Friday, May 05, 2006

MYSOREAN IN MANHATTAN

Lets get a couple of things out of the way. The title is a reference to me as the Mysorean. Mahattan is not a reference to the one in New York. This is about me (read States Bound) staying at a boutique hotel in Manhattan Beach. It is a small city, south of Los Angeles on the picturesque US 1 highway. The first day there, straight out of the flight from Singapore, my colleague and I checked into this hotel called the "Bellamar" and went driving around Manhattan Beach in a rented car. The place was nice, the weather wasn't. Manhattan Beach has a pier (most coastal towns in the US has a pier), a nice beach with some frigid Pacific water (frigid for a Mysorean at least!) and loads of good restaurants. I'll bet there's an Indian restaurant around(they are everywhere in the World these days) but yours truly was seduced by a seaside seafood bistro. Food was great, the beer better!
Next day we drove to Camarillo Airport near Oxnard, near Santa Barbara. I was on the job inspecting the airplanes that I was supposed to. A word about the company that represented the airplanes. They are called C&J T-28 Aircraft sales, Inc. Long name and funny too, with numbers and all. Here's the scoop on why they have numbers in their company name. They are the largest restorers and maintenance providers of T-28 single engine piston vintage Warbird Aircraft! They had a line of those vintage airplanes, all in flying condition. That was a treat, for any pilot, to see old war birds carefully restored and flying. T-28's have huge nine cylinder radial piston engines driving huge propellers. The pilot and navigator sit one behind the other, this is called as tandem seats. One climbs into the cockpit by stepping on the flaps on the wings (don't try this on other planes!), a small step and then into the cockpit. The airplane sits really tall and when I say one has to climb to get into the cockpit, I really mean it. The guy who owns the place is called Chuck Smith, an old warbird restorer and pilot himself. He's quite a character and has many stories to tell (most aviators love to talk and exchange stories, it is just in their blood).
My job, unfortunately, was not to test fly one of these birds. I had to take two Beechcraft King Air C90B six seat executive pressurized turboprops on test flights. They were nice airplanes and we chose to buy them, on behalf of my client, of course. The third day, work complete, Airplanes finalized and other engagements cancelled, yours truly decided to skip town and get back to Singapore. Tulsa did not happen this time around (see States Bound) and I did not meet Kevin. There are ferry flights down the line and I'll get to fly with Kevin again.
I'm back in Singapore after a 17 hour direct LAX to SIN flight on Singapore Airlines, chatting with the cabin crew, watching movies and yes, drinking Singapore Sling! (read my earlier blog about the sling). Raffles Class (Business Class of Singapore Airlines) is great! Arrived at five in the morning a day later, refreshed and straight to Hawker Pacific Hangar till evening, working and blogging alternately. This Mysorean is back, from Manhattan Beach.

11 comments:

Blogging One's Own Trinkets said...

I have a marine engineer-friend. He is quite frequently away at the sea. I once said to him that most people think that being on a merchant ship means it is all about making money. My friend liked that someone was sympathising with him.
I am curious to know, Captain, how much of your own assignments are fun and how much is hard labour.
It's a childlike curiosity to know which of my two friends - the one in the blue waters or, the one in the blue skies - is loving what he is doing more.
(Fact is the marine engineer is as much of a pleasant disposition as the pilot! Both are equally stern inside!)

Blog-Capt. Anup Murthy said...

In my case, a lot of the hard work is also fun. Not many people get paid to have fun. It can get tiring sometimes, the frequent travel I mean. Let's put it this way. The flying is fun, the travel in a commercial jet to get the aircraft is the boring part.

By the way, my wife says that the blog was interesting and that it could have been better if I had put in more info about the T-28 classic Aircraft. I guess, I'll just have to do that. Early next week.

Athul said...

Hi sir , after going through the latest blogs of urs , i have few things to know about the formalities of flying .


1 , how do u decide in a long jouney like Australia to Singapore where all to stop and fill the fuel ?? How is the paper work required for the landing and filling the fuel etc .

2 , since u have to fly a plane in another country ,like u did in australia and US , what all paper do u need to do those flying there ,

3 , pilots who cover different countries just like
u did now , how about their VISA and clearence for
moving into different countries , do they ( pilots
) have different papers for this purpose ??

Nikhil Joshi said...

Wow! I have missed a whole load of stuff on your blog, thanks for my busy academic schedule! I will sit down and read every bit once I am free.
I will be in Mysore from May 12th all the way to Aug 15th. Will you be in Mysore during that time? If you don't mind, and have the time, I surely would like to meet you and seek your advice on various opportunities in Aviation in India and elsewhere (I am majoring in Aviation Management - a reminder).
Are you back yet from your "world tour" or still wandering in the skies somehwere?
Thanks :)

Blog-Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Athul, thanks for your questions. i am suremany others are asking the same.
1. Regarding the route, we ferry pilots use a route map and figure out the best places to land for fuel and services, depending on the flight range of the Aircraft. Stops are determined primarily by fuel requirements. Most countries in the West require only filing the flight plan. Re-fuelling requests are done in advance by the handling agency or direct if we have direct connections.
2.When I fly a US registered airplane, anywhere in the World, my US license comes in handy!
3. We fly on a ICAO document called as the "General Declaration Form" (GD for short). The crew manifest lists the names, passport numbers and other information about departure point, destination point and so on. Most countries need just this paperwork and can e done through the handling agents at the airports of departure and arrival. Some countries will give us limited stay over and some countries needs additional requirement of compulsory visa, like the US. One should know requirements of the different countries before embarking on a ferry flight. There has been instances where (an Indian crew that I know) did not follow procedures and landed in Russia on a ferry flight to India and would have been oK for re-fuelling but not for stay over. Since they entered and due to tech reasons had to stay over and since they did not have the visa, their passports were taken away and they were locked up in a room without food and water for a full night. They were let off the next day after lengthy explanations! Don't try to do this without some research!

Blog-Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Thanks Nikhil, for your comment. Nice to know that you will be in Mysore for vacation. I am in Singapore now. I was scheduled to get back to Mysore for a few days on the 21st of May but that seems a bit remote all of a sudden. i may end up back in the States and get the C90B's down to Singapore. I will be in Singapore till mid July. I should be in Mysore late July, fingers crossed. Yes, it would be nice to meet you and guide you about this field. Till then, I'm afraid you are right is assuming that I am wandering around the skies somewhere in the World!

Athul K S said...

HI sir, after reading the experience of ur friend in russia , i get the seriuosness of these procedures .

There was a incident where a ship came to port 1 hr ahead of its given time in some gulf country and they all ( including the captains ) were asked to lay on the ground with the military people pointing their guns to their head while checking their papers .

Sir , how strict is indian authority on foreign planes coming into india for fueling and all ,
are they taken as seriuosly as the russians ??

Blog-Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Athul,
India does not even allow ad-hoc flights into the country without going through a 7 days advance application process at the DGCA, New Delhi. One cannot fly into, out of, overfly India without a YA clearance (as they call it). Unless this YA number is mentioned on the flight plan prior to leaving for india, your flight plan will not be accepted. Some countries have silly policies and will jump the gun. We avoid flying through hot zones and banana republics as much as possible.

Blog-Capt. Anup Murthy said...

By the way, Athul, I have had a bad experience in Karachi, pakistan (where else will an Indian pilot have problems?)in the year 2000 when I was ferrying an aiplane with limited range and had to go through Paki. The people on the ground were friendly and courteous but the military wasn't. Thats another story, to be told another day and I did have to leave back at gun point (not joking) to Ahmedabad, get re-clearance nearly a week later and fly through Karachi again onward to Muscat and so on.

My co-pilot at that time was a young guy, never been on an International flight,was scared out of his wits. He now started flying for Kingfisher as co-pilot on the A320. Oh, I've got stories to tell that will make some people's hair stand on end. Lets save the scary parts for sometime later.

Athul K S said...

Sir ,
when u get time , pls blog about ur not so intresting experiences like u had in pakistan .

iam sure there r lot of readers who will b intrested to know such incidents and many things from other parts of the world .

May b u can start a seperate section for that , and other pilots who go through it can add their part also .

I was thinking of ur co pilot , he must have seen all in life flashing infront of him when he saw the loaded gun pointing at him .

Blog-Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Thanks for the suggestion Athul. I think I will do that sometime, post an article on the Pakistan incident. I did not see my co-pilot, who was taken to a different location, for half a day. He was all shook up but I think he handled the situation well enough. He could not handle the late night return to Ahmedabad and slept all the way and I had to fly alone, can't blame him for anything. India wasn't great friends with General Whatsisname Mush at that time and that did not help us any, either. The story continues with our return to Muscat with re-clearance from pakistan and that was another episode, worth telling sometime!