Just one pilot's attempt at taking an interesting picture every trip, often with a story to go with it. Come along for the ride.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

SJU/EWR "The Amazing Race"

After writing about each of my trips for the last year, I'm starting to realize that, even though we might fly to the same places at the same time of year over and over again, these trips are always unique. Something usually happens that set one trip apart from another. And I'm not just talking about a mechanical issue or bad weather, but more about the people you meet or the conversations you have along the way.

This 3 day, 21 hour San Juan/Newark trip wasn't much like the trip two weeks earlier where I met up with my sister. I flew with Captain Kevin K. who is extremely easy going and fun to chat with, and I ran into a reality T.V. 'celebrity' which made my day.

But let me share this trip, as I usually do, using pictures. The first picture is from San Juan while we were holding short of runway 8. Since this puts the runway on my side of the airplane, and the lines can be long at times, it presents a perfect perch for a picture or two. I heard AA 1065 over the radio on landing and immediately recognized the voice as Captain Ellen's from the Aruba who I flew with on Thanksgiving. The FO I flew with for that turn, Bill K., was again flying with her this week. So I took this picture of them which I plan on emailing them.

While going through security, for some reason San Juan had only one lane open for the entire terminal. I was patiently waiting in line when I noticed an Eagle co-pilot behind me. I recognized him immediately from a reality T.V. show we have in the states called "The Amazing Race." Nicolas is racing with his grandfather and they are doing a great job so far. He mentioned that the next nights episode would be a good one, and it was, although I can imagine that any leg of the race where you aren't in last place would be considered a good one. They finished 3rd or 4th that day. I have to say, Linda and I enjoy this show because it gives you a great look at so many different countries and personalities. The race is often won or lost as a result of how the contestants secure their airline tickets and that can be entertaining. In one episode, Nicolas was pleading with an Aer Lingus agent and I couldn't help but cringe as I know Aer Lingus agents can be a bit, well, how do I say this nicely... They're, uh, a bit procedurally minded. I asked Nicolas if he felt the editing made him look any different than he did during the race and he felt that he and his grandpa came across exactly as they were. I can attest to the fact that he seems like a nice guy in the show and he certainly was in person. Of course, I had to get a picture since I knew I'd be writing about this. I probably made him late for his trip. Hope I didn't get him fired. Especially if he didn't win the million dollar prize. The Amazing Race airs on Sunday nights on CBS.

Nicolas from the Amazing Race

On the flight to and from Antigua, I managed to get these pictures. Always looking for shots I haven't done before. It's my little challenge.

Another sunset view
Air Stairs in Antigua

Finally, on the third day, Kevin and I were feeling rather talkative since we didn't have to depart at 6 a.m. on this day. Kevin always has some great stories and I think the following might be a good example.

Kevin grew up in a flying family. His dad was an Eastern pilot, and his brother and sister also learned to fly. The family had an Aeronca Champ and when his younger brother (also a captain with us) was ready to solo, a sinister plan was hatched. As is customary on your first solo, the instructor will usually go around the patch with you before hopping out and telling you to 'giver 'er a go. Kevin's family knew this would be the day for the younger Kris. So when the instructor gave Kris the nod and hopped out to watch him make his first flight, Kris taxied down to the end of the Hampton airport where his dad was waiting. Kris got out and his dad hopped into the seat where Kris had been sitting. Kris's dad is of course an accomplished pilot, and he proceeded to take off and perform an award winning drunk farmer routine that used to be popular at airshows. The airplane took off, rotated hard over on it's side in a knife edge fashion, bounced back on to the runway, staggered into the air again, climbing and stalling all the way on the downwind and base legs, and finally came to a rest back on the runway. Kris's mom was watching with the petrified instructor and since she wasn't in on the gag, she too was close to having a heart attack. Their dad landed long on the runway, and Kris swapped places with him and taxied back to the ramp. The only thing they didn't think of was to get the entire flight on video. If they had, this is where I'd put the YouTube link.

At least I have a picture of Kevin telling the story:


Jamie D said...

Another great trip report. Unfortunately CBS isnt available in the uk otherwise i would have tuned in.

Moe said...

Really enjoying your blog! You know, flying trips to San Juan in the 757, as an FO for AA, has me wondering if you've ever flown with Les Abend?

Anonymous said...

Great trip report, I liked Kevin ´s story, I wonder what the flight instructor said or what was his reaction during the solo.

Neil said...

Really great post Kent! Same here EGM757LOVER

Kent Wien said...

Hi Moe,

I recently flew with someone who ran into Les down there. I've never met him, although he did previously fly in Alaska years ago. I'm sure I'll run into him at some point.

Kent Wien said...

If we only had video, we could really see the instructors reaction. Lesson here: Bring the camera!

Neil said...

So true, Kent!

Anonymous said...

thats why I always carrie my camera after I got stuck in X47 with my instructor after some thunderstorms and then we had 2 amazing rainbows overhead.
What am I talking about ? Instructor ? I fly solo now! EGM757

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Exeter, New Hampshire, United States
Grew up in Alaska, went to high school and college in Washington State. Commercial pilot since 1990.

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