Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hangin' With The EG

I love small town airports.  One thing I always look forward to when I visit the EG in sunny California is spending time at the Petaluma Municipal Airport.  Even though Petaluma Muni is a little on the fancy side (like much of California) it's still a great place to hang out.  The airport restaurant, the Two Niner Diner, is really top notch.  If you visit sometime (other than mealtime) the observation deck at the terminal building is a relaxing place to shoot the breeze and watch the local North Bay traffic.

My most recent visit to the Left Coast was back in August.  I was there to assist the EG with his Flight Line Safety duties at the 2012 Wings Over Wine Country Air-Show, in Santa Rosa, California.  It was a quick trip; arriving on a Friday morning, and departing the following Tuesday.  The weekend was full of air-show, but Monday afternoon, while we were running errands, the EG decided we should swing by the airport and continue our tradition.

There was just one airplane on the ramp when we arrived.  A King Air 350 out of San Louis Obispo, California.  The two pilots were dozing in the shade of the terminal building---only slightly irritated that a couple of off-duty airline pilots would interrupt their naps.  They warmed up to us, eventually.  After they figured out they could pump us for information about the airlines.  Still; the older of the two---I could tell what he was thinking:  You're an airline pilot.  Why aren't you out on the golf course?  The short answer:  Never learned.  I was always out at the airport!

I guess we had been chatting with the King Air guys for about thirty minutes when this zippy little One Design aerobatic machine taxied up to the self-service fuel pump.  When the pilot climbed out of the cockpit, Duncan said:  "That looks like a friend of mine, John Posson, a classmate from United!"  He gave out a shout:  "Hey John is that you?"  And so it was. . .

Duncan "EG" Flett & John Posson 

John and the EG started New Hire Pilot Training at United Airlines in February 1991.  The EG is now a long time Captain, and Line Check Airman, on the Airbus A320, based in San Francisco.  He is closing in on twenty-two years of service.  Prior to joining UAL, he spent time at Eastern Airlines, and Pan American World Airways.  John came to United by way of Wien Air Alaska, and Hawaiian Airlines.  He retired several years ago, and now earns his keep as a P-51 and L-39 Instructor at Stallion 51, in Kissimmee, Florida.  He is also a member of The Patriots Jet Team.  I guess John doesn't play golf either!

While the EG was passing out "wisdom" to the King Air guys from San Louis Obispo, I had this nagging feeling that I had seen this all before somewhere.  Hard as I tried, I couldn't figure out where.  Later; after downloading the photos to my "EG" file, it came to me---only this time it was in black and white. . .  The apple doesn't fall very far from the tree!

Northeast Airlines Captain Buzz Flett (left) back in the day.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Stormy Weather

The winds were howling at JFK Wednesday afternoon!  When we arrived for our shot at the ILS to runway 4R the ceiling was at 300 feet, and the North wind was gusting to 27 knots.  That was lighter than forecast too!  When we departed Orlando the forecast winds for JFK were 360 @ 30 gusting 45!  The approach lights were also out of service.  I suspect Hurricane Sandy had something to do with that.  We saw the runway at 200 feet.  Did I mention the sideways snow?

Of course my connection home canceled.  Not that it mattered.  I was selected for a random drug test, and would have missed that flight anyway.  My next "best chance" to get home was at 7 pm.

We landed at 2:40 pm.  The visibility at the time was 2 1/2 miles.  By 4 pm the visibility was down to 3/4 mile, and there was two inches of snow on the ground.  By 6 pm there was four inches of snow on the ground---and the 7 pm RJ to CLT was delayed until 8:30 pm.  At 7:45 pm it canceled. 

After that it was the AirTrain (elevated railway) to the E-Train (subway) to walking through six inches of snow to get to the crash pad.  A routine trip. . .  Then I slipped on the sidewalk in front of the Dunkin Donuts shop on Queens Boulevard.  That left a mark!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Some Gave All

Tuesday afternoon in Syracuse, New York the gate agent informed me that the inbound flight, our next airplane, was transporting the remains of a Korean War soldier who was killed in action in 1950. 

Cpl. Elmer Kidd of Seneca Falls, New York died in the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea.  His remains were returned to the United States in 1993.  In October DNA tests confirmed his identity.

His 80-year-old sister was there to welcome him home.

Monday, November 5, 2012

GoPro Great Lakes

Brother Baker and I bumped in to Mark Accomazzo Friday afternoon as we were leaving Jellystone Air Park.  He had the GoPro video camera mounted on the Great Lakes and was about to go flying.  A few hours later I received an email from Mark with a couple of photos and this YouTube video link.