The Author is David Reed, a commercial pilot for over 40 years. Over these four decades he has had many events occur, some interesting, some exciting, a few that were frightening and a lot of misadventures. Every story in this blog is true.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Perfect Day

Every once in a long while you have a day where everything goes exactly as planned. As rare as they are, I enjoy them the most. Recently I had a day like that.

I was scheduled for a corporate trip on Friday. Leave at 0600 and fly two people to Kansas City International for an all day meeting at the Hilton. I got to bed early the night before and as a result I awoke feeling good. Took a shower, put on my best corporate outfit. For corporate trips we dress in business attire with shirt and tie. Stopped at QT for some croissants and fruit, then headed to the airport, arriving about 15 minutes early. I'd already filed the flight plans the night before and printed out the trip sheet as well, so all I needed to do was check the aircraft log and file a Baldwin Safety Report. That's an online risk assessment that identifies hazardous flights. This flight though was a solid low risk, so no special actions were needed. 

I gave the line service guys the fuel request- top the outboards and 30 gallons in each inboard fuel tank. This would give us plenty of fuel with good reserves. While they did that, I pre-flighted the airplane. Everything was looking good so I entered the flight plan in the FMS (Flight Management System), then shut everything off and went back inside. My copilot today was Rachel, my favorite copilot to fly with. Competent and fun, I was looking forward to it. She was a little late arriving so I went ahead and made the coffee and set up the croissants and fruit in a nice basket. Rachel showed up so we took the catering out to the airplane and reviewed the plan for the trip. 

Our first passenger showed up early, a guy I haven't met before. We talked a little bit and then I left him to his work. A little after 6AM our second passenger showed up and so we all headed out to the airplane. Once on board with the door closed I started up the engines and did the after-start checklist while Rachel got the ATIS and clearance. We both finished at the same time and were quickly taxiing down the taxiway to runway 26L. This would be her leg to fly, so I gave her the controls to taxi and I finished the taxi checklist. It was dark outside, cold, windy and overcast. After a quick run up at the end of the runway, we got cleared for takeoff. "80 knots", then "V1, rotate". We climbed quickly and were cleared on course by departure control in short order. As we leveled off at 20,000' we were facing some pretty strong winds- 115 mph directly on the nose. We asked for and descended down to 14,000'. As we came up on 16,000' Rachel suggested stopping there, as it was on top of the clouds still. "Nah," I replied. "Let's just go on down to 14." So we did where we ended up in the clouds in bumpy air. Kansas City had been reporting overcast at 12,000', so I asked for 12,000' hoping we'd end up just underneath. We did, not as bumpy, and the winds were only 50 mph here. "I should have listened to you and stopped at sixteen!" I said to her. "It was smooth there." 

We got vectored over downtown Kansas City. The air smoothed out and we did a visual approach to runway 1L. Rachel landed right in the touchdown zone, on the centerline, and it was so smooth you could hardly tell we'd landed. Nice! She taxied us to the parking area and while she shut it down I got up and went back to open the door. I escorted our passengers inside and away they went to their meeting. We finished up with the airplane, went inside and got a crew car. The girl behind the counter had heard me mention we were going to the Corner Cafe for breakfast, so she had a map already marked for us. Nice!

Now normally on these corporate trips we would get a call right about now and find ourselves cris-crossing the state, flying multiple legs to deliver more people to more towns. Each one a last minute change, we'd be lucky if we got time to grab a sub sandwich somewhere for lunch, subsisting on chips and M&M's from the on-board stock. So far though, that wasn't happening. We didn't dare mention it for fear of jinxing it. We went to the Corner Cafe for breakfast, which is where we went when Rachel flew her first trip with this company. Dejavu! As usual, the food was terrific. They have the best pancakes I've ever eaten. We took our time and made the whole meal last over an hour. Finally we headed back to the airport and Signature Aviation. 

Back at Signature Aviation we climbed into a couple of lounge chairs and took a nap. Rachel has a 13 month old baby who is in that stage where nobody gets a good night sleep, ever. So she gets her sleep when she can, and this was a perfect time. No other crews making noise, just quiet bliss. I'm still waiting to get that call for the inevitable short-notice trip, but it never came. At lunch time we grabbed the crew car again and headed over to Freddie's. We both like their burgers and fries, so we had a nice lunch there. We drove back to Signature and as I pulled in my phone rang. It was Tim. "Your passengers are on their way." I asked how he knew this and he said they had just called him, and he's standing inside Signature, waving at us. Well this was strange! Why did they send Tim and George in the jet? They were to pick up four other people from the same business, and we'd take our two in the KingAir. Why we didn't just bring all six back with us was a mystery to us all. The passengers arrived, everyone boarded and we headed back to St Louis, a quick forty minutes away. The air was clear, sunny and smooth. We landed right after the jet, I made a pretty smooth touchdown, everyone left and we were done. Everything about that trip had gone exactly according to plan, which is a very rare thing indeed. I was even home in time for dinner! It's rare but sometimes everything just goes your way. Which means the next trip will be a disaster....

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.