Saturday, June 06, 2009

Making Money

I sleep through to 9:30. It's hard to sleep much longer because I'm used to getting up early, and the room is hot. I checked already and the thermostat is turned right down. The curtains are fairly dark, but not blackout curtains and the sun has been shining in since an hour or two after I went to sleep. I call Greyhound to see if they have my suitcase yet and discover that they were open from six a.m. to nine a.m. and are now closed. They only open with the bus schedule, and this being the middle of nowhere the bus comes at inconvenient times. They will next be open from one to five p.m.

In the meantime I catch up on e-mail, read about AF447's last messages, and do a workout, yes the aforementioned Buns of Steel, but it's more like Buns of Aluminum because there's something wrong with the DVD. It skipped most of the warm up, freezes for a while mid lunge, skips a few chunks of the cardio and almost all of the abdominal exercises. I decide it counts anyway. The phone rings just as I'm finishing and it's the customer. He wants me to be ready to fly for 2:30 p.m. No problem. He also agrees to drive me down to Greyhound to get my suitcase.

I go into the station and ask eagerly if they have a suitcase with a broken handle sent over from WestJet. As I ask I think I can see my suitcase behind her, and she says 'yes' before I'm quite finished the question. It's mine. It's back. Oh happy reunion with my stuff! As I lift the case into the bed of the truck it's clear that if anyone stole anything out of it, they replaced what they took with rocks, because it's as heavy as ever. And when I get it back to the hotel room I see that everything is where I left it. My hat! My flashlight! My clipboard! My clean underwear that hasn't been washed in a hotel sink! I now have an hour to get ready for the flight, eat a meal (I've really given up on naming the meals I eat), and meet downstairs. The food I have time for is a Tim Horton's "Chili Deal", and I substitute a bagel for the included doughnut. A bagel is a good inflight snack. As I move furniture around in the room to find a good place to set my suitcase I notice that the pilot light is on in the fireplace. (Yes, the hotel room has a fireplace. Swanky, eh?) But just that pilot light is putting out a lot of heat. I an feel it against the glass. I figure out how to turn it off and then go flying.

The plane is already on the ground and fuelled when we arrive. We have a quick meeting. The plan is to go to Grande Prairie first thing tomorrow morning. We'll meet at 6 a.m. That will not give me enough sleep to reset my duty day, but I will be a passenger on the flight and can get eight consecutive hours of rest after we arrive in Grande Prairie.

I go fly. It's a hot day and there is are a lot of convective currents. No thunderstorms, just a lot of bumpiness. A few whacks of moderate turbulence that throw things from the copilot seat onto the floor, but mostly just the discomfort of being whacked around. I reduce power so I don't go over the mission speed parameters while holding altitude in the updrafts. There are more small aircraft flying around below, calling 126.7 to advise of flights between small destinations in northern Alberta and northeastern BC. I ask one of the pilots if they are doing charter, but he says it's just for fun. He sounds envious when he realizes, "you're making money!" Heh, yeah, I guess I am. Cool.

I touch down about 9:30 and taxi in. A C172 is parked on the apron I was using. It's the same one I heard yesterday, CXD. The apron is separated from the taxiway by a strip of dirt, with a bit of a dip. There is one level gap where the pavement is good, and one can taxi through, but the Cessna is blocking that gap. I size up the dirt strip. You have to be careful when taxiing through any kind of trench, because the propellers can strike the ground. I choose a place where the dip is not as great and I am confident it won't be low enough to hit the props. I swing around, secure the airplane for the night and head back. There's a note under my door starting off with, "More Sleep!" The meet is amended to 7:30 tomorrow morning, because we can't get into the hangar until 8:30 anyway.

There's a twenty-four hour grocery store next to the hotel. I don't really feel like food though. I guess the snacks I ate during the flight are to be my final meal for the night.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Another good post but---"A few whacks of moderate turbulence that throw things laying on the copilot seat onto the floor," people or chickens?

Aviatrix said...

Ha ha, good catch. I do know better. Fixed shortly.

Geekzilla said...

That sounded like quite a busy day. A big HOORAY for the suitcase, though!

Hope your room cooled down enough for a restful sleep.

steve said...

Hrrumph....if the grammar-police are out, the spelling-police better tell you that yesterday had you 3 weeks before the "soltice"......who cares!

I like the idea of chickens.....instrument failure in ifr,chuck 'em out and follow!-and you get to eat fresh eggs.
I have visions of your suitcase being a mobile hardware/ironmongery store and portable office.-and you have room for clothes too! impressive. a good insight into your nomadic lifestyle and it's hassles and joys.
I hope the rewards are commensurate ,though it's all grist to "the book" (surely you will? )

I notice your world map is gradually filling to a mass of red....power to Aviatrix's blog!

GPS_Direct said...

That far north, how many folks are out "flying for fun?" I would think it would be, as you suggested, mainly charters and/or support for the mining. Not like in Florida...

And you have to love (or fear!) the comments in the link to the AF447 article you posted.

"somebody could have accidently fired at it from a nuclear submarine"

Uhh... Say again? I think the enormous thermonuclear KABOOOOOOM would have been a telltale... Or perhaps they mean a SAM - you know the ones designed to take out ASW helos at 500 feet. Yeah, they can catch a jet doing M0.8 at FL350.

Glad you've recovered your stuff! No doubt some of that weight is the proof print of your book, right?

Aviatrix said...

I suspect that the people hopping around the area in C172s were commercial students doing time-building, who, after being asked if they were doing something as "important" as charters didn't want to admit that they were "only" students. There seemed to be a little bit of "OMG someone in a bigger airplane talked to me on the radio!" quality in the replies I got. Or I sounded like his mom. Or I'm so full of myself that I imagined it.

But there is farmland this far north in Alberta and I suppose there are a few rich farmers with little airplanes and time on their hands late in the day.

Anonymous said...

AF447: GPS is right, it wasn't shot down by gangsters because its flight path wasn't predictable. Anyone waiting for it would've been in the wrong place.
I quite like the theory that it was hit by a meteor. That has actually happened, to a British airliner decades ago. They recovered the wreckage from the sea and found a hole in it made by something quite small coming from above.
Nowadays it'd be a bit of orbital junk rather than a natural meteor, maybe a bit of that Chinese weather satellite they blew apart just to show they could.
OK, it's totally uninformed speculation, but what else is available while we wait for some information?

Icebound said...

Re AF447....

...on the "professional" forums, such as PPRuNe....

...there is naturally a lot of speculation... and, of course, a lot of rebukes by the professionals to stop it.

But what bothers me a little, is that there is ALSO quite a bit of speculation BY the professionals ...as to what it could "NOT POSSIBLY" have been!!!...

...makes me concerned that there is a little bit of complacency out there... ...is it possible to be TOO trusting of the superiority of hardware versus the power of nature???....


...

GPS_Direct said...

@Icebound - I too have been following the (now enormous) thread on PPRuNe, and agree with your observation. Something says that many of today's professional pilots are either too trusting, or ill-informed, or both.

One fellow was hard over on the idea that if they had only slowed to Va then all would have been fine. Even to the point of questioning other pilot's credentials. Equatorial CB be damned!

As far he was concerned, Mother Nature can't -possibly- destroy the plane via turbulence - as long as you are at/under Va... Incredible...

Now, I know that Va is one of those hard-to-grasp flight theory areas, but still! The idea that merely adjusting IAS will allow you to joust with a CB is not what I want the guy driving the bus to think...

Anonymous said...

I think some people have a problem with survival in a thunderstorm being a matter of luck, not just size, technology and doing what it says in the manual. For instance:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/6369923.stm

But what is it about AF447?
Every fool on the internet fighting for his theory! Even "Dave" had unruly passengers on FL390!