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Oct 23 2008

Maverick Commuting Gems – Vol 1 Part II

Published by at 10:36 am under Uncategorized

Maverick here…in Hong Kong…should have probably written this from Fairbanks…when it was fresher but heck…I was in minimum rest (12 hours) between the landing and the next flight to Hong Kong…

You would think that after the end of Part 1 that would be it…but no…when it rains it pours…Part 2 (the air part) is up!

So, we left off as I got on the airplane at Dallas…the goal was to get to Anchorage after a short stop in Atlanta to unload some freight…and then pick up the flight to Hong Kong the next day…but it was not meant to be…

As I was a passenger and it was the middle of the nite…my goal was to sleep as much as possible…and I am happy to report I got about 7 hours in fragments…one on the flight to Atlanta – two on the ground in Atlanta – and four on the way to Anchorage (7 hour flight).

When I woke up…I wanted to read a little bit of my new book, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Had heard a lot of great stuff about this author…the Alchemist was an easy read and it had a great effect on me…get it…it is a very interesting book!

Did not get much chance to do any reading…the weather in Anchorage was terrible with windshear up to 100 knots (not good) and not too many airplanes being able to land…

After checking with the company and conversing about the best possible options (thank God we took fuel to go to Fairbanks our most distant alternate)…we decided to go into Anchorage and try to get in…if we did not…we had enough fuel to make it to Fairbanks.

We were jerked around by turbulence quite a bit during the descent…and all was fairly normal until 1000 feet. At our 1000 foot check we had a 60 knot difference in wind velocity from the wind reported at the ground.

Here is a shameless pitch for the great safety systems on the Boeing 747…at 900 feet, sensing the wind difference between our altitude and the ground was past our desired safety margin, we heard the proverbial “GO AROUND, WINDSHEAR AHEAD”. We commenced a normal go around and stuck with our plan, asking for a heading direct to Fairbanks…

The rest of the flight concluded uneventfully…Fairbanks is a big international airport with very good services…except with another 9 aircraft that were there from Anchorage it took about 2 hours to get off the airplane…steps shortage and I would not want to jump from about 25 feet to the ground (did not bring my parachute).

And we did want to take care of the cat…how could you forget the cat…we had a nice Persian cat with us…yes I have pictures and also special messages of the company making sure we did not forget it…thanks goodness we did not have a load of pigs (and we carry those often)!

We took the cat with us into Alaska airlines operations and picked it up on the way to the airplane…she had plenty of food and from what we heard all she did was sleep!

Fairbanks Arrival

Fairbanks Arrival

Cat Is With Us!

Cat Is With Us!

Since there were three of us…the company decided to fly us direct Fairbanks to Hong Kong, saving an extra leg to Anchorage…no need really all we need is three guys for a flight of this length…

So, after check in at the Princess Lodge (name reminds me of my daughter) and, but of course, we had to go downtown Fairbanks to see it…since I had no idea when we would go and visit next…I would hope not soon!

After a nice lunch at Soapy Smiths (great clam chowder) and a free seminar on Gold and Silver by the local Gold Coin Dealer (learned a few interesting things…I will make a special post for this under Maverick Lessons – stay tuned…)

Even took a few pictures downtown Fairbanks…but I will not post them…they are not representative of the town…and I hear there are great things as you go a little out of town…so you can go and find out for yourself!

After a few hours of sleep…we got woken up as scheduled and went to the airplane…lucky us the company had a engineer travel from Anchorage to help us…other wise you are talking tons of paperwork.

He was waiting for us…except we had another little challenge…the aircraft was not fuelled…and the fueller was training someone else…and we had to put over 30000 gallons (yes you read right) of jet fuel in the airplane for a 11 hour flight…any guesses how long it took?

Three and a half hours! And Four fuel trucks…at least on the last two there was no training going on…we were so close to having to go back to the hotel (our duty hours were expiring…pilots are not ROBOTS, we do have safety and rest limits!)…

There is more…once we started the engines…there were a few malfunction messages (nothing serious mainly caused by the airplane sitting out for a while)…they cleared fast…we deiced the airplane…and you may be surprised…the rest of the flight went very smoothly!

As you can see…my life is full of excitement (what I call non-boredom)…plenty of lessons learned…and yes I was not even really supposed to be on the flight from Dallas to Anchorage in the first place!

Which is why…I see it very hard for me to stop doing this…at this point…I am enjoying the heck out of it…I fly with a bunch of cool guys (99.99% of them), and they are paying me well.

The tune may be different once I have tripled my salary…then there will be many more options for the Maverick!

Check Six,

The Maverick

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