Monday, November 1, 2004
Cessna 421 Golden Eagle
This one has really gone to the dogs
Some pilots will do anything, use any subterfuge and resort to any rationalization to justify buying an airplane. With that said, Pat Cattarin’s excuse is more than a little over the top. He bought a late-model 421, specifically to transport dogs.
The boss of Greyhound Express says that the Cessna 421 is plenty fast enough for his own purposes. “Above 20,000 feet, I can true at 210 knots most of the time, and that makes short work of dog-delivery trips to San Jose, Reno and Sacramento fairly common destinations for us. We have the big tanks, 271 gallons total, so even at 35 gph, I can stay aloft for six hours and still have plenty of reserve.”
The Greyhound Express typically carries three to five dogs at one time, although it has transported as many as eight canines. Carol takes care of the dogs in flight and leaves the flying to Pat. “These dogs have great temperaments,” she explains, “and it’s quite rare to have a problem during flights. They’re generally quiet animals with more curiosity than fear of flying, and it’s quite a rarity for one to get sick. They’ve been well-trained to be well-socialized to humans because of their dog-racing experience, and they tolerate new people and situations quite well. A few years ago, we did have a dog fight in the back of the airplane, and that was scary. As a result, all dogs we transport now are muzzled, and we’ve had no problems since then.”
For the Cattarins, transporting these dogs is a labor of love. “We love to fly and we really do love these animals,” says Carol, “and if our small contribution helps put them in good homes, we’re happy.”
Pat agrees. “We’d be burning up avgas to no purpose if we weren’t flying greyhounds. This way, we’ve actually accomplished something, instead of boring holes in the sky.”
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