The night before a complex flight tends to be a sleepless one. I imagine that many other pilots endure their own painstaking habits and rituals before pulling chocks on similarly elaborate missions. In my case, the next day’s events haunt every dark corner of my hotel room. My eyes burst open from restless sleep at the slightest sound, and thoughts immediately begin racing through my mind – did I miss the wake-up call? No, thank goodness. But what does the weather look like outside? Will we be able to take off? And what about the weather at our destination – will we have to be rerouted? What about our flight plans? Did I file everything correctly?...
Yesterday, though, the sun rose on a cool and partly cloudy morning in London. The plan was to fly from there to Teterboro where we would deliver three of our passengers, and then to depart for Naples, Florida, where the remaining few would deplane and bid us a final farewell. All paperwork filed accordingly, all passengers accounted for, and clear skies on the eastern coast of the U.S.
Since we always try to surprise our principal, we decided to try something novel to celebrate the last day of our travels. We cooked a rack of lamb in our convection oven and served it with equally impressive accompaniments. The meal was considered a huge success by our passengers, especially complemented by the decadent pastries that we had procured in London and served for dessert. Taking our passengers into consideration is our priority, of course. So, once they had expressed their awe and gratitude, the Crew and I were assured that the remainder of our voyage would be a success.
Up in the clouds, my anxious mind quieted, we crossed the Atlantic at 40,000 feet destined for home. Peaceful reflection surfaced memories from our trip, which once seemed so long but now seemed to have come and gone in the blink of an eye. My uniform could just about fly the airplane by itself, I swear, so we took turns strolling through the spacious cabin zones to stretch our legs. We kept lively conversation going, raided the galley for snacks, and marveled at the successful mission we were about to complete.
Today, after a full night of sleep in my own bed, the appreciation I have for these past few weeks is overwhelming, and indescribable. I hope that, one day, I will be able to share these types of experiences with my children. Amazing, isn’t it, though? You can travel around the entire planet, only to find that your whole world is right here at home…
Thank you for coming with us on this journey, my friends.