Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Songs of My Country

We got everything ready and took off today, but after flying back and forth for about five minutes, before all the green lights were even lined up on the mission, we were forced to abort for poor environmental conditions. I love this plane, because I can carry full fuel and a mission specialist and still land immediately after take off. All airplanes in the fleet are not the same, and one that is heavier empty may require me to fly for about an hour before I'm down to landing weight. I have no ability to dump fuel. In an emergency I could land overweight, and if it was a high quality landing on a sufficient length runway, there would be no damage at all. But the specifications for the aircraft have to allow for the sloppiest normally acceptable landing--I don't know if that's defined somewhere, it's a corner of the envelope I've never elected nor had the misfortune to push--and still land safely at the max allowable weight. So I must legally burn down to that before landing. This lovely, svelte aircraft would let me do touch and goes with my full mission payload. So when the mission specialist calls it, I'm wheels on the ground as soon as the local FSS confirms the runway is mine. It's always the mission specialist's call to land for any mission-related reasons, of just because he or she feels like it, just as he or she can't overrule my decision to land for any safety reason. I don't get to call flights on whims though.

The AME arrives to meet the flight. It's one of the guys I was working with down south, just not the same one as was up here before. They swapped over and used their overlap days to do the inspection. He's here this afternoon just to make sure there is no aircraft reason for the quick return, and to familiarize himself with the working environment up here. I feel like I'm on the Snowbirds or something with this attentive ground support.

Back at the hotel, I have e-mail with an iTunes recommendation, based on my quoting Robert Service. He's right, I like this. I've heard it many times, but never remembered the title or artist at a moment when I was downloading music.

My country is definitely wild and savage. The song goes into my cross country playlist along with all the songs that contain the names of states and provinces or other places I fly over. Yes, my list is heavy on Stompin' Tom. My correspondent reminds me that Stan Rogers also has an aviation connection, as he was killed in the fire on the Air Canada deathwish plane.

Meanwhile iTunes censors the word "Honky" in Honky Tonk Man and Honky Tonk Blues censored. What the heck? How is this a bad word? I believe it's a really old fashioned derogatory term for caucasians, based I suppose on the fact that white people have the biggest noses of any race, but has anyone ever been actually offended by the word? I love reading stories about ridiculous things done in the name of profanity filtering, but I don't like it so much when they affect things I'm trying to look at.

A victory has been achieved against the forces for terrorist infiltration of hotels, as the card encoder works again, and we can all go in and out of our hotel rooms without an escort.


Unknown said...

The captian and I left home base once when it became apparent that one of the pax had forgotten to bring something that was needed. After a fair bit of discussion it was decided that the trip wasn't viable without it and that returning to base was the only option.

We circled for over an hour, burning a quantity of fuel worth more than our combined paycheques for that month, to get down to max landing weight. We landed, picked up the required document, fueled again and took of once again...

Glad you got back safely, looking forward to stories from Cambodia.



Anonymous said...

To feed your profanity filter collection:

For several years I've been a moderator on a photography related website, which includes a section on nature photography and pet photography.
One day the admins decided to install a profanity filter, using some standard product they'd found somewhere.

Suddenly any reference to beavers, pussies, and a variety of other animals could no longer be made, the profanity filter made no distinction in context for the use of these words.

Suffice to say, it was quickly disabled and never returned, the admins now trust the moderators to handle the few cases where things get out of hand.

John Lennerton said...

Stan Rogers wrote many great songs about life in Canada; starting with the Maritime region and later, the west. He was well known on the folk and coffee house circuit in the Boston area, and made many friends in this area during his all too short life. I recommend giving a listen to his music; you may find other songs you enjoy.

"There was a man
Who came from north of here
He could raise his voice
And he could raise a beer
And when he left
The music stayed
And that's how legends are made"

- "How Legends Are Made", John Gorka

grant said...

Your reference to AC797 sent me googling to discover that the relevant issue of Mayday is online at youtube.

The crew all "survived" the incident, but carry it with them always. As far as I know at least one of the flight attendants never returned to work. I had the privilege of working the Don Cameron a couple years afterwards, and knew Claude Oimet to say hi to. Both are excellent pilots and "everyday" heros who did the absolute best anyone could with the situation and challenges they faced, given their previous training and experiece and equipment (or lack thereof).

This video doesn't do justice to the extent of the emergency they faced landing a half-crippled aircraft while fighting toxic smoke and fumes.

zb said...

Poor environmental conditions, eh? Well, even though this post isn't tagged with "weather", I am sure it's not off-topic to say that I guess you love today's xkcd.