Friday, January 8, 2010

Snow Plowing in an Airplane

What an exciting week. It just kept getting colder and colder until we finally arrived back in Phoenix late Thursday evening. I hate to say it, but our fuel stop on the way home in Kansas City was colder and snowier than anything we experienced in Canada. Thankfully, I had a scarf that my Mommy knitted for me, so I was warm and fuzzy all week during a cold visit to Canada.

We left Monday after waiting two hours for our passengers to show. Very abnormal for them, for sure! We flew non-stop to Calgary in Alberta to begin the freezing process. I even bought "the warmest gloves we sell" from Sports Authority on Monday morning before leaving, just to help me feel better about keeping all my extremities. How is it that my hands still froze all week!? Calgary wasn't too bad because there was hardly any wind. We would make up for that treat several times later in the week!

Tuesday afternoon, we flew to Edmonton Downtown Airport for the night, since the International Airport is about thirty miles outside of town. Edmonton is the home to the largest shopping mall in the world, but apparently Calgary is building one to compete. They are about a thirty-minute flight from each other. Share the love, Canada! We like shopping malls in Arizona! Edmonton was very cold, about minus 20, but was tolerable because of the lack of wind.

Wednesday meant an early morning flight to Winnipeg, up at 5:00 AM. Winnipeg is only a two-hour drive north of where I went to school in Grand Forks, North Dakota, so it felt like I was "coming home" in a lot of ways. First: there is absolutely no terrain. Even trees are a rare commodity that few can brag about seeing in this part of the world. Second: the wind never stops. It's impossible to smile without your teeth aching. Do you know how cold it has to be for your teeth to ache? Third: the fields are all lined up in perfect one-mile squares, which makes teaching ground reference maneuvers to new pilots a cinch! Fourth: the locals say the minus 35-degree windchill is nothing compared to last weeks temperatures (and, living in Grand Forks for four winters...I believe them!). We stayed in Winnipeg for the day, catching a ride to Olive Garden to chomp down some warm soup and pasta. I also discovered (shamefully) that the local Safeway carries my favorite candy in the world, Reeses Bites. They are no longer available in the States, which is a good thing for my waist line. I usually treat myself to some when I visit Canada, but I thought they were only found in Toronto. It made me too happy when I found them a day early in Winnipeg. I guess that place isn't so bad after all! For the record, a bag of Reeses Bites made it home for John to try. First time ever. That evening, we continued on to Hamilton just outside of Toronto, one of my favorite places to visit in the Great North.

I got to sleep a little longer on Thursday and spent the day studying for training and my ATP check ride coming up next week. It seems like the more I study, the more there is to study! I am feeling a little overwhelmed but hope I feel ready by Monday. I commercially fly out to Wichita (I KNOW...who schedules these things?!) on Sunday and will be there until late Friday night. It's going to be a killer week. And a killer weekend getting ready for it! Hopefully I can get everything done in time to feel confident and comfortable. I have done this all before, so it should go smoothly.

Our trip home began from Hamilton on Thursday evening. We landed in Kansas City Downtown Airport for fuel and to clear Customs. Thanks to twelve inches of snow in the past twenty-four hours, the airport was a mess. One guy slid off the very slick runway in front of us, so we had to land on the short runway with a 20-knot crosswind and icy asphalt. Terry handled it like a pro. Then we had to ride through some snow banks to arrive at the Customs hangar, and we almost had to get tugged out because the drifts were so high! Cold, snowy, windy...I couldn't wait to leave. On takeoff, we had an annunciator for the right Engine EFC, so we aborted our takeoff. Just to add to the fun! Once we were finally airborne, it took me twenty minutes to relax from the experience on the ground. I hate winter flying! We finally landed in warm, no-snow Phoenix at 9:00 PM. After I loaded the passengers cars with their ketchup-flavored potato chips, Terry and I headed home. I dropped him off and beat my husband home from school. I sure miss that boy when I'm gone!

It was a great week, and I am always overwhelmed at how lucky I am to have this wonderful job. I really love my life, even if it means occasionally suffering through 100-degrees-too-cold temperatures. Wichita, here I come!

Phoenix - Calgary - Edmonton - Winnipeg - Hamilton - Kansas City - Phoenix

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Frostbite and Windchills

I would post something witty to make up for not having any pictures (yet), but my fingers are unfortunately frozen from being in Canada in the middle of January. I told Boss II we can't fly north of Florida in the winter...looks like he listened to me, huh? Pictures coming this weekend! That is, if my camera can last the -20 temperatures!
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