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Copyright: Fred Robel, and Fritz365 2010-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Fred Robel and Fritz365 with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Around The World In 98 Hours

And her wings were gleaming
With hot de-icing fluid steaming
The lavatory was serviced
I high fived the mechanic on shift
Transferring the baton my way
With not a single deferred maintenance item in the book
Everything was green
Fired up the engines
And got gone

The number one engine used a bit of oil
With some coking all about the tailpipe
So I topped up the tank
Scraped off the crust
And chased down the catering truck
Before it got away
Might have hit a goose with the leading edge on final
A judicious smack with a dead blow took that dent right out
The motors started spooling
Calling me to the boarding stairs
To close the door

Hong Kong:
Blew the number seven tire on landing
I think we ran over some scrap on the runway
The airport police were all over the place
Taking pictures and racing down the concrete
Looking for more bits and pieces
They wouldn't let me near the bad tire right away
So I passed the time putting a scab patch over that goose strike
As it had somehow cracked the metal on the long flight
Probably from me hitting it with the hammer
But I'm not sorry I did it
Finally the cops got out of the way
The tire got changed
I ruined my shirt
And I was done with that island airport

I had a dream about a kangaroo that bit me and gave me rabies
Such was my punishment for trying to sleep hopped up on Redbull
And I awoke just as the dream doctor who looked like Crocodile Dundee
Was giving me a shot in the stomach with a giant rusty needle
Dust was blowing everywhere as I practically fell out of the lower hatch
Startling the ground handlers
So I pretended like I'd meant to do that
Trying not to limp as I went around wiping down the landing gear
Fishing out the ladder from the aft compartment again
Checking oils
Checking the damaged wing leading edge
Being distracted by a two plane formation touch-and-go
By some RAAF F-111 Aardvarks
A sight not seen at home or anywhere else anymore
Someday the plane will break so I can spend a couple days Down Under
But not today

Finally found my Primaquine tablets about an hour out
Realized I should have started taking them two days ago
Took two days worth of pills to try and make up for it
Stomach felt upset as I clambered down the ladder for the ground checks
Threw up uncontrollably next to the left body gear on the ramp
Shirt so covered in sick that I took it off and threw it away
All the ramp people stared at my love handles
Two of them whistled
One offered a phone number
I think they were all joking
Had to top up the number two hydraulic system
Splashed hydraulic fluid on my chest
Which broke out into a rash almost immediately
Combining with the over one hundred degree outside temps
Making me feel like I was standing under a blowtorch
Our sealed aluminum tube of conditioned air a welcome relief

Took a sponge bath in the lavatory during the flight
Checking myself for mosquito bites and not finding any
But getting phantom itches just the same
Praying that all the malaria ones had been too full to bother with me
I ran into the terminal and bought two new shirts
Blue and white Ankaraspor football club
And I looked quite dashing
With green hills in the distance
Dotted with whitewashed villages
I added some quick set aerodynamic sealant
To the edges of the goose damage on that leading edge
There seemed to be cracks spreading from it
Number one engine took two gallons of oil to top up
Maybe I forgot to check it last time?
I was sad to see Turkey slip aft as we flew away

My game plan had been plotted out as we flew
Where I was going to speed through all my duties
Then run to the terminal for some good Irish beer
It didn't seem to work that way though
As there was some outsized cargo to load through the nose
And I had to help the loadmaster out with it
Who ships a seventy five foot box anyways?
Number one engine took about a gallon and a half this time
Which seemed to be an improvement
The APU was leaking something down the fuselage belly in the rear
Making an awful mess out of things
Borrowed a lift from Aer Lingus
Tightened up the oil filter in and out lines
It seems nobody had safetied them and they had loosened
Suddenly it was time to go
And there sat the Pub in the terminal
Only a hundred yards away
Which might as well be a hundred leagues
I shed a tear for the lost glass of stout on the way out

All the way across the Atlantic
I'd watched the oil quantity in the number one engine go down steadily
From a high of almost nine gallons when we took off
To a low of two gallons as we entered the pattern for O'Hare
Where a new engine awaited our arrival
To be swapped into that number one position
Another box sat near our parking spot as well
With a section of leading edge  to replace what the goose had smashed
Those two items
Plus four other deferred avionics issues
Were going to make for a busy twelve hour turnaround time

Sixteen tires made sixteen puffs of smoke as we kissed home again
Her wings were a little dirty and scuffed
The lavatory was unspeakably foul
The ground mechanic scowled at the work to-do list
As we all got busy erasing the marks left by a long trip around the world