Friday, September 15, 2017

Flying over the old stomping ground and taxiing in circles

A rainy hotel room view of the Apron at Stansted the evening before departure
An early rise and a rainy day at Stansted airport and the thoughts are of todays destination. 
I have completed the flight planning and it put a smile on my face knowing that I would be flying over my old stomping ground of Limoges.
The early morning dawn start and only 4 degrees
In fact directly over the airport where I spent many many hours hours first learning to fly then teaching flying. 
How much fun would it be to drop in a do and few touch and goes down there in a slightly bigger plane now. 
The alarm went off at 5am and a driver collected me to take me to the plane and get things started. 
Its the first time since I've been flying her that I had to put the heaters on to warm the interior up rather than the Air conditioning to cool her down. 4 degrees C so a pretty chilly start to the day.  

Line up after landing Ryanair 
With the cockpit warming up and the systems whirring away, I realised that everything felt a little bit weird, my chair had been moved around the flight displays weren't set up as we had left them and what I was used to, it was like when someone borrows your car and moves your wing mirrors and seat.
Oh yes the engineers had been in hadn't they.......!!
Tweeking this and turning that, I hope they took their work boots off on my nice carpets....!

One thing that was nice though was the Datalink was now up and running, which means that the flight plan that I filed last night for our routing to destination would download into flight computers and I wouldn't have to do it manually. 
I called up the clearance delivery frequency on the radio to check our plan is in the system and find out which departure routing I will be flying. This morning it was the NUGBO 1R initially up to 4000', I loaded in the passenger, cargo and grew details and as we had decided to take quite a bit of fuel of 25,000 lbs with us our,  speeds would be a little bit higher than usual at 120knots V1 not that this is an issue for the Global Express as its more like a rocket ship than an airplane.
Its certainly an airplane that likes to be quick and high.

I kept an ear on the frequency to be aware of all that was going on and started to hear of 10-15 minute delays on our routing before other aircraft were being given permission to start their engines.
Usually permission to start the engines would be requested once everyone is onboard and the doors are closed but with a bit of foresight I requested engine start as soon as I knew the owner had arrived so that the 10 minute delay clock would start and hopefully we wouldn't have to have the passengers sitting on the ground for too long. This isn't something the airlines can do but we can get away with.
The passengers were then onboard and as the door was being closed I received the call over the radio that I could now start up the rolls-royce engines. We had timed it perfectly and no one would know there was a delay at all.
The departure route out of London 
A long old taxi out and I could see there were quite a few aircraft in the queue before us but the Ground Controller asked me if I could accept an intersection departure and therefor not have to line up behind all of the Ryan Air and Easy Jet aircraft at the end of the runway. It did feel a little bit like jumping the lunch queue at school but hey ho I had a plane that wanted to fly. We watched 2 aircraft land and were asked to line up behind the landing Ryan Air and then cleared for take off.
Before Take off checks complete.
Throttles to the firewall.
Air speed alive,
Positive rate
Gear up and follow the SID (standard instrument departure)
After take off checks and then cleared up to 11,000ft before we knew it the autopilot was in and we were heading off over the English Channel.
We were talking to Brest Air traffic control and get cleared straight on up to our requested 41,000ft 

In the cruise and checking the routing ahead of us, all was looking great and then on my screen I could see my old stomping ground of Limoges (LFBL).
Unfortunately the cloud was covering the whole area so I couldn't give them wave from 41,000ft 

41,000ft over Limoges
Before long I was talking to Barcelona control and heading out over the Med and seeing the landscape below changing which is something I love from this altitude, especially when other large aircraft are flying under us as well.
A cup of tea later and some paperwork completed for the flight and I was planning the descent into our destination.
A new place for me and there were no published routes in so we were advised to descend at our own discretion and would be given vectors for the ILS at the airport.
Planning a descent from 41,000ft is a little different than what I used to fly so we sit and plan it together and get everything set up in to the flight computer and down we go.
The considerations for the descent are many, comfort being a huge part of it, but also fuel as we try to maintain a constant descent rather than in steps.
We manage it quite well on this leg added to the mix that I've never landed at this destination before either and with some prior knowledge that it can be a little chaotic here to say the least.

Lovely clear flying up at this level

I was going to do a caption competition as I thought these clouds looked like two ice buns meeting

Rather happily we descend out of the clouds right where we should be, there is quite a lot of high ground so some good briefing for the arrival is necessary to discuss the "incase of" situations so we both know what would happen and what we would do incase of a missed approach or any issues affecting the flight. 
We were then vectored on to the approach by the local aircraft and once established on the ILS were passed onto the tower for the final few miles in, the weather was fantastic and wind completely calm so not too much of a challenging landing.......
Taxiing at this airport is a whole different matter though,  A little bit of chaos with our taxi clearance once on the ground as the chap on the other end of the radio changed his mind 3 times and it was like taking a Global Express for a drive........
We finally managed to stop and get the passengers onto their transport and dealt with customs only to be told we would need to taxi the plane once again to another parking spot !!!!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The longest flight, then a Pie and a Pint

The video of this flight:

Sitting here in Beirut on a very warm evening and getting the flight plan together for tomorrow morning's flight.
It looks like one of the longest flights I will have taken in this plane and I'm really looking forward to it.
Runway 17 OLBA Ready for Departure
The main reason for the flight is that the plane has some routine maintenance to complete.
Every now and then we get issued with a bulletin from the plane's maker Bombardier, usually there has been something small thats come up on a similar plane that then has to be adjusted on all aircraft during the plane's next scheduled maintenance. So there are a few current bulletins so its time to get her into the shop for a bit of a spruce up. Including having one of the belly plates replaced.

The iPad I use with the departure loaded
There are a couple of other issues being dealt with at the same time, so this means a trip to our maintenance centre at London Stansted.
The flight planning has been prepp'd and the fuel request has been done. Our arrival slot has been booked and most importantly Mrs Morton has been advised of Mr Morton's impending arrival.

The next day.....
The alarm wakes me pretty early, as anyone who knows me will vouch, I don't do being late. Its unheard of.
Shower, shave, check the flight plan has been filed and have received the acknowledgement that everything on it is ok. Looking good, so I can relax a bit.
The driver is coming at 8:45am so a decent breakfast and then clear out all of the perishable food in the fridge as I never know how long I will be gone from the crew crash pad and I don't want Godzilla growing in there by the time I am back next.
Bags finished off packed, passport and licenses checked and the driver is early, game on, my kind of guy.
The traffic being really light for rush hour in Beirut means I'm at the airport 15 minutes later rather than the usual 35-40 mins.
Looking at the UK from over the English Channel
Last update of the weather and I get to meet up with the Captain and we go through our usual briefing and checks, and look at what needs to be done. In an airline all of these jobs would be done for you, and we would just get onboard and fly, but to be honest its one of the reasons I love business jet flying as it really is the two of us who run the whole show from start to finish. I am chuffed that the Captain and I really are building up a good understanding together, we work well together, he also knows my capabilities and we are both pretty chilled out.
It makes for a good working cockpit as I can't imagine what it would be like spending this much time with someone whom you don't get along with, and we do enjoy a good giggle along the way. (Usually at my expense but I have broad shoulders.....)

We see the plane is being brought onto stand by the tug so its time to open her up and get her ready, the APU fired up, catering onboard, music system working and then for me to get the flight plan into the computer and check that all is well with the routing with air traffic control, and its all good.

As per usual the owner is in early as we anticipate so we close up the doors, fire up the Rolls-Royce engines and get taxi clearance out to runway 16.
Throttles to the firewall and we are off to our initial cleared altitude of 5000'.

Before long I am getting cleared straight up to 38,000ft then Ankara send us on up to 43,000ft for the cruise.

The views as per usual are amazing, Cyprus, Greece, The Black Sea, Turkey all fly by along with many other aircraft down below us.
Time to loosen off the straps a little and enjoy the ride, we get a cup of tea served up and its time to look forward to the things that getting home to Blighty bring.
For me its a Pie and a Pint in the pub with my wife, for the Captain a long walk with the dog, then a pie and a pint, and a packet of crisps and then another pint, with an extra packet of crisps for the dog. Then maybe one for the road.
Oh well, I suppose he is the Captain.

Turkey and the entrance to the Black Sea
Before long the lunch has been eaten, (an apple a banana (Thanks to the boss once again) and a couple of boiled eggs)
Its time to look at the weather at Stansted and then start looking at the arrival routings and start programming it all into the flight computer.
"T7-ATL request descent"
And down we go.
At about 10,000ft we hit a reasonable amount of bumps and cloud so I bing bong the cabin to strap in and its in we go on a pretty good, if not very busy, arrival into Stansted.
The cars are all waiting for the passengers when we arrive so are the engineers who will be performing the servicing for us on the plane so I don't have to put her to bed as per usual as she has a lovely warm hangar to enjoy in my absence .
As I walk away from the plane reflecting on the longest flight I have done yet, I am left thinking of the even longer drive home that I have down the M11, M25, M4 then Devons
But then I smile as the realisation comes to me that I will have my very own warm hangar to get to, with my wife, then that Pie and the Pint.......

I have been wondering recently about the blog and what I write on here, whether to put some more technical pilot/flying/airplane information on each one or not, so I thought I would ask, if there are any details or information that would be good to include in these musings please let me know, either by using the comment section on the blog or dropping me an email to

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Planes trains and auto mobiles..... oh and a fire alarm

Sitting here in Devon at home flight planning for the next leg of the flying adventure.
The bags are packed, uniform ironed and the train tickets booked, off to London for an over night flight to Eastern Europe, arrive at 4am there and grab a couple of hours sleep before heading off, flying the global express on to Asia.

Where would we be without technology ?
The day of travelling started well with a train from Honiton up to London Gatwick which I felt pretty lucky about with it being Bank Holiday weekend.
Thats where the luck stopped though......
Checked in and through security at Gatwick and mid sandwich the fire alarms started to sound......
with a very catchy repetition of "Evacuate" "Evacuate" over and over again.
Time to find the emergency exit and head out of the terminal in to a car park with about 1500 other passengers to stand and wait to see what is happening .
This was certainly a first for me.
So after an hour in the car park all of us in the car park were escorted around the building for a long walk back to start all over again with security checks.
We were just able to make it back through the security checks again before the flight was boarding for a late night departure to the Ukraine.

After landing at 4am in Eastern Europe it was time to check into the airport hotel for a few ZZZzzz's before breakfast at 0900 and then 1030 departure in the Global Express to Lebanon.
Its always a treat to turn up and start taking the covers off this plane and start getting her ready to fly.
First up is starting the APU which is generates power to the onboard computers and aircon.

Flight plan checked into the computer and I also got to unpack my shiny new head set which is a brilliant piece of kit and is a huge improvement on the previous one.
The VIP handling agent arrived with the fuel truck and also 5 kilos of ice for the drinks drawers. With the flight plan in the box, the southerly departure planned.
It was as per usual with the owner arriving early so with the luggage in the back,  the ice in it's drawer the pilot's in their seats it was time to light the fires and get to 41,000ft.
The owner's chef was onboard the flight today and he showed his skills off with making pizza from scratch in the onboard oven when we were in the cruise somewhere over Turkey.
Once I'd wiped the pizza tomato from over my chin it was time to start planning the decent and the arrival into runway 16 Beirut.

Arriving back into 32 degrees and humidity was quite a shock to the system, but it was time to pack the plane up, finalise the paperwork and get some proper sleep.

Thought for the day:

  • When I was home recently I'm chuffed to have been able to get to Villa Park with my wife a year after our friend Will Falck passed away. Naomi took the picture below and its something that I'll cherish. Plus we won 4-1....... UTV

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Up and away again..... heading North, a long day and then home.....

At Starbucks in Beirut, thinking about where I'd like us to go away holiday this year
The phone rings.....
"Can we leave today at 6pm for a flight to North Africa...."
"Of course, but I need to check the permits for being allowed to over fly, and also land at the destination"
"Ok find out and let me know"

This is how it goes for a Business jet pilot when you work for the owner of the aircraft.
Snapped back to reality from the thoughts of a quiet Greek island holiday in the autumn,  the heart rate picks up and the planning begins.
We have to make calls to find out about the permits, ground handling fuel, I do an initial flight plan on the computer but hold back on filing until we are given the green light that we are going.
Mental checklist, where's my uniform, (is it at the dry cleaners) is there any food in the fridge that will mutate if I disappear straight away.
I state to get information about the handling costs, I speak with the handling agents of our air craft to give them a heads up that we might be moving in a few hours.
With a jet of this size and performance, 45 tonnes and she's pretty thirsty so we're gonna need to work out the fuel load, find out if there is refuelling down route or if its cheaper to load her up for a return trip.
Its not like jumping in the car, turning the keys and heading out off of the driveway.

Ok its all looking good, the flight plan is pretty straight forward, the plane is all ready to go when we need her.
I'm sitting in the office getting the days plan in my mind and realising I won't be off to the gym this afternoon.
My phone rings and the news isn't good, "it's three days to get a permit to land there...."
"Ah, thats gonna be a problem then"

I head to see the boss and let him know we can't head there today as it takes 3 days to obtain the permit.
"Not to worry",  is the response.
"We've changed our plan, we're going to Eastern Europe, tomorrow instead".
"We will leave at 2pm with 5 passengers."

"Ok, I will start the planning".

The ever changing world of a Private Jet pilot.
I will get to go to the gym after all.......

9am the next morning in the office, the flight is confirmed and the work begins on moving the 45 tonnes of airplane at 47,000ft and 600mph.
The new flight plan is filed.
The handling agents notified and the welcome party at the destination organised.
Permits obtained.

Off to the airport, fire up the APU and get the plane ready. We have a few new pieces of kit onboard for us which to simplify means that the plane can down load via satellite the flight plans, routing and all associated information. It hasn't worked so well up to date but today after the tweaks we made in the week it works like a dream and saves me lots of time loading up the onboard computer.
I still have to check it to make sure its all correct but the fact it works is great news.

Me and the Captain spend an hour or so readying everything , organising the electronic flight bag rather than having all of the bits of paper around the cockpit.

The passengers arrive after a bit of confusion over departure times and before long I am closing the doors, strapping in and requesting taxi clearance.
On this flight I am the pilot monitoring, running the radios, navigation and checklists.

Taxi Checks complete.
Ready for departure, runway 17.
Cleared for take off runway 17, wind calm, contact 119.3 after departure
Cleared for take runway 17......

Thrust set
Airspeed alive

Postive rate
Gear up

"Cleared to fl180"

And we are off, heading north away from Asia, into Europe.

Negotiations begin with Greece and Turkey for passage and I get us a climb straight on up to 43,000ft.

Before long we are in the cruise and feel like we are above everything .

The owners chef brings us a snack from the onboard kitchen and the thoughts once again turn to holidays in the Autumn. As I realise we are flying pretty near where I'd like to go.

The flight seems to go in a flash really as before I know it we are discussing and planning the arrival and initiating the descent. The weather is great and its a lovely gentle ride in for a straight in approach to runway 36L.

A squeak of the tyres and we are on the ground, unlocking the doors and getting the bags off the plane and it dawns on me that I still have another flight to do.

But this time its in the last seat available to Gatwick in Economy on a 737 for the 3 hours 20 min flight back.
Then a hire car late night drive to home down the M4 and M5........
The contrast between a lovely Bombardier Global Express private jet and the back row of an Eastern European 737 really brings me back to earth with a bump..........
But still I do love flying her and not many people get that chance.

Thoughts for the day:

  • Its been a year today since one of my really good friends, Will Falck, passed away at a ridiculously young age, I miss my friend Will.
  • Will was a pilot with a passion for flying, life, laughter and Aston Villa
  • He had to have laughter and a sense of humour in him being a fellow follower of Aston Villa
  • I think he'd love the fact that I'm taking my wife to her first Villa game this weekend in the seats we used to share, a year after we lost him.
  • I miss going to the football with my friend Will Falck  #holteenderinthesky 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Towering at 45,000ft and back in Beirut

A stop off in Germany was on the cards this week, a nice little provincial town on the French border.
The efficiencies of Germany never cease to amaze me. Whether its the public transport, the restaurant, the hotel or even the way they do their road works. Tidy, clean, efficient and really polite nice people.
Readying her for departure from Germany
I had an overnight stay there so enjoyed a nice walk around the town and some food, which strangely enough I decided to eat Spanish tapas on the warm summer evening and started to think about the flight the following day to Beirut. We are starting to put online some of the paperless systems now, using iPads for recording information instead of pen and paper to stop having to chop down a small rain forest prior to each and every flight.
Towering cumulous clouds
We were given confirmation over breakfast for our departure time so we filed the flight plan and started to get ready
We took delivery of our new uniforms over the weekend as well, so it was the first time to take it out of the wrapping.
Approach for 03 OLBA
We arrived at the aircraft on the apron in good time and started to get her set up, it was nice to be back with her after 10 days away.
Before long the apu was running, I was sorting out some routing clearances down route over Turkey, the bags arrived and were stowed and passengers arrived so it was time to fire up the Rolls Royce engines get our final departure clearance and taxi for runway 03.
The weather was really clear in Germany and it was a pretty simple departure climbing to 4000 feet and a right turn towards Austria.
476 knots in the cruise
All went really well and we were cleared pretty much straight up to 45,000ft. I was quite surprised when we got into the cruise that there were quite a lot of clouds stretching up as far as us. What are called Towering Cumulous clouds which are the most un friendly kind that can be encountered.
They indicate a lot of vertical movement of air and are often accompanied by thunder storms, hail & turbulence .
Decision made we would try to be avoiding those and with the help of air traffic control we did a bit of weaving between them, but it did provide for some nice photos.
Following a straight line over Hungry, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey and we then started the decent and crossing Cyprus with the mountains Beirut poking their heads above the evening mist covering the Lebanese coast line.
Moon rising over the mountains
Unusually for Beirut the wind was from the north so an approach for runway 03 was in order, so a nice turn over the bay saw the full moon coming out as we dropped the landing gear and flaps for the landing.
As we opened the door it was a barmy 31 degrees and very humid......

Thoughts for the day:

  • Its strange that you can build an affinity with a plane, I really like flying this aircraft and almost feel possessive over her
  • How is it possible the Germans are so efficient ?
  • I'm back in Starbucks for internet, I've been away for nearly 2 weeks and the guy behind the counter remembers my name. That's like German efficiency in Beirut
  • I do hope the Humidity drops soon I'm melting

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Up early, Gin clear , GPS and making a movie

The sun comes up
Today was a good day.
The alarm going off at 4am wasn't, but nothing a hot shower and even hotter coffee couldn't sort out.
The uniform was ironed and hanging up, the bags were packed, the hotel bill was all sorted and as I got down to the hotel lobby the driver had been sent for us. (I had taken the uniform off of the hanger and put it on)
It was quite a ride into the airport from the hotel and the sun started to rear its little head as we were enroute.

I discussed with the Captain how we would get the jobs done prior to the owner arriving and as soon as we got there, passed through the terminal we got to work.
I was dealing with getting the plane powered up, then start working on the flight plans, data links etc. Captain was outside getting the fuel on, water on and checking the exterior of the plane.
I've started using the Jeppesson charts on the iPad now to reduce the paper around the cockpit
I got the power up and then the first snag was the flight plan hadn't got through to euro control so a hasty phone call to the United States to see where it had got stuck half way across the Atlantic. They managed to give it a nudge and I spoke with the departures and after some too-ing and fro-ing they found it and I started loading up the flight management system.
The curve of the earth at 47,000 ft

This worked really well this time around, the fuel was onboard, and as per usual the boss and his colleagues were early, so I was hastily asking for an earlier slot. But ummmmmm thats when they pushed our original one back by 15 minutes.
So we got the passengers settled in and took our time and then managed a really slow taxi down to the runway holding point.
Fortunately we were pushed up the order and it was only a 10 minute wait.
I had my new video camera set up in this flight so I took a video of the whole trip which I am pretty pleased with although its really not a pretty sight looking at me, the view outside the window is far more agreeable.
Before long we were hooting it along the runway and lift off, right turn, change frequency and get up into the big blue.
Parked up at the end of the day.......
Cleared after departure up to an initial 43,000ft, the further climb on up to 47,000ft over Poland.
We discussed our approach for the destination and we decided to be adventurous and try out the GPS approach that we don't do that much, but I did a lot of on my training, and had mentioned to the captain so he was game and we went about our business of loading it all up into the system.
Things started to move along pretty quickly, not even much of a chance for a cuppa in the cruise.

We managed to get the descent started, the idea being to have a continuous descent by pre planning and 'negotiating' with air traffic controllers, rather than descend a bit, level off a bit etc, I was really pleased on this occasion as we really managed to nail it and stay ahead of the game.
I received the requested approach into Germany on the RNP GPS Approach, we were cleared onto it and it worked a treat, as we monitored every stage, it was a really nice way to do things.
I set the video camera up as well before things got too busy. I am hoping it has worked and should appear at the bottom of the blog.
We had a bit of weather on the way but nothing serious, some misty rainy grey muck but we popped out of it with about 2000ft to go and there was the runway straight ahead of us.
Another 30 seconds and we were on the ground and taxiing to the private jet terminal.

For me this was only the start of my flying for the day but fortunately the rest is as a passenger as I had to make my way to Stuttgart airport by 3 different trains to then fly to Brussels to catch a flight to Alicante for a few days off.
Thoughts for the day:

  • I can't believe how efficient/clean/friendly the German train system is
  • All 3 trains in Germany were on time to the minute to cross the country 
  • Both flights on German wings airline were on time in peak holiday season
  • All easyJet flights from the same airports were delayed by at least 20 minutes
  • I miss Naomi with bells on its only been about 10 days but feels like months
  • I'm glad Naomi didn't have to do all of the travelling with me yesterday it was pretty mental playing European hopscotch
  • I really enjoyed the flight on the Global Express, it was the first time I felt up to speed throughout the whole flight and am chuffed to bits with the video I managed to do
  • This airplane still makes me smile

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Quite literally the curve of the earth.....and going bananas

The early morning sunrise

An early alarm call this morning and it was a quick shower.
The uniform was pressed last night and its looking good, got my new company tie which the captain and I both have.
The boss has sent one of his drivers to pick me up and we are off to the airport. Only it was a strange Middle Eastern drive this morning. 
The curve of the earth from 47,000 feet
It was like one of the apocalyptic movies where you wake up and there is no one around and no cars on the road. The usual traffic chaos has melted into the background of a sleepy Sunday morning and instead of the blasting of car horns and motorbikes laden with bags, sacks of potatoes and people we are having a quiet Sunday drive to the airport. Its nice and cool in the early morning so no need for air-conditioning in the car, the windows are down the steady warm breeze blowing.
Time to think about all of the things that need to be done this morning before we fly. 
Namely updating the data link system in the plane so that the flight plans load automatically, after we have filed them.
I like the reflection in my glasses, it kind of reminded me of the astronaut picture many years ago in his visor 
Upon arrival at the airport (slightly earlier than expected do to this morning's apocalypse) the captain was already there so we got the plane moved to where the owner will get onboard.
The fuel is ordered, the fresh drinking water organised, which is pumped into the plane's system so now the plane's auxiliary power unit can be started up to get it cooled down with the air-conditioning.
Once the electrical systems come online its time to get the data link set up and the flight planning into the computer boxes.
For once it was was relatively straight forward, these things are rarely completed at the first attempt but, bingo, todays the day.
The coast line of the Black Sea
It was then we were told the passengers had obviously had an apocalyptic morning as well as they were here and the luggage was being put on board.
It was time to call for engine start and taxi, we were off to runway 17. I was pilot monitoring on this flight which means that I control the radio, navigation etc on the flight and the captain was manipulating the control, which also means in the quiet periods I would have a chance to take a few pictures and maybe video a bit.
An enormous salt lake in Turkey
We climbed out and before we knew it I was requesting a further climb, and we were cleared straight up to 47,000ft, mind boggling in anyone's world. Any higher and I would be taking astronaut classes rather than commercial jet ones.
Cleared up to altitude and the skies were quite literally gin clear. I could see for miles, Turkey looked amazing, then I saw the Black Sea approaching, the curve of the earth bending away off into the distance with a rye smile on my face. 
At that moment I had a tap on the shoulder and it was the owner of the plane who had come for a chat. 
He was really pleasant and asked us if we had had enough food on the trip and we thanked him as his chef had brought us some food earlier. 
At that point he produced a banana for me, with a smile on his face and handed it to me telling me I have to keep my protein and potassium levels up.....
It was a lovely touch and a rare one really when you are flying VIP's. 
I seem to smile a lot whilst I am flying this plane.
Its time for potassium
The descent was started and I was finding it a touch tricky to understand the slightly Russian accented controllers on the way in. 
Once again we were given a fairly long final in with vectoring to the approach rather than have to fly the entire arrival procedure. I am getting the impression that this plane has a bit of aviation clout when it comes to getting priority routings. 
Once again I'm smiling.

I managed to make a video on the trip

Thoughts for the day:

  • I like early mornings on a Sunday with less traffic
  • I miss my wife 
  • I like that this plane seems to make me unexpectedly smile a lot 
  • Every day is a school day when flying and thats a good thing
  • Being at the top of the atmosphere is a pretty great place to call work

Flying over the old stomping ground and taxiing in circles

A rainy hotel room view of the Apron at Stansted the evening before departure                           An early rise and a rainy day...