Saturday, November 19, 2011

Home at Last

After we learned that nothing could be done on the airplane until Friday morning, we spent Thursday evening at Temple Square. It was a little too chilly for two Arizonians to be walking outside in mid-November, so we spent most of our time inside the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. They are celebrating 100 years since the grand opening of Hotel Utah, which the building used to be until the late 1980's. So we wandered around reading the museum-like displays until our movie started at 7:30 PM. We watched the new Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration movie (watch the whole thing here!). It was really good, and I teared up a bunch. 

Though it wasn't my own bed, hitting the hay felt very good since it had been such a crazy (but typical) week.

After an inspection by the jet mechanic, and several calls to Beechjet Technical Support, we figured out that the Nose Wheel Shimmy Dampener wasn't broken...just full of bad stuff. There was too much air inside, and not enough hydraulic fluid. So the mechanic flushed it out and add more fluid before testing movement. Then we piled in and did several high-speed taxi tests to make sure it was working.

I am so relieved that we didn't have to wait for a part! Since we were leaving again for work on Monday, I didn't want to spend the weekend away from home, only to be gone another week again! We landed in Phoenix around 4:00 PM, and it felt great to be home at last!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

From the East Coast to the Rockies

We continued our week of fun by leaving Raleigh around noon. It was supposed to be a lot earlier until Big Boss realized he had a conference call scheduled. So we waited for him by making a mad dash to Johnny Carino's, my favorite Italian place. We made it back just in time for the meeting to finish, and we were on our way out of beautiful weather (after the fog cleared) to cold and windy Detroit.

We landed at a beautiful airport on the northwest side of town called Pontiac. What a nice FBO and such friendly staff! With a belly still full, I just waited in the lobby near the fire place until we left about three hours later.

In case I didn't think it could get colder and windier than Detroit, Indianapolis was about to prove me wrong! Bumpy and was nice to finally get down! We were only here for an hour before our final trip of the day to Omaha.

I found the passengers a Suburban for the price of a compact, so we all piled in and went to Spaghetti Works in downtown Omaha for dinner. Always a fun treat! Then we ended the night at the Country Inn and Suites.

With not much to do in Omaha, we left by 9 the next morning to Denver favorite airport to visit in Denver. The customer service here is out of this world, and we simply walked upstairs to eat a delicious breakfast at The Perfect Landing Restaurant.

Next we flew to Salt Lake City, where we happily waited at the FBO for our hopeful trip home.

Raleigh - Detroit/Pontiac - Indianapolis - Omaha - Denver/Centennial - Salt Lake City

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Florida - Bound

My goodness. I've been so busy with work this week that I haven't had a chance to tell you about last week! I'll spread it out over a few posts so it isn't a mile long.

Last Monday we left Phoenix around 2:00 PM with four people in back. They wanted to go allllllll the way to Florida, but we can't do that without making a stop for fuel. We picked College Station, Texas since we landed there and were quickly fueled just a few weeks ago. Thanks to some nice winter tailwinds from the lowering jet stream, we made it to Venice on the west coast of Florida in just over five hours.

Normally, landing in Florida with Big Boss on board means getting there at 3:00 AM. But, since they had some meetings to get to in Atlanta the following morning, they worked Venice when we landed around 9:00 PM. Though they needed to be in Atlanta no later than 10:30 AM, they wanted to visit a few potential sites along the way. So we got up nice and early to get the airplane ready for a day full of flying!

Luckily, the time change helps a little bit. It is only a two-hour time difference now, and that makes getting our of bed a LOT easier!

We flew to Titusville, where they could drive to two different facilities to take a peek. Just across the water is where NASA launched the Space Shuttle until just this past July! It was neat to see it, though from several miles away. Isn't space cool?

After Titusville, we were on our way to their conference in Atlanta. We arrived in plenty of time to get them to their meeting just a few miles away. While they were gone, we went to a local Italian restaurant to enjoy some lunch. We accidentally ate Italian four times this week! Oh well...there are worse things in life than eating cheese and marinara!

Late afternoon, the passengers arrived to head southeast to Charleston, South Carolina. Last time I was here, it was smoky from fires. Every breath hurt! This visit was much nicer, though we were only here for a few hours.

Next to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We could see the boardwalk and lit Ferris wheel from the sky, and it was beautiful! This could be a fun town to visit with a Hubby! We were on the ground just long enough to grab a quick dinner from a hip Mexican restaurant. So good!

Since it was approach 10:00 PM at night, we were very relieved when Big Boss reduced the rest of the night from two airports to just one. We ended our long day in Raleigh...where I have never spent the night! I am just glad he changed his mind and didn't make us fly to Detroit after they finished with Raleigh. I don't like working until 3:00 AM! I need sleep!

It was a nice, busy, fun Monday and Tuesday.

Phoenix - College Station - Venice, Florida - Titusville, Florida - Atlanta/Cobb County, Georgia - Charleston - Myrtle Beach - Raleigh                        

Monday, November 14, 2011

Breaking Down is Hard to Do

You see this? This is a nose wheel shimmy dampener on a Beechjet. When it doesn't operate properly, flying in a Beechjet isn't very fun.

I got all excited when Big Boss announced that we were headed home...a day earlier than expected and after a crazy week on the road! We got the airplane ready and passengers loaded and were soon on our way.

As we picked up speed down the runway for takeoff, the entire airplane suddenly began shaking! It felt like it was coming from the nose wheel, and this would later prove to be a correct guess. We announced to tower that we needed to abort our takeoff. 

Thrust Levers: Idle 
Speed Brakes: Extend 
Thrust Reversers: Deploy 
Wheel Brakes: Apply

After reassuring Tower that we needed no further assistance, we were able to slowly taxi back to the Million Air at Salt Lake City. 

We found a local mechanic to give us confirmation about the nose wheel shimmy dampener being broken. Since it wasn't a quick fix, I got my four passengers home on a Southwest Airlines flight later that evening. Because the jet mechanic couldn't look at our airplane until the following morning, I calmed myself down with this:

Amazingly enough, my nerves didn't allow me to take more than a few bites. So not like me! 

I just count my blessings that we weren't going faster, and that it happened on takeoff and not on landing (when we would be going twice as fast when touching down). As exciting as it was, and how racy my pulse got, it could have been worse!

We were able to get it fixed the next day without having to order a part. The mechanic found too much air in the nose wheel shimmy dampener and not enough hydraulic fluid. After flushing out the bad and putting in the good, we did a high-speed taxi down the runway to test that all was well.

It worked, and we came back around for a full-length takeoff on runway 35. Less than two hours later, we were home!
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