Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Prisoner of Best Western

I awakened to an alarm clock and stretched my arms high above my head. I was in a nice, quiet bedroom, an extension to my hotel suite in Best Western in Addison, Dallas, Texas. Another beautiful day of flying ahead of me. I was going to shower and then meet Bruce for breakfast before we went exploring town for the day prior to our evening departure. I hopped out of bed and walked the two steps to the bedroom door and turned the handle. Nothing. I turned a little harder on the door handle and tugged on the door. Still no movement. I leaned over to watch the door jam as I turned the handle several times, and the bolt wasn't moving at all! I was stuck in my room!

My only tools to aid me were a pen lid and a several wonderfully soft pillows. I didn't think they would help me much, so I finally gave in and called the front desk. I had to explain the situation several times. "Yes, I am locked IN my room. HELP!" He called a maintenance guy but then tried to come to my rescue himself. However, being the safety maniac that I am on the road, I had dead-bolted and iron-armed the entrance door to my hotel room. They had three things against them in trying to get through to the bedroom door to save me! I was positive my oxygen level was sinking lower each second...

I pressed my ear against the bedroom door and could hear the front desk guy trying to get in. Apparently, you can do wonders with a screwdriver and an electronic key. However, he couldn't get past the iron arm that swings over the door frame to keep intruders out. Another twenty minutes of waiting, and I heard a light tapping on the hotel door. Gonzolo, who apparently speaks "un poquito Ingles" was knocking at the hotel door for me to let him in. As I continued to wait on the bed, trying to decide how best to look decent when they finally barged in to rescue me from my delinquent door, I heard a sawing noise at the room entrance. They were hand-sawing through the iron arm!

Hesitantly wrapping myself in the bedspread, being careful to only let the inside touch my skin, I waited for the inevitable. Finally, I heard the last sawing motion and a "klink" sound as the iron arm hit the floor. I heard the door open and then my own bedroom door also opened. I WAS SAVED!

Total time of imprisonment: 52 minutes. Rather than waiting to fix the bedroom door handle after I checked out, Gonzolo proceeded to fix it right there on the spot. This prevented me from showering and making up for loss time. Twenty minutes later, he mumbled something that I think was supposed to be English and left. What an adventurous way to start my morning! I will always check door handles on both sides before I disappear for the night. Turns out the oxygen level didn't change at all.

Captain Day

This is it! The biggest day of my career thus far! On Monday, June 9, 2008, I flew my first trip as Captain with Bruce, my boss, as my co-pilot. I was in charge of everything from flight planning to fueling to weather-checking. It was a BLAST! Things went well on the 7:00 PM departure to Centennial Airport in Denver from Phoenix Sky Harbor, my home airport. The flight lasted 1.8 hours and ended with a smooth night landing on the 10,000-foot runway at KAPA. Weather was gorgeous! The airplane performed perfectly! I didn't forget anything! In fact, my calmness rather surprised me. I just relaxed and enjoyed everything, knowing that I had done everything I could possibly think of to prepare and make the flight a success. It was that! The only difficult thing was trying to sleep after the flight because I was so excited! I love my job. I am 25 years old with 1056 total hours of flight time, and I am a Beechjet Captain. Sheesh.

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