When my boss and I travel, we sometimes take a private plane. What I enjoy about that (amongst the flying part) is we always stop off at Waffle House before proceeding onto the airport. I love
the contrast of sectors of life (for those who don't know, Waffle House is kind of "dumpy" - but awesome waffles). Well today topped that. Why? Because there aren't too many days you wake up in a Motel 6, only to board a private jet. And that isn't where the fun ended.
I was vacationing down in Hilton Head when the friends I were with (who were 7 months pregnant) went into labor 2-months early. We spent the next couple of days in Charleston, SC
. When the baby was ready to be moved by private Lifeguard flight, my friend's boss sent their company's private jet
to pick us up in Charleston, I was ecstatic.
We show up at the airport with our jet and and the lifeguard jet sitting next to each other on the tarmac. I try and look smart by picking out which jet is which, but I end up just making myself look stupid by picking out the wrong one. Luckily for me, I covered well and said, "ohh I have just been following too many flights on FlightAware
." This prompted the co-pilot (Wes) to say, "ohh, are you a pilot?" And I responded, "I am trying to be." He responded, "well then, we'll have you up to flight deck." I think, "Awesome."
Right as we are hopping onto the plane, Boeing's DreamLifter
was taking off out of Charleston. What a rare site. Only a couple hundred feet away. Most of you know, the plane is designed to transport large parts of the 787
from the factories around the world, to Boeing's factory in Seattle.
We take off and head directly to Fort Wayne. At about 12,000 feet (10 minutes into the flight), Wes comes back and asks if I would like to sit up front. I was thrilled. I sat down and for the next hour or so, sat at the controls. It was AWESOME!
Then the most amazing thing happened. The pilot (Steve) and I are listening to air traffic control (like we should be), and then all of the sudden we hear instructions to another plane reference Air Force One
. Steve and I quickly look at each other with a "no-way" face. He said he has been flying for years and never been in the same airspace as Air Force One.
We got in a little bit of trouble because we were speeding up to catch the other jet, and ATC got on and said, "207AH, I know you're trying to catch company in front, but please slow down 30 knots."
We landed directly into FWA
around 12:05 - right behind the other plane.
All and all, quite an exciting morning. Maybe that is why I passed out for 3 hours this afternoon.
The Raytheon Premier 1 was quite a remarkable bird. It was built in October of 2008 (they traded in their "old," three-year old Premier 1 for it). It was a fully glass cockpit and I was very much amazed at the ease of use the avionics were and how comfortable the ride was.
Our Flight Tail Number: N207AH (Raytheon Premier 1)
Lifeguard Flight Tail Number: N42HN (LearJet 35)
Cruising Altitude: FL40
Duration: 1h 22m