Thursday, March 7, 2013

From Tropical to Very Not Tropical


Wednesday came, and it was time to hit the road to the north. I do much better throughout my day when I have some breakfast, so I grabbed this fruit cup to enjoy while waiting for our ride from the FBO this morning.

Yep. Pink pants. Is this even legal?!


Soon, my fruit was gone and the shuttle arrived. Let’s go to the airport to see Gladys!


I’m glad that they waited for us to do the fueling. These Phenom 300s are still pretty rare birds, with most of them being flown in other parts of the world. Although the fueling panel is identical to the ones used in the bigger Embraer airliners, lots of FBO fuel guys might not know how to do the single-point fueling on this pretty little airplane.

I ran out to help them. We are flying about 2.2 hours today, up near the nation’s capital!


The expensive boat show was ending in town, but that didn’t mean that the ramp was any less full. Here we have a giant Falcon, a little Beechjet, and a Hawker all lined up and ready to go. We were on the back row this afternoon, but it was close to the door because of the slanted shape of the property.

I won’t complain about that!


It was a really pretty day, too. It was 79, but the humidity could certainly be felt by this desert-dweller. A light breeze made everything right.

Here’s another Hawker right next to us.


And this Citation was next to us while we fueled. Rather than moving the fuel truck for them to get out, the line guy simply helped marshal them past. I would have been scared to move with a truck full of fuel so close to me! We are talking inches here, folks.

Those NetJets guys are pretty brave, I guess.

You can always tell it’s NetJets because the tail number ends with “QS.”

They were pretty loud next to us with engines started, so I wasn’t sad to see them go.


I love this shot from inside Gladys!

I am peeking through the window at the Hawker that they have already put in Citation’s place after it left. These line guys were so busy today that they really had to keep on top of airplane movement to make sure that everyone had a spot.


The FBO is gorgeous and tropical. Since this was my first time here, I didn’t know what to expect. The customer service was wonderful, even if their fuel prices were astronomical.

I’m pretty sure that the girl at the counter doesn’t control fuel prices…


And within an hour, most of these front-line airplanes had already been swapped out as well. I love the little cart in the foreground. It puts into perspective how giant these two Falcon jets really are.

They are really far away. And the cart is…well, not.


But now it’s our turn! Goodbye, Miami Tower! You’ve been so nice to us…weather and all!

It’s a little bittersweet leaving, since I’ve been watching the temperatures at our other destinations for the week. Miami is certainly the nicest weather that we’ll see! *shiver*


Oh my goodness. I love this side-by-side comparison of size between the Boeing 777 (left) and the Boeing 737. If you look closely, you can see that the engine of the 777 is almost the size of the fuselage for the 737.

Isn’t that incredible?!


In case it has gone unmentioned, I have loved the 777 since it came out in 1995. It was a huge deal then, because it had been a few decades since Boeing had introduced an entirely new airplane to the world.

I’ve even met the guy who was the seventh guy to get his type rating on the “Triple Seven,” as it’s usually called. United was the launch customer, and he got his type rating and then trained everyone else on the airplane.

It’s gorgeous and huge, and if I ever wanted to fly airliners, this would be the ultimate machine for me.

Luckily, I want nothing to do with the airlines. I am quite happy where I am, thankyouverymuch.


Anyway, sorry that I got distracted there for a second. I still drool when I see those things on the ramp. It’s a rare occurrence for me, and one that I always enjoy.

Goodbye, Miami International! My cold fingers miss you!


Don’t you hate it when you’re trying to get a shot of the gorgeous tropical waters off the coast of Miami, only to have the clouds pop in to say hello and ruin the picture?

Thanks, clouds.


Ah, that’s a little better. Even though most of the pretty water is still being blocked.

Thanks, clouds.


Mmmmm, I love water that looks like this. So clear and obviously snorkel-able.


The easiest way out of the Miami airspace and into the Dulles airspace is to, yet again, fly over open water of the ocean. We were over the Atlantic for about an hour, with lots of airplanes flying over and under us.

Southern Florida is one busy place to visit!

But so is Dulles near Washington DC…


And it’s huge. We have some gusty surface winds to fight there, but we will land on Runway 1C and just taxi to the general aviation ramp in the top-center of this airport chart.

Can you see the general aviation ramp? In the microscopic writing?


Phew! Here’s our first glimpse of land again! For the rest of our trips this week, we will mostly stay over land. And that’s OK with everyone!


Hi, little guy! Have fun in the south, wherever you’re going!


We passed Richmond on our descent into Dulles today. What a great city. I’ve been there many a time. And I would live there, if necessary.


This fuzzy photo is brought to you today, courtesy of a heated windshield that tries to ruin lots of my airport pictures.

You can kind of make out the runway for which we’re bound today. And there’s a control tower down there, too, if you can spot it.

Maybe squint your eyes. Does that help?

How many of you squinted?! I did!


This doesn’t look nearly as warm as Miami. I think that I’m in trouble.

This was confirmed when the line guys marshaled us in, all wearing giant winter coats. If the locals are cold, then we are absolutely going to die.


There is a massive FedEx cargo plane in the distance, just to the right of Gladys’ pretty little winglet.


And here is the ramp to Landmark Aviation! I’ve been here before, but it’s been a while. Quite possibly years, in fact.

With the wind blowing so hard (gusting thirty-three knots), the wind chill is around twenty degrees. Yikes!

Can we just stay inside the airplane until the wind dies down?


We don’t dare use the gust lock pin. Every time we have, it’s frozen the electronic switch to turn off the motor to lock everything in place. And then we get stranded because we can’t move the rudder pedals when we’re ready to go again. They are working on a fix…

But we still wanted to protect Gladys’ flight controls from the awful wind, so I devised this little method.

It’s a little old-fashioned, perhaps. Wrapping seatbelts around the control yoke? That will have to do until they design a fix to the actuator problem!


They parked us way in the boonies, so getting the passengers on their way was very chilly indeed. Especially since Dulles would be the last place to let a private car on the ramp, thanks to heightened security.

After we got them on our way, I grudgingly went back outside to get Gladys ready for a quick night on the cold, windy ramp.

Bye, Gladys!


Luckily, she had lots of friends on the ramp to keep her company in such bitter cold.


And who knew that you could paint a Learjet turquoise? I’m usually a fan of this color, but this was alarming to even my eyes!

Unless you always lose your airplane on the ramp, I would advise against this practice.


The FBO lobby is gorgeous and huge and is always full of pilots and limo drivers alike. Sometimes, I can’t tell them apart.

But, then again, they never know that I’m one of the pilots, either. I think it has nothing to do with the fact that I was wearing pink pants.


Hi, Landmark! We’re going to borrow a car and grab some dinner. While enjoying the wind chill.

I better get used to it, since I will be cold for another seven days on the road! Can I handle it?!

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