Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pride Can Be A Good Thing

If I thought My Baby looked good inside a dark hangar, you can imagine how my heart went pitter-pat when we pulled it outside to leave for home yesterday morning. The metallic Blue Ocean paint just sparkles! And the orange really pops next to the dark stripes. I've never seen an airplane so white and am actually looking forward to keeping it this clean! Winter flying makes that a little easier with way fewer bugs, but slush can make a mess of an airplane, too. My Baby was pulled to the self-pump Jet A gas tank, where we added fifty gallons into each wing. We needed to be light enough to take off on such a short runway, but also have enough fuel to make a twenty-mile trip to Portland, Maine to get a ton of fuel for the long trip home.

I would like to mention that a camera lens cannot quite capture how miserably cold it was. The temperature was eight degrees before considering the 30-knot wind gusts taking place. My teeth ached when I smiled, which naturally happened each time I looked at this new airplane. After we got some fuel, the gas-powered tug died because it was so cold! I couldn't have been happier to leave such a location.

Our flight to Portland was short and uneventful, except the wild bumps we felt as we descended to the airport. Who needs to pay for a roller coaster when you have moderate turbulence at your fingertips? The airplane was truly tested with a 20-knot direct crosswind on touchdown. We taxied to the FBO to take on as much fuel as the airplane could handle. 733 gallons total! Then we climbed aboard for a nice, long flight west towards home.

We made a pit stop in Salina, Kansas, though we weren't initially expecting to get that far. The forecasted winds aloft were a little lower than anticipated, so we made it another few hundred miles before needing to stop. Flower Aviation is always so good to us, and we are sometimes there a few times each week as we travel across the country. Within twenty minutes, we had fuel, paid the bill, grabbed a few chocolate chip cookies, and were airborne again for our last leg home.

I always feel a little emotional when I sit in the seat and look out my windscreen. I marvel at the wonderful job I have, the incredible opportunities to see the world. All from the perfect "office." It felt magical to be flying again, and even better that no major pieces fell off the airplane in flight! It's hard to match the feeling I get behind the controls of an airplane. 

Welcome home, My Baby. I'm so glad you're done!

Oxford, Maine (81B) - Portland, Maine (KPWM) - Salina, Kansas (KSLN) - Willy-Gateway Mesa (KIWA)

Monday, February 14, 2011

The New and Ever-Improved Baby of Mine

I was so excited last night that I hardly slept. Today was the day that I was to see My New Baby in person. Cosmetic surgery inside and out has been taking place for the past eleven weeks to bring my Beechjet into the new century. Yes, we are late bloomers. But when you're the only girl on an airplane and no one else cares about the aesthetics, you must be patient. Besides, overhauling an airplane with new paint and interior is not a cheap endeavor, and I work for cost-conscious people who prefer to not make something pretty if it means digging into their wallets.

Boy oh boy, am I ever glad they finally fell for my pleas! Look at this beautiful airplane! We are sure to be the coolest kid on the block for quite some time. If I ever let people inside to actually use it, that is. When I first saw My Baby this morning, I jumped up and down in excitement. Luckily, I didn't tear up like I was expecting. That would have been awkward to explain to a bunch of mechanics, painters, and interior gurus who were all complete strangers to me. It all worked out in that they let me get even closer to peek at my sweet new ride.

I spent the day looking over the work that has been. And then I cracked a polite whip! It was my only opportunity to find problems and have them fixed! As awesome as these people are, no one cares about this airplane like me. So I was the one who looked over every square inch to assure all was done well and properly. Once again, being nice paid off. The crew was more than willing to make me happy, even if it meant taping off sections of the airplane to fix minor cosmetic flaws. Most peope wouldn't notice them, but my Type-A tendancies sometimes dictate who notices what!

We didn't quite get everything fixed before the sun went down. I refuse to take off on such a tiny runway at night, so we will be leaving tomorrow afternoon after the last few items are wrapped up. Oxford Aviation has been nothing but heavenly to us, and it's been a pleasure watching true masters at work. I can't wait to start pulling up at airports in this shiny new machine!

Back to the Wild Blue. It's about time!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hodgepodge of Activity

Yesterday was a busy, busy day! Since I'm about to leave on a jet plane for work, I don't have much time to explain all the wonderful details.

YES! MY AIRPLANE IS DONE! I'm literally flying all day today to get to Portland, Maine to pick My Baby up tomorrow morning.

But yesterday couldn't be ignored. John and I attended the Chinese Festival in Phoenix. It was interesting and fun to wander the booths. I'm just glad I don't like trinkets, or this place could have made a fortune off me. We had lunch in the Chinese restaurant, since the price was about the same as what was being served in tents outside. John got General Tsao's Chicken, which wasn't spicy enough, and I got Chicken Chow Mein, which was yummy and plentiful. Most of it is sitting in the fridge right now for John to enjoy (all alone) after church.

When we got home from the festival, I got to work in the kitchen. I made favor bags for Evan's birthday party, which I'm missing because of work. Can you believe the timing? I have almost three months off and end up leaving the day of my nephew's first birthday! I can't complain too loudly...I haven't worked since Thanksgiving, after all. T'liese is doing a puppy theme for the entire party, so we made Puppy Chow in little bags with labels I made. I really enjoy designing stuff like that! And I think they turned out rather well, if I may be so bold. I put them in a box to transport then got to work making Rolo-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies. The plan was to take these goodies to Maine with me for the crew who has been working on my airplane. But I'm worried Security will be a hassle with homemade food bagged up, so I'm only taking a few to the gals I promised. These cookies taste incredible but are quite laborious to make. Unfortunately, I took some off the cooling pan a little too early, and the Rolo centers fell right out onto the counter! John will have a lovely evening of enjoying those messy treats!

We next made a t-shirt for Evan to wear for his birthday party. Again, it had the same puppy from the labels (and even his invitations sent three weeks ago), so everything matched. John, my patient husband, made two trips to Walmart to get more supplies when things didn't work as planned. In the end, we finally achieved a cute shirt for Evan to wear for his celebration. I get all choked up thinking about missing such a party!

So that's it for now. I'm off to pack and then catch a commercial flight. With any luck, I won't have to fly commercially again until next January for training! It's way more cool flying in a private airplane, anyway.

Off to freeze to death!

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