|Written by Jason Cutter|
As I sat
down to write this, it occurred to me the one thing that everyone should
understand about corporate aviation is that there is no such thing as
"a typical day". To use an overused cliché, the only constant in corporate
aviation is change. The following flight sequences are but a sampling
of the range of trips I flew as a corporate pilot.
When I arrive at the airport the other pilot and I split the preflight duties which include printing Jepp View approach charts for the trip, filing the flight plans, a detailed check of the weather, making sure our breakfast catering(fruit and danishes) has arrived, preflight the aircraft, and making sure the aircraft is stocked with newspapers, ice, coffee, etc.
As departure time nears the other pilot waits in the lobby to greet the passengers as I head to the aircraft to power it up with ground power, load the flight plan into the Flight Management System computers and get the clearance. "Starship 64GG, Indy Clearance, you are cleared to the North Wilkesboro Airport via the Dawnn1 departure then as filed, climb and maintain 3,000 feet, expect Flight Level 270 10 minutes after departure, departure control 123.95, squawk 3557". At 0710 I push up the power levers for the first takeoff of the day and 25 minutes later we're level at 27,000 feet snacking on Pop Tarts and orange juice.
At 0830 we land at KUKF to pick up an additional passenger and top off the airplane(they have REALLY cheap jet fuel) and at 0845 we're airborne again for the 2 hour flight to the Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport. We set the parking break on the ramp of the AeroToy Store at KFXE a few minutes before 1100. We make sure the passengers get the rental cars and get on their way ok. Then we give the CSR's a fuel order for the airplane and borrow a courtesy car and head down the street for a light lunch at a buffet-type salad bar, pasta, and soup restaurant.
We get back the airport about 1230 and settle in for a much needed nap. Around 1600 we head out to make sure the airplane is ready for the 1630 departure to KDAB. The passengers finally show up a little after 1700 and by 1810 we make the day's last landing in Daytona Beach.. After the passengers are gone and the aircraft is secured we head to the hotel to check-in, change clothes, and hit the town.
After a huge meal at the Outback Steakhouse, we hit the strip to try and find some night life(in KDAB it's hard not to find it!). By the time we get back to the hotel we're both exhausted and decide to meet in the lobby the next day at 1200 for lunch. After lunch we hit the beach for a couple of hours before heading to the airport at 1630 to complete our preflight routine.
At 1800 the passengers show up and we launch for the short 25 minute flight to Jacksonville to drop off two passengers and by 2010 we land in KUKF to drop off the remaining passenger and load up on cheap jet fuel before we head home to Indy. The airplane is empty on the last leg so we have some fun with it on the home, practicing some steep turns and other maneuvers at 26,000 feet. The weather has been beautiful for the entire trip until we get back to Indy - the ATIS reports 400 foot overcast ceilings with 1 mile visibility in rain.
A low visibility approach at night at the end of a fairly long trip is not the way I wanted to end the day! I decided to let the autopilot fly the approach. As we break out a mere 50 feet above minimums I click off the autopilot and land the airplane on runway 23R. After putting the aircraft to bed and completing the mountains of post trip paperwork I sit down in my car at 2215. Another mission accomplished with no major problems, no maintenance write ups, and no passenger complaints --I wish all of my trips went this smoothly! All total, it was 9 hours of multiengine turbine time in the logbook and a company sponsored mini-vacation in Florida - I have the best job in the world.
We liftoff shortly after 0700 and land at KGSH around 0800. I grab the crew car and get some breakfast at Bob Evan's before I hit the couch for a short 3 hour nap!! I wake up, watch a little TV, and get the airplane ready. My passenger finally shows up at 1300 for the short flight to KMZZ where I get some lunch and shoot the bull with the airport locals until it's time to fly back to Indy at 1700. The post flight duties are also much shorter and I'm at home by 1900. Another long but good day of flying - 2.1 hours in the logbook and only a minor maintenance write up.
I'm done flying for a couple of days but will probably show up in the office to catch up on some paperwork and make sure the airplanes are clean and ready for the next trip.