26 March 2007

A Strange, Wonderful Business

I'm now in my 40th year of earning my living by pushing air downwards.
To say it's been an interesting trip would be an understatement. There are memories of a thousand incidents running around in my head, waiting for something to happen to remind me to share them with you.

Aviating takes a lot of money. In order to make money, people frequently need to aviate. It's an interesting dance. The fact that aviating requires a lot of $$$$ frequently puts those of us that aviate in contact with, shall we say, some "interesting" elements of society.

The phone rang, and I answered. The guy at the other end said "I talked with Don XXXXX, and he recommended you highly. (Don was an FAA inspector and an old friend).

"Okay, how can I help you sir?"

"I need a good pilot to pick up a JetRanger in Houston and fly it to Ft. Lauderdale. There you'll pick up an associate of mine and fly to Newark, New Jersey. Could you do that next week?"

I was between jobs, so the idea of picking up a little cash certainly was attractive.
But in the back of my head an alarm went off...
Houston- to Ft. Lauderdale to pick up some Dude, then Newark? An interesting, inefficient trip for a helicopter, don't ya think?

I didn't bother to ask why he wanted me to take that strange route.
What I did say was,
"I'll do the job with one stipulation- I want $1,000 up front, and I promise you that if anywhere along the way I get the impression drugs are involved, I'll abandon the helicopter and board a commercial Jetliner home."

"Oh no!", says he... "No drugs involved here. I understand your concerns. Let me talk with the boss, and I'll be back in touch."
And he hung up.

I never heard from him again.

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