Monday, April 24, 2006

Flight Levels, Car Rentals and Foreigners.

Today was an adventure. Thanks to a car accident and twice being stuck behind school buses, my 35 minute drive to work turned into an hour and 10.

This was the big day, marked by the beginning of my first flight assignment. We saw more delays this morning, because a big metal plate installed in the modification needed to be recut slightly. I got to help with that, then run off and eat a quick lunch, then run back, jump in the plane, and start up.

We headed up to Markham, Ontario, where the full equipment is to be installed, before we fly down to south Florida. With strong winds slowing us down, it became a solid two hour trip, arriving near 4pm. That flight marked my first ever, into class A airspace. The flight levels. We settled into cruise flight at 20,000 feet and I played with the autopilot, handled radio calls, and called flight service to get an update on the weather at our destination. Skies were beginning to clear up a bit. At departure, our destination had a solid 800 foot ceiling, so I was expecting a decent possibility of having to shoot the GPS approach in. And from Pennsylvania on up, we cruised high over a solid layer of clouds. Over Lake Ontario, the skies cleared a little. As we descended down through a few clouds, we found ourselves looking at the water, downtown Toronto off to thte left, and a nice clear path to thte airport.

After landing, we secured a rental car and hotel. We rode back to the rental car office with a guy from Romania. Unusual guy, our driver. He kept talking about how good a life he had back home, all the nice cars he drives, etc. Mike- the captain- and I share a couple common traits: neither of us has a television at home, and neither of us cares in the least about cars. Truthfully, we humored the guy, but that was about it. I kept having to stifle a laugh, because every time the guy opened his mouth, he sounded exactly like Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd, doing the "wild and crazy guys" skits from Saturday Night Live.

Everything we tried to do today seemed to get delayed. After what seemed like forever gettting the rental car contract, we headed out to a local restaurant that Mike knows (he's been up here a couple times before). Frankie Tomato's. Italian buffet restaurant. Nice decor, two whole rooms full of all kinds of very nice, quality food. It was really hard picking only what would actually fit into my stomach. So much more there I would have loved to try.

Finally, at 8:30 in the evening, we managed to check into the hotel. Tomorrow, the equipment installation may move quickly, in which case we get a quick tetst flight, then fly to Florida. If not, we will be back in the same hotel tomorrow night.

It was a long day, but we managed to accomplish something.


At 8:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Car accident? Yours or someone else's? -esm

At 11:36 AM, Blogger also-known-as said...

That would be someone elses. I guess that wasnt clear though. I was just stuck behind it in a line of about 100 cars, unable to move past.

At 11:22 PM, Blogger Gina said...

I dealt with a similar nightmare on a daily basis for a year driving to work in Houston. A 10-minute drive at any other time of day took and hour before and after work ... with a very small window of opportunity to beat the traffic. I feel for ya. Glad the accident wasn't you, as I'm sure ESM is also.


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