Saturday, July 16, 2005

Bet & Breakfast

I was sitting here relaxing, deciding when to make this flight to Frederick, MD. Brett walked by and invited me to breakfast at the cafe in the airline terminal. Brett is part of the flight crew for PHI Helicopters, the company that performs air ambulance services locally.

Med-evac guys have an unusual life. They sit around all day long and wait. They spend hour after hour after hour sometimes, just waiting for a call. But many people don't know how to drive, so they get into accidents. That's when these guys get phone calls. Suddenly they go from bored to hurried.

This morning, fog prevailed around here, so they had nothing to do. Brett and a couple of the others were heading over to get breakfast and invited me, even buying mine. I seem to have a knack for getting people to buy my meals.

Brett is part of the crew, but not a pilot. We have had a number of discussions about getting a fixed-wing license, which he plans to pursue sometime after his upcoming wedding. Today, the breakfast conversation revolved around instrument ratings and instrument currency. I mentioned we could accomplish that on the school's helicopter flight simulator. During the course of discussion, he decided he might like a try at it.

This sim is not easy. I have watched experienced State Police Bell 407 pilots crash the sim, just trying to hover in visual conditions. The controls are impressively sensitive. So I told him we could do it, but I guaranteed I would make him crash inside of five minutes. He disagrees. So now, the bet is on. We haven't decided yet on the terms. I have to make it valuable, since I am supremely confident in winning. Maybe the price of a couple of their t-shirts though, just to be nice. We will see.

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