Tuesday, September 8, 2009


I am on a plane heading to Pitt to see a potential customer. This plane is one of those small jobbies. These are my favorite because any turbulence is magnified ten-fold, and I love turbulence. Seriously. For what airlines charge for airfare, I need some excitement. I think the airlines should start offering some special flights for clowns like me. I would pay an extra service fee to have the pilot throw in some barrel rolls and what not. They could call it “The Daredevil Service.” The stewardess would welcome passengers aboard with something like:

“Good morning ladies and gentleman, welcome aboard US Airways Daredevil Service flight 2334 to Pittsburgh International Airport. Once we reach our cruising altitude, we’ll begin a series of barrel rolls and hard-G turns. Afterwards, please enjoy our complimentary beverage service.”

And boarding would not be done by this sissy “Zone” system they use now. I would make the passengers fight for first seating. Like a battle-royal. We’d have a random seeding for the passengers that would form two lines aka “The Gauntlet.” I would have the airline employees who man the kiosk at the terminal handout rubber hoses to the passengers manning the Gauntlet. The rest of the passengers would have to run through the Gauntlet to get through the jet-way. At the end of the jet-way, the flight crew would be armed with paintball guns. I have to work out the details but get the drift of where this is going.

Then they could maybe let some of the passengers go up and take the wheel for a spell. You could buy stick time in five minute increments. I’d pay for that. And I want to be able to make announcements too. I would put on my best cool pilot-like voice.

“Ladies and gentleman, this is your captain speaking. I am going to ask the stewardess to come up to the flight deck and pull my finger.”

It would also be nice to have a fake crosshair superimposed on the window. This way I could pretend I am flying a P-51 shooting down the japs. I would even make cool machine noises with my mouth. Oh, and while I am in the pilot’s seat, I would insist that the rest of the flight crew call me “Maverick” until my turn at the wheel is over.

We are now in the air. A couple of quick updates. We sat at the terminal for 30 minutes with no power. Apparently the cart that starts the engines didnt work. While all this is happening, I happened to look at my window and I see a firetruck parked about 20’ off our wing. That’s not a good sign. I really got nervous when I saw the co-pilot or first mate or whatever he’s called out there hand cranking one of the engines. I think I even saw him mouth the word “CONTACT!” Its hard to tell because I obviously couldnt hear anything through the thick glass of the window. One passenger apparently decided that enough was enough, and she bailed. Finally, they jump started the plane or something and got this thing fired up. Maybe thats why they brought the firetruck in, although I cant say that I saw any jumper cables going from the firetruck to the plane.

I am not sure what this delay is going to do to the rest of our schedule. These pilots always manage to “Make time up in the air.”

I just realized that the PRD is two weeks away. I have to time two races back to back this weekend, Saturday and Sunday. Squeezing a long run in will be tricky, only because I am usually pooped when I done timing. Its a good amount of time on your feet. If it werent for the fact that the damn race is so expensive, I would defer to the Philly Half Marathon in November. Sh*t, maybe I will bandit that one as well.

Update: I am on the way home. Dont ask me how, but I got into First Class. Granted, the flight is only an hour, but First Class is First Class. I didnt book thisflight – my cohort did- and I guess First Class was all that was left. When they called “First Class rows one, two and three” I was taken aback. Anyway, the trip is over and hopefully they can get this plane off the ground without too much trouble.

I am still not feeling great, and breathing recycled airplane air certainly isnt helping.

There’s a guy sitting in front of me and I dont like him. I can already tell he looks like a d-bag. He’s got the lack power suit and the cell phone is glued to his ear. He’s like a corporate d*ck- the kind of guy that always flies First Class on the company t*t. He probably works for an insurance company.

Update #2: We are now on the ground in Philly. I have been sitting in the plane now about 30 minutes. We touched down around 6:30. We immediately got stuck in a line of airplanes waiting to either take off or find a terminal. I had a good vantage point from where we were sitting. We about perpendicular to the causeways, so I could see the line of airplanes just sitting there idling. Wonderful. This is the first time my plane has been on time or better but still late. Weird. Our scheduled arrival was 6:59. Its now 7:10. I betcha we do not get to the terminal until 7:30. The capn just came on and said that there are three planes ahead of us. We are 100 yards from our gate. The captain asked the Ramp Controller to scoot those three planes out of our way. I quote the captain:

“We have asked the Ramp Controller to move the airplanes out of the way. They havent returned our calls.”


‘havent returned our calls???’

Did you leave a voicemail?

“Hi Ramp Controller. This is US Airways flight 2322 from Pittsburgh. We’re sitting on the causeway to Terminal A. When you get this could drop us a line? That would be great. Its 7:10 right now. Talk to you soon”

Did the message sound something like this?

“Hi. You have reached Philadelphia International Airport’s Ramp Control for Terminal A. We are either out of the tower or away from our console. Please leave your airline, flight number, and the time you called, and we’ll be sure to get back to you.”

I was able to recognize several landmarks on our descent. So we flew over Chester County into Delaware. We approached Wilmington from the Southwest, hooked around the huge Brandywine Shopping Center on 202, and then flew parallel to Nammans Road. We made a left hand turn and paralleled the Delaware River, and landed on the west approach to Philly.

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