After our normal greetings and quick shoptalk, we made our way to the temporary office at the airport. Do to all the activity, on the tarmac, there was a lot noise.
Lorrie brought me up to speed on what was happening at the airport for the next few days.
“The Lear 45 is on its way back from Tucson. The C130s are not leaving until tomorrow morning at 8 our time. All six of the pilots we sent are getting recertified along with check rides and recertification in air refueling today and this evening, courtesy of the agency. They should be here around two tomorrow afternoon.”
Why do they need recertification in air refueling?” Lorrie asked.
“The agency said they would need it on some of the contract flights,” I replied.
“Tomorrow at 1, we are going to have an emergency response planning meeting for the airport. The Fire chiefs and officers from the four closest fire companies in the county, the Directors from the call board and most of the county commissioners will be here. They want to start the preliminary work for an emergency response plan but mostly they just want to see what we are doing, I think. Because they are volunteer fire companies, Sunday is the only day they could all be here.”
“Lorrie, you need to make sure Tony can sit in on that meeting and has the latest set of plans,” I replied.
“Office supply business must be bad,” Marcy said. “I called Baltimore Office Supply this morning just to see if anyone was there on a Saturday to give an order to, hoping it would be delivered mid-week. They arrived at 11 and are putting the temporary office together and then are coming back tomorrow morning to finish up. It was a good thing Tony ran communication, internet and TV cable to every building; it has really come in handy”
“We have a small problem we forgot heat. The floor is not heated in the side hanger we are going to use. The propane company is coming Monday to install a couple of the ceiling heaters like in the gym,” Marcy added. “Let me show you the layout we chose.”
We walked through the temporary office with Lorrie pointing out the various selections she and Marcy had made.
“Looks good it should be functional for what we need to do,” I said.
Lorrie shifted the conversation again, “The last truckload of equipment is on the way from Island Airport along with the jet fuel truck. Robbie pumped one tanker at the parking lot empty yesterday and we will empty the other one this week, then we will start using the fuel from the fuel farm. When they are both empty the supplier will pick them up,” Lorrie replied.
“Dad said if someone would carry him to Dover on Tuesday, he would drive it back. He is off that day and will borrow a dealers tag to do it. Once we get it here we won’t need it tagged and the small jet truck can be sent back when they pickup up the tankers,” I replied.
We walked back out to the tarmac in front of our hanger in time to see the mechanics and pilot trying to put one of the Bombardiers into the hangar with our little antique aircraft tug that came with the equipment from Island Airport.
The tug was out matched; it would start the push up the little incline then the drive wheels would just start spinning and smoking.
I motioned to Marcy, Lorrie and Vicky to follow me. The four of us climbed onto the tug and sat on the fenders over the drive wheels, something that was unsafe as hell. I told Pete who was driving it to go very slow. The extra weight was enough to make it work – the little tug that could – as the plane rolled up the ramp and into the hangar.
I was glad the bigger tugs were on the way; doing what we did was a recipe for disaster. Shore Towing was going to get them from the Naval Air Station at Norfolk on Tuesday. With one big Landoll trailer and one heavy lift over-weight trailer they were going to get all three of them in one day. The Bombardiers did not weigh nearly as much as the C130; we had to have the bigger tugs to move them and soon.
There were cars parking in any spot they could find along the fence. We were gaining some sightseers with all the aircraft activity, including the media. There were families lining up along the fence watching in the cold, it had to be all the aircraft activity we were having today. I knew both Ching Lee and Vicky would want to capture the free media, if they could.
Both Bombardiers’ were here. One Bombardier was in the hanger and the other was sitting in front of the open hangar door. There was a discussion with the pilot and Robbie on leaving it out until tomorrow when it had a scheduled flight to Naples.
I cornered Vicky and Ching Lee and told them to go do a head count of how many kids and parents were along the fence.
While they were doing that, I had Marcy and Lorrie help me corral some stray orange safety cones. There were stacks of them everywhere and we made a walkway along the inside wall of the hanger we had just pushed the Bombardier in, all the way to the tarmac in front of it.
I asked the pilot and copilot talking to Robbie if they were up for a short sight-seeing flight in the 200, “Sure, if you find someone to be a flight attendant and be a tour guide over the PA,” they replied.
“I count close to 50,” Ching Lee said as she ran up to me.
“Go ask how many want to a free 30 minute sight-seeing flight.” She was off in a run; it was a good thing I had said all I wanted to.
A few minutes later she came back to us with a stream of parents with children on the walkway we had just set up. Lea Tippins – one of our regular flight attendants – was bringing up the rear with Hanna Page and a camera-man following her.
Lea, being the people person she was, started with explaining the plane at a level the kids could understand. From somewhere she produced several large packs of gum and gave everyone a stick. Chewing gum would help eliminate ear pain in the children with the altitude changes while taking off and landing.
She introduced the pilot and copilot, then they assisted everyone board. I did a quick review about what was going on today at Morton field for Hanna on camera.
“There are a couple of empty seats left. Anybody else want to go?” Lea yelled out the open plane door.
Hanna asked, “May I go, can we film?”
“Just listen to what Lea tells you,” I replied as Ching Lee and Vicky followed them up the ladder.
Joey and I met in the middle of the temporary office. “Special Saturday delivery by FedEx to the gym for you,” she said as she handed me two legal looking packages.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Joe H.