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!