Sunday, September 25, 2011

Projected Absence

I'm really wrapped up in a creative project that is using the same part of my brain and my day as blogging, and for now I'm going to give it priority.

I'll try to catch up later, but here's a tidbit from my day.

While I was preflighting today I saw a Canadian Forces Airbus in military grey, with muted markings and the only colour the red Canadian flag on the tail. The FBO crew parked an airstairs truck at the forward door and a long line of soldiers came out, carrying duffel bags across the apron to the FBO. I don't know where they had come directly from, or whether the range of the airliner would support it, but it was most interesting to imagine that they were returning directly from Afghanistan. I shouted "Welcome home!" across the ramp, but it wouldn't have been audible above the sound of the APU and of other idling aircraft.

Later, after takeoff I heard the Canadian Forces callsign, with a female pilot's voice, check in with departure. She was on the same instrument departure as I was, and given the same instruction after departure. I realized that she was climbing up behind me, then was given another vector that would put her past me on the right. I wonder if they loaded more soldiers to take back to wherever they got the first lot, or if they were ferrying empty.


Cedarglen said...

If those troops really were just back from AFG, ditto the Welcome Home! The rest does not matter, but I'm delighted to see a plainload of them HOME! Thanks.

Sarah said...

Glad to hear you're busy - writing? knitting? Whatever. I was starting to wonder if nothing had happened (to blog about ).

DataPilot said...

I am very relieved to hear that the reason for your absence was simply that you're busy.

On the topic of military personnel coming home...

A number of years back, I watched a large box being loaded into the cargo hold of a commercial airliner that I was seated in. Two uniformed soldiers stood on the tarmac and observed while the box was loaded, then boarded the plane and took their seats in the first class section. When the plane reached its destination, a flight attendant requested that everyone stay seated long enough to allow the service members to deplane. She also said that they were coming back from Afghanistan. It wasn't until then that I realized the big box held the remains of a fallen comrade that the soldiers were escorting home.

Now every time I see a soldier riding on a plane, I think about the the service member who came home in the cargo hold. And I rejoice when I see a soldier deplane, headed for home on their own two feet.

Mike Kear said...

@datapilot: I am glad that these days we bring our soldiers home when they fall. There are thousands of Australians (and others of course) buried on foreign soil from conflicts past. The governments bring the fallen home with great respect and reverence these days, and so they should.

For my part, I would rather they be at home training, than dodging bullets and IEDs in someone else's country.

Anonymous said...

I miss your postings....


see ya soon/

Anonymous said...

Hear, hear ... missing your posts!

Anonymous said...

One of the aviation blogger "From the flight deck" had set the parking brake ... Hope it is not same with you .Iam an avid reader of aviation blogs like many others here and dont want to miss one more great blog from you.Hoping to see a posting soon.

Tracy Salas said...

My RSS feed feels so empty without your posts! Send us an update soon?

Sam said...

Aviatrix, we all miss you! Please oh please come back :)

Garrett said...

Missing your posts!

Hope everything is going well.

Mike Perth said...

Hope All is well in Aviatrix land - Really hope your creative project comes to an end soon as not having your blog to read is getting tough!!

Anonymous said...

Where are you .... ?! Missing your daily postings!

Pete Templin said...

Hope your creative adventures are going well, and that we'll hear more flying adventures soon!

Cedarglen said...

Any guess when your postings might return? Please know that you are missed. -C.

5400AirportRdSouth said...

I miss your postings as well. Here's hoping your absence is to write that book we've all been bugging you to write!

kbq said...

For the season, taken from a posting at

Ann Marie Blalock posted this version of The Night Before Christmas on a Facebook page….thought all airline folks might get a kick out of it:

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and out on the ramp,
Not an airplane was stirring, not even a Champ.
The aircraft were fastened to tiedowns with care,
In hopes that come morning, they all would be there.

The fuel trucks were nestled, all snug in their spots,
With gusts from two-forty at 39 knots.
I slumped at the fuel desk, now finally caught up,
And settled down comfortably, resting my butt.

When the radio lit up with noise and with chatter,
I turned up the scanner to see what was the matter.
A voice clearly heard over static and snow,
Called for clearance to land at the airport below.

He barked his transmission so lively and quick,
I’d have sworn that the call sign he used was “St. Nick.”
I ran to the panel to turn up the lights,
The better to welcome this magical flight.

He called his position, no room for denial,
“St. Nicholas One, turnin’ left onto final.”
And what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a Rutan-built sleigh, with eight Rotax Reindeer!

With vectors to final, down the glideslope he came,
As he passed all fixes, he called them by name:
“Now Ringo! Now Tolga! Now Trini and Bacun!
On Comet! On Cupid!” What pills was he takin’?

While controllers were sittin’, and scratchin’ their head,
They phoned to my office, and I heard it with dread,
The message they left was both urgent and dour:
“When Santa pulls in, have him please call the tower.”

He landed like silk, with the sled runners sparking,
Then I heard “Left at Charlie,” and “Taxi to parking.”
He slowed to a taxi, turned off of three-oh
And stopped on the ramp with a, “Ho, ho-ho-ho…”

He stepped out of the sleigh, but before he could talk,
I ran out to meet him with my best set of chocks.
His red helmet and goggles were covered with frost
And his beard was all blackened from Reindeer exhaust.

His breath smelled like peppermint, gone slightly stale,
And he puffed on a pipe, but he didn’t inhale.
His cheeks were all rosy and jiggled like jelly,
His boots were as black as a cropduster’s belly.

He was chubby and plump, in his suit of bright red,
And he asked me to “fill it, with hundred low-lead.”
He came dashing in from the snow-covered pump,
I knew he was anxious for drainin’ the sump.

I spoke not a word, but went straight to my work,
And I filled up the sleigh, but I spilled like a jerk.
He came out of the restroom, and sighed in relief,
Then he picked up a phone for a Flight Service brief.

And I thought as he silently scribed in his log,
These reindeer could land in an eighth-mile fog.
He completed his pre-flight, from the front to the rear,
Then he put on his headset, and I heard him yell, “Clear!”

And laying a finger on his push-to-talk,
He called up the tower for clearance and squawk.
“Take taxiway Charlie, the southbound direction,
Turn right three-two-zero at pilot’s discretion”

He sped down the runway, the best of the best,
“Your traffic’s a Grumman, inbound from the west.”
Then I heard him proclaim, as he climbed thru the night,
“Merry Christmas to all! I have traffic in sight.”

Bill (Tassie) said...

Miss your blog.
Merry Xmas and Happy New year.

northwoods girl said...

Happy Holidays...

Hope to read you soon.

Dave W said...

Happy Christmas to you, I hope your project is progressing well!

All the best!

Dave from the UK

Cedarglen said...

Just checking in. Are you coming back - or not? Your posts are missed. -C.