Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A night flight to Montreal recently. I have flown roughly as much at night as I have during the day, thanks to a stint flying night cargo and another stint flying medevacs. I like night flying - the air is usually calmer, and the airspace is less busy. The major downsides are fatigue and the fact that you can't see bad weather as clearly at night, but overall I prefer night flying.

Hanging out at the Starlink FBO, keeping the electrics on and warm. I love the Starlink FBO - the crew car is a BMW and the FBO staff make a wicked cappucino. Oh, and fuel is cheaper than in Toronto, so what's not to love?

A nice big green light on our right wingtip will protect us from other airplanes running into us, in theory.

After a nice supper at Le Biftheque, I am ready for the trip home. Thanks to a large can of Diet Red Bull, I am fully alert, like a puma if pumas drank Red Bull.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

There is nothing like travelling for a living to make a person feel lonely. I'm sitting in Boston as I write these words, and I miss Lisa but that's not what I mean so I'm gonna try to explain it a little better.

I mean that it's easy to end up driving aimlessly around a strange neighborhood in a rental car because I don't know where the locals go for fun, but I do know I don't want to sit in my hotel room all day.

Try driving aimlessly around in a strange city and you'll see what I mean about feeling lonely. Maybe that's the wrong word - I feel like I'm just skimming the surface, like I'm most likely missing out on the uniqueness of the place I go to, and that if I only lived my life in more depth, I would be able to somehow absorb more of my environment.

I try to get out and about in our destinations, and for the most part I succeed - when we check into the hotel my first words to the desk clerk are usually "Where would you go if you were hungry" or "What do you do for fun on your time off". When I have overnights with Kitsch he has usually already scoped out the best restaurants in the area, and we are pretty proactive when it comes to exploring, and that helps.

But getting out and about isn't the same thing as feeling like part of the community, or like part of the same species. There are lots of times I feel like an astronaut in my little rental car bubble - I feel outside in some strange way, like I'm a reporter from another planet come to do a story on the bizarre customs and habits of the locals.

There are lots of times I see things at my job and think "Man, I wish Lisa was here to see that" which somehow actually makes things better - it would be a lot more lonely if I wasn't able to go home and tell Lisa all the minute and pointless details of my trips, so I am grateful for that. Sharing it with someone else makes it real, and I guess I must need to do that more than most.

Don't get me wrong - the occasional feeling of loneliness is a tiny price to pay for the incredible satisfaction I get out of my job, and I certainly wouldn't give up flying as a result of it.

...I just wonder if other pilots feel like ghosts once in a while as they are walking down the streets of a layover town, waiting for the next flight to take them back home so they can become people again, with friends and families.

Friday, September 05, 2008

The conga-line of hurricanes and tropical storms is bringing moisture to a whole lot of the continent this week. That's fine by me - the plane could use a wash.

We flew mostly east today, ahead of the worst of the rain. It's a great day outside, and I'm enjoying the last few days of warmth before the leaves turn color and I feel the first icy wind blow down my back. The flight was uneventful and the US Customs guy was pleasant, so all in all the morning was a complete success.

We head back home later on, and will be flying through a whole pile of the aforementioned rain. It's nothing serious - no thunderstorms are predicted or observed - but it's still a spooky feeling when we fly into a dark cloud and start to hear the rain hitting the windshield at a few hundred knots. Depending on the airplane, a wet windshield can be really hard to see out of due to the water streaking all about. In my car I use Rain-X to clear the windshield, but I am worried it would eat the plexiglass in the plane, so I mostly use furniture polish (lemon-scented Pledge, actually) in an effort to keep the windshield slick and the water beading nicely.

Not much else is new here - Lisa and I have been married for over a month now, and I think it's going to take, so that's nice. We also are moving into a house at the end of the month, with a real back yard and a fence and everything, so that's cool. We haven't bought a house, it's just a rental, but it will let us know if we are up to the challenge of mowing lawns and shovelling snow, things we haven't had to do at our previous apartments.

Gas prices are starting to lower, which is a welcome change and also bodes a little better for my job security ;)

Oh, I do have something to mention actually. My parent company has said they will pay for me to obtain a non-aviation qualification, in case I stick a salad fork into my eye one day and lose my medical, or in case the price of fuel goes up to $20/gallon and I lose my airplane.

That in itself is an amazing offer, and this only reaffirms that I am really lucky to be working for them. Kitsch is going to work on his MBA, but I'm sort of stuck for ideas.

What should I study? What do I want to be if I can't be a flyin' guy? My parent company is involved with alternative energy sources, so I'm thinking maybe something to do with wind turbines or hydro dams, or maybe engineering, or maybe accounting or something. What do you do at your current job that gives you satisfaction? Anything I should avoid? I'm still in the very early planning stages and am open to any suggestions.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Wedding pix in the post below this one.

And now a few honeymoon pics. We went to Nice, France.

After an overnight flight I got to watch the sun come up as we started our approach into Nice.

A shot of the beach by our hotel.

I really love this shot - It was night and Lisa was getting her portrait done, so she was holding still. Everyone else wasn't holding still, hence the ghosts.

Second angle, watching the portrait take hold.

There were lots of street performers, including these guys. Watch the last 30 seconds for all kinds of awesome. Apologies for the sound quality.

More street performers, these ones of the "hold really still, then move suddenly and scare passersby" variety. The one on the left took a hankerin' to Lisa, while the one on the right held me at bay.

We walked to the top of a medieval fort to take a pic of the beaches below.

At night, the streets light up.

We had a great time swimming

We stopped to smell the roses a lot.

And had lots of awesome meals.

It was such a relief after the wedding frenzy and pressure - I swear I came back from honeymoon at least an inch taller, and certainly more relaxed.

Next, back to flying posts :)