Monday, July 11, 2005

A different shade of Mooney

... and a few corrections that make me feel only a little bit better.

When I saw the Pilatus on Thursday, I never stopped to talk to Dave about the trip. I was busy with other things at the time. If I had, I would have noticed that it wasn't Dave. Either someone else flew that Pilatus back here, or it was a different but similarly-painted one. (Dave was flying someone else's plane for the trip). I had wondered why I didn't see him at the house the next couple days, but I chalked it up to my early-to-bed schedule. Often, I don't see anyone else in the house for several days at a time.

Dave made it back night before last. That makes me feel slightly better about having bowed out of the copilot spot. He did tell me all about the trip. He flew up to Kodiak Island, where he picked up all his passengers. The rest of the week, he flew back and forth between there and Nome. Never made it to Barrow, or Anchorage, or Fairbanks. He had a group of about 40 Koreans, and he just flew them in turns up there and back. They all ended up going to the same place. Along the way at one point, they flew around Little Diomede Island, and just nudged up against the International Dateline, getting a view of Big Diomede off the other wingtip.

For those unfamiliar with the geography, here is a fact that you can use to win trivia bets: Russia and the U.S. are only 2 miles apart. Little Diomede is part of Alaska, but Big Diomede is Russian.

I have flown about 200 hours in a Mooney, but I missed my chance this time to fly a Moonie. Well, plenty of them. The several dozen Koreans that Dave flew were all part of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church- often referred to as Moonies. Not only that, but the Reverend Moon himself was on board a couple of those flights. I guess that explains how there are people out there who can afford to spend $70,000 hiring a plane and two pilots to fly them around to go fishing. For Moon, that is pocket change.

Don't get me wrong here, I have no particular affinity for him, or desire to become one of his followers. I just find it amusing. Dave said at one point during a flight, Moon asked how far it was to Korea. After Dave put that into the GPS, Moon asked about a couple other locations. Then they took photos of the GPS.

I'm torn now. The flights didn't go to nearly as many places as I would have hoped to see while up there. On the other hand, not only did I miss flying around Alaska and logging 60 hours in the Pilatus, but I missed a chance to meet a famous, megalomaniacal world cult leader in person.


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