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

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