|The River Nile whilst on descent into Egypt|
Up early after a shockingly bad nights' sleep, unfortunately someone set up a band playing outdoor music literally outside our hotel window who played quite few curtain calls. Oh and then they decided to dismantle the scaffolding stage until after 3am.
So when the alarm went off, or rather AD/DC started blaring out of my phone Back in Black at 0645, hiding my head under the pillow rather than filing a flight plan and putting my uniform was my initial reaction.
Hitting the snooze button was not an option though, it was time to file the flight plan, check the routing, look at the weather and the study the options for an alternative destination in the case of a problem.
The routing of the flight was to be out of Northern Europe over Maastricht turning south east over Austria, the coast line of the Adriatic and out over the Med and directly towards Africa.
The flight plan filed, a quick bite of breakfast and a drive out to the private jet terminal at the airport.
|Climbing out of Europe|
One of my particular favourites is that I get to drive a rental car up to the VIP terminal and give the keys to a nice chap who works there and leave it with him, he then drives it back to the car rental people and deal with the paperwork and I don't have to get on buses and deal with the facetious people with their magnifying glasses checking the car over whilst rubbing their chins.
Another favourite is the coffee. The coffee really is good.
Not a bad way to start the working day whilst going over the paperwork and having the plane fuelled up, I sat going over the departure procedure for the take off that we were about to perform.
I popped the radio on and listened out as one of the training aircraft from the school based at the airport was have some difficulty with his under carriage. Well some difficulty with the light that indicates whether his under carriage is down or not.
The small twin engined plane was going to have to do a low pass with his gear down at 50foot over the runway whilst a lot of people were looking closely at their under carriage through binoculars, whilst at the same time lots of 737's were holding with hundreds of passengers onboard up in the skies.
|Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro pass below|
The plane came down the runway flying at its 50ft all all of its wheels looked like they were in the right place, and I heard the radio call to the pilots saying as much. I'm sure I could hear their relief in their voices as they made another circuit of the airfield to come and make another approach to land. Fire Engines still at the ready.
|The Greek Islands far down below|
Time for me to call for our departure clearance from the ground controller, I can see the owner of the plane's car arriving so I also call for engine start and get the immediate clearance.
I hit the start switch for the right hand engine, and the reassuring whirl starts to send vibrations through the aircraft.
The numbers start to rise, oil pressure, N1 rising ITT rising.
A stable start on the first engine and time to start number 2.
Cleared onto the runway and its time to push the throttles forward and get into the sky and onto the published departure.
When I get a call over the radio with a change of plans and have to swiftly change our course to follow the new directions.
Fast fingers on the controls and we are cleared up to 14,000ft on a different heading.
Passing 10,000ft and I can relax my shoulder straps, change frequencies and even look out of the window.
I'm not sure if its the photographer in me or 8 year old boy in me who used to love looking out of the window on those summer holiday flights, but its still looks special to me every time.
It really is a better office view than any corner office even on Central Park New York would ever offer.
Plus it moves at 1000km per hour.
Finally cleared up to the cruise altitude of 45,000ft and the views are just amazing.
Its time to enjoy a decent cup of coffee as the eyes are sagging a bit after the late night music and scaffolding Hokey Cokey.
On our aircraft we have a datalink system which allows me to request information electronically about the destination even from 500 miles away, so whilst sipping on the coffee I start to have a look at the weather reports at the airport. Its going to be 36 degrees and also the visibility isn't great but nothing to be worried about.
I note the current winds and that allows me to start to predict the arrival runway and I have a look at the charts to familiarise myself with everything I can expect.
I read with interest that there are 3 parallel runways, so its going to be busy and also lots of taxiing to be done when we are there.
Its going to be a busy day.
The first call for decent comes through, down to 37,000ft.
Descent checks are done, I have briefed the captain on the IFR approach into the airport and the plane is set up for the last part of the flight.
|An incredible view of the desert city on finals|
I've flown low over London many times and this is just as big. Only here there are the Pyramids of Giza and the River Nile in front of me rather than the River Thames and Big Ben.
Its just an incredible sight, thousands of years of history that I have only read about and seen on the tv is just below me.
Too busy to get many pictures as we are getting bumped around a bit and also directed all over the place by the controllers who's English is pretty questionable.
The final clearance that is always music to my ears, cleared for ILS approach, contact tower on.....
Thats when I get cleared for landing and we have the middle of those 3 parallel runways dead ahead.