After listening to the arrangements between Chief Grimes and Robbie, I went back to my quest to find anyone associated with the C17. I finally walked the hall to the tower and went to the top in the elevator.
There were two agency personnel operating the tower today. Ryan Emory had been through the training program and a couple refreshers. The other man I saw in the restaurant with the spook crowd several times; he was always in white shop coveralls. I took him to be some kind of technician.
“Ryan, what can you tell me about the C17 on the tarmac?” I asked.
“Not as much as I would like to because I know very little. The pilot and crew was a transfer crew delivering the aircraft from Boeing to Dover AFB. Because Dover was still snowed in last night the crew diverted here. The reputation of the airport and the national coverage of Atlantic 709 has gone far and wide.”
“That is the last C17 off the Boeing assembly line before it was shut down in December. It was supposedly built for one of our allies with the standard prepayment schedule that Boeing requires. They were supposed to take delivery of it as soon as it rolled off the line in December. After several rescheduling, it was to finally happen on Monday at DAFB. Now after the plane landed, the ownership transfer has been canceled again.”
“The Boeing transfer crew is pissed. They have to fly the plane back to California or Seattle then fly it back to Dover again when the issues get settled, unless you lease them a tie-down spot. DAFB will not allow Boeing to store the plane on base. To complicate matters, they do not want it stored at a major airport for obvious reasons. The sales and transfer pilots are to be here very soon to talk to someone,” Ryan said.
“I will give Lorrie and Marcy a heads up so they can as least have a ballpark price for them, if it goes that way,” I replied.
“Boss, just for your information that thing will use most of a full load of fuel – 35,000 gallons – to fly back to California or Seattle. That’s 70,000 gallons to make the round trip to get it back Dover at 4 bucks a gallon – that’s $280,000. Marcie may want to faction that into the cost of a parking spot for a month,” Ryan stated.
“Thanks Ryan, I’ll pass it on,” I replied.
I closed Lorrie’s office door and filled both of them in on the conversation I had with Ryan, including the part about fuel. Lorrie started researching tie down fees for an aircraft that size. When she had finished I asked how much jet A fuel we had in the fuel farm, just to satisfy my curiosity.
“The tanks were filled before the storm. If the snow does not interfere with the vacationers, we have 25 flights to Florida Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Six of those are with the Bombardiers. All of the vacation houses are rented included the extra ones we leased. Everybody wants away from the snow and cold,” Lorrie replied.
The loud speaker called passengers to board Atlantic 709. All the baggage had been through the TSA scanners and now the passengers were going through it with the carry-on baggage and the body scanners.
The equipment had been installed when the terminal was built and was used very little. This was the first real test and use. DHS was finally getting a return on the salaries of four full time employees assigned at Morton Field.
But that was going to change very soon – in fact as soon as the local vacation season started. The Chesapeake Commuter Service was going to be a reality this summer after month’s talks and potential contracts, and finally contracts. The official county stop was Morton Field.
The service was going to run daily flights from BWI, Morton Field to Ocean City Municipal Airport. CCS had even entered in talks with Lorrie about contracting one or both Bombardiers on Friday, Saturday and Sundays if their ventures were positively received locally.
Lorrie, Marcy, Ching Lee, Vicky and I went to stand by the big heavily reinforced windows by the tarmac door to watch the boarding. Hanna was outside interviewing the passengers as they headed to the stairs to board.
When she was in between people willing to talk, I tapped on the window to get her attention. When she looked my way, I gave her a thumb’s up. I was rewarded with the mouthed word, “Chicken,” as she wrapped her arms around her and shook indicating that she was very cold.
I returned the gesture by indicating that I was hot and wiped the sweat from my forehead. A minute later she was inside with us. “Yep, this is the place to be,” she replied as she began interviewing again.
The last persons in line were the pilot and the copilot. The pilot and copilot both gave Lorrie their business cards, Lorrie handed one of hers back with, “If you think about a change sometime, give us a call,” she replied.
After a hearty round of handshakes and a thank you, they were on their way to the plane and the stairs was moved away. The plane made the turns to the runway and did engine run ups and equipment checks.
The control tower cleared them for take off. Then it was full power and black smoke as Atlantic 709 roared down the runway and into the air, headed for Kennedy once again. The pilot asked for and received permission for a runway fly over. Atlantic 709 dipping the wings at all of us standing on the tarmac was on national news.
With the exception of the C17 now parked beside the super hangar and huge piles of snow around the unheated runways, things were back to normal at Morton field.
There was one more thing to deal with then we were all going back to AAGH to see Jenny and the boys.
The C17 transfer crew and the sales team – for a total of 10 people – were in the restaurant having coffee. A conference call to Boeing was on agenda. Thirty minutes later they were told to rent cars to go to BWI and then wait for a flight back to Seattle.
The pilot replied, “There are only limited flights out of BWI for two days. Baltimore received a foot more snow than they did here.”
Lorrie picked up on that quickly, “I can do a charter flight to Seattle. If there is a pilot in the lounge, the flight can leave as soon as the plane is fueled. I will have to charge for round trip though.”
“What will they be flying in?” the voice on the phone asked.
“Gulfstream 5,” Lorrie replied.
“Ten spur of the moment one way tickets will cost $15000.00. Plus another round of hotel rooms for two days, meals and hookers. OK, fly them here, put it on your credit card Derrick,” the voice said and the line went click.
A quick call to the pilots lounge for 2 pilots for a round robin to Seattle was quickly answered.
Forty minutes later the G5 was doing run up checks at the end of the runway before takeoff.
The C17 was staying for 6 weeks at $10,000 a week for tie down and security. Lorrie sent a couple mechanics to put yellow security tape on traffic comes around it.
The five of us went home to shower and change and then we were going to see Jenny. I had hoped that my Mom and Lisa had allowed Jenny to get some rest.
There was still plenty of snow and slush on the road, but traffic was moving. It was the typical eastern shore snow storm. After the big snows the weather always warmed up into the 40s and 50s to do a fast melt and make things a general muck. The trip still took an hour.
When we arrived Jason was there with Lisa. Jake and Mindy were in the hall looking thru the nursery window at the boys. The Governor and the first Lady were in the room with Jenny, Jason and Lisa. It was a warm reunion with Jenny’s task force boss. We had met and had been in some meetings and fancy dinners some time ago. He remembered all of us and always treated us as extended family.
After the governor left little Jacob and Robert were brought in. It was feeding time and they were hungry little boys. Naturally there were plenty of pictures taken. The best one was when they both had a nipple looking at each other and were holding hands.
They had been cramped together for so long and now with the freedom to move they still wanted to touch each other; everyone thought it was so cute.
After feeding and burping all of us got to hold the babies; something I as well as the rest of the girls had been looking forward to for months.
Dr. Peterson made her rounds while we were there. The good doctor gave us some tips and special care the babies needed. The best news was that after tomorrow’s feeding and checking on the babies, Jenny could come home!
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.