Thursday, August 10, 2006
I am in Memphis, Tennessee right now. The flight this morning was uneventful - I did the flying here and the boss (my copilot) mostly sat in the back during cruise and worked on his laptop. The weather was great and the air was smooth, though we had a pretty wicked headwind for the entire flight. It was a little over 2 hours and I passed the time by listening to U2 and Tool on the Ipod we have rigged up in the cockpit. My boss loves gadgets, so we are pretty well set for electronic goodies to keep up occupied during cruise - XM radio, DVD players, the Ipod, a couple of spare hand-held GPS's, a couple of handheld NAV/COM's, and of course my beloved Nintendo GameBoy.
Of course by now most people have heard about the terr'ist plot to blow up 9 planes over the Atlantic this morning that the good people at Scotland Yard managed to thwart. I can't imagine how awful it would have been if the plot had succeeded, and I'm certainly glad it didn't. The news is saying that the US National Guard are out in force at Boston's Logan airport, and that there are horrendous delays at all eastern US airports.
Just for your information, today is NOT a good day to be flying into the USA. When we landed in Memphis this morning (I'm taking the boss here for some meetings), we were met by 3 customs officers and a big dog named Rupert. They went through the entire contents of the airplane, searched our bags (I'm so very glad I forgot to bring my leopard thong underwear with me on this flight), ran radiation detectors over the entire surface of the aircraft, opened our bags a second time, had Rupert run through the airplane to sniff for explosives, quizzed me on the contents of the various bags we have on board - like our dvd players, our cardiac defibrillator, and of course an overnight bag left on board by another pilot from a previous flight. Rupert sniffed our Tim Horton's donuts while the officers asked me to open our hot water container, our coffee container, our ice buckets, and then went over everything a second time.
I know how customs can be and I am always cooperative with them - I don't want to show them my prostate (not that there's anything wrong with that), nor do I want to see Guantanamo Bay. By the time they were done searching us, 29 minutes had gone by and the plane's interior looked like it had been completely disassembled.
I'm going to spend the next 4 hours hanging out at the Wilson Air Center. They have won the "Best FBO" award in the US for like the past 7 years in a row; they are owned by the guy who founded the Holiday Inn and the customer service here is truly great. It's a pretty cool FBO, they have a huge frickin' roof over the main parking area on the ramp, and itinerant planes can take refuge from the sun under it. It's going to be 100 degrees Farenheit, which my calculator tells me is 38 degrees in Canadian.
While I'm here I'll try to snag a few photos of some of the FedEx ramp here, which has maybe 100 huge jets all in a row, or a couple shots of some cargo MU-2s that are just across the ramp from me. They are a beautiful aircraft in their own way, and these cargo ones have some really nice paint. It's too bad they have such a bad reputation, I think every pilot should fly an MU-2 at least once. It's a truly humbling experience and I think a lot of pilots could use the crushing blow to the ego that the MU-2 serves up.
Anyway, I should get the fuel order in and get the plane set up for the next leg to Newark NJ, where I am overnighting. Then it's time to think about lunch at the most expensive place I can find (see a couple of posts down for a more detailed explanation).
I sure can't wait to go to Newark this afternoon. Maybe if I get lucky I'll get strip-searched by a hot female customs officer. Then again with my luck, her name will be Bubba - cause she'll be a guy, and I'll still get strip-searched.
More to come...