One of the realities of delivering corporate airplanes for part of your living is that you don’t get every job you bid. For a variety of reasons (many of which have nothing to do with price), you’re lucky to be awarded one out of 20. Some jobs just go away because the planned delivery never happens. Others get assigned to someone’s brother-in-law who used to fly fighters in Korea, and still others wind up flown by a factory pilot. I probably realize less than 5% of my bids because I’m becoming pickier (i.e., more expensive) in my bidding after 30 years. The older I get, the better I used to be.
One trip I sincerely regret missing out on entailed taking a new Pilatus PC-12 from Connecticut to Ulan Bator—yes, I had to look it up. Turns out it’s the capitol of Mongolia, and the trip was supposed to take place in the early summer of 2001. It was planned for a far northern, semi-great-circle route, about 6,000 nm, with refueling stops in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada; Fairbanks and Nome, Alaska; Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka, Russia; and probably someplace else with a name I can’t spell. For a combination of reasons, the ferry flight never happened. Spilt milk, I guess. Trips such as that don’t come along very often.