Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, September 24, 2013

One Trip, 85 Suitcases

The logistics that go into a big GA flight might leave you wondering where you left your car

As the saying goes, all good things come to an end, but I had been studying the manuals, and was ready for and excited about the next adventure, the Tucano checkride. After an all-night flight to St. Louis, I picked up my Extra, and since it has very limited baggage space, I had to travel light. What a relief, life was simple again! It was just me, my airplane, a flight suit, some Tucano manuals, and a pair of jeans and a pair of shorts, just the way I like it. I landed at LOU, Bowman Field, just before dark. I slept like a rock and spent the next day getting ready for my checkride.

The Short Tucano T MK1 is an airplane I've always wanted to fly. Sleek and sexy, it's a pilot's airplane, with great handling characteristics, good akro capabilities, nice cockpit layout and Garrett Turboprop performance. The owner of this Tucano asked me to coach him for his air show routine and in exchange offered to help me get my type rating and to fly it in a couple of air shows. Mission accomplished!

With a new ticket in my pocket, I jumped back in the Extra, and a few hours, and one fuel stop later, I landed home at SGJ in St. Augustine. I called the FBO and asked them to bring my car—only to be told my car wasn't there. For all the planning, packing and organizing, moi, the master of logistics, had forgotten her car and house keys were at JAX, the international airport 40 miles away.

Most of my trips are logistically crazy and difficult, but I like to view them as a challenge to be resourceful. I also know that nothing ever goes as planned, and that's part of the adventure! When things do go as planned, it's sort of an amazing miracle.

I don't know if there's a moral to this story, but I know that whatever surprises are around the corner will continue to amaze and astonish me. When opportunity comes along, it's important to grab it. I suppose it would be easier to turn things down and make life easier. But when opportunity knocks, who knows when and if it'll come again?

We all have regrets, and my biggest regrets are the things I didn't do and the opportunities I didn't take, like the time I was offered a job as a bareback rider in the circus when I was 19. I've been trying not to make that mistake ever since.


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