As the waiting period for the decision is still going on concerning my final base and run, I have spent the past week in the beautiful state of Washington. I was sent here to cover what I would call, the easiest E120 run of our network. Probably one of the most enjoyable too. From Monday to Friday, we fly UPS freight from Boeing field located at the heart of the Seattle metropolitan area, to Pasco and Walla Walla on the south eastern side of the state. For a change, the run operates during the day time with an early departure outbound and with a mid-afternoon inbound. The cherry on top being the incredible hotel where we layover during the day, called the Marcus Witman Hotel. It is an historical building where a lot of famous people have stayed. My suite is the one in which Eisenhower spent some time and bares his name on the massive entrance door. I should mention also the very tasty breakfast. As for the flying that I get to do, it offers a wide range of scenery. From the Puget Sound and wonderful Seattle harbor, we get to climb toward the snow covered Mount Rainier, the highest elevation in the lower 48 states with a summit elevation of 14,411 Ft. shortly after, begins the descent toward the rain shadow part of the cascade range, which has a much lower elevation and quickly becomes a windswept desert area where Pasco and about a hundred miles further, Walla Walla, are located. In less than 40 minutes the temperature can go from 30 to 70 degrees. I never expected such a variety of landscapes and after a few days spent in this side of the country, I understand why people enjoy living here. With everything going on lately, I almost wish I could get a longer taste of the Seattle lifestyle. As the state motto says, “Alki”, which means in Chinook Wawa, “Eventually”.
Well, two days ago, I got another phone call. Unfortunately it was not about my relocation. I was just given a quick assignment where in the very same day, I was to airline to Fort Lauderdale, meet with my captain who was coming from Tulsa, transfert to the other airport – Lauderdale executive, check the freshly painted airplane, fly it to Dallas and finally airline back on that evening, to western New York. Sounds like a busy but efficient plan… at least in theory. As we all know, in this business nothing ever unfold the way you are hoping. The more variable, the higher the risk and nothing really worked out as planned. Regardless, we got it done. First my captain’s flight was delayed by a couple of hours, and as I was wandering in the terminal waiting for him, I could see our available duty time ticking away and seriously reducing the possibility to be home tonight. We eventually made it to the paint shop, only to find our Brasilia still covered with protective paper and tape all over it. The crew seemed to be trying to expedite the process and get us on our way, and judging by the manager telling us every five minutes that they are almost done, they were probably feeling quite pressured. As the sun started to set above the palm trees and beaches of south Florida, there were no more hopes of going anywhere for the rest of the day so we checked in at a local hotel and settle down for the night, On day 2, we made it to the airport where our clean and shiny aircraft was waiting for us inside a hangar because it was raining. After another lengthy delay, we got airborne and after a four hour block time in a cold airplane because of a malfunctioning heating system, I landed for my first time at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and let me tell you, that taxing there is a real headache. By the end of the day, we were both finally on our way home where I am to remain until my company decides they have a use for an extra pilot. I am sure they would rather that then paying me full time for only working two days a week. Perhaps I could just get a job painting airplanes and ferrying them back to customers. After flying dirty freight airplanes for a while, I sure did not mind flying one that was looking brand new.