however hasn’t been so lucky because he’s currently wondering if santa’s sleigh can operate in a hot weather environment.
A soldier’s Christmas update.
A first try at the Hookah (which didn’t sit well with his stomach) followed by a Christmas feast of a Turkish chicken burrito and one whole non-alcoholic beer. Our Soldier had a very weird Christmas Day.
The rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.
I know, I know, you’ve heard it all before. I drop off the radar screen for an extended period of time and when I finally come back I’ve got a laundry list of excuses as to why in the hell I stopped posting. Well this time it’s different. Not the excuses, they’re all the same. Too busy, too lazy, my dog ate my laptop……. No, this time I’m not going to give you any excuses. This time I’m just going to start posting again.
Seeing that it’s been around two years since I’ve been here I suppose I should give you a brief rundown of who I am and what I do.
My name is Kerry McCauley and I’m a pilot. My flying career started 39 years ago when I joined the Minnesota Army National Guard as a UH-1H “Huey” crew chief. While still in the Army I got my pilot’s license and started skydiving, two things which fundamentally changed my life forever because once I got the taste of general aviation and skydiving I never went back to the real world. In 1990 I got my dream job as a international ferry pilot delivering small aircraft around the world. At the same time I was pursuing my flying career my skydiving hobby turned into a full time job when I became a freefall instructor and jump pilot. While all this was happening I somehow managed to get married to an amazing woman and have two equally amazing kids. That just about covers it, except that just to make things interesting I starred in two seasons of “Dangerous Flights”. A TV/Reality show about ferry pilots.
My new ride!
So as some of you might remember I spend my summers jumping out of perfectly good airplanes and my winters flying small, poorly maintained, and neglected aircraft across large bodies of cold deep water to their new owners around the world. As much of an adventure that is, it does tend to be somewhat…….risky. Now even though risky is my middle name (actually it’s danger) even I have to question my decisions from time to time. So when I was offered a job flying well maintained multi engined business jets from an airport just 30 minutes from my house I just had to say yes. Now don’t freak out, I’m not retiring from the ferry business completely. If someone offers me a ferry trip in a plane I really want to fly or to a place I really want to go I’ll take it. But given the choice between sitting in a small airplane over the north Atlantic in the winter, hoping the single piston engine out front keeps together long enough to reach Iceland vs. sitting in a multi million dollar jet ripping along at 500 knots over 45,000 feet I’ll take the jet.
So there you are, all caught up.