Mind of Murph
As you know, sometimes I just write what is on my mind even if it doesn't have a thing to do with QuickBooks or Technology. That is one of the 'perks' of having a blog.
I seem to have been flying a lot lately, all of it 'work' related I assure you. And I have flown more since the first of this year, than in the last few years all put together. Ever since I retired (the first time) a few years ago, i have limited my flying because I had always had to fly way too much, even though flying was comfortable and easy then (before 9 - 11).
Today by the time you drive to the airport, park your car in what seems like a county away from the terminal, take a shuttle bus when it finally shows up, stand in a line to drop your bag and get told how much extra you have to pay, then stand in line to gain access to security screening, then go through the TSA process (I won't even begin to describe how much fun that can be), and finally reach your gate which is almost always 1 train, 3 concourses, and 4000 gates away (running all the way of course only to find that your departing plane hasn't even arrived yet because it is 40 minutes late), and then take your flight and wait for what seems like a decade to get that one bag that you paid for, you could almost have driven to anywhere within 500 miles of your starting point. That is why "I frequently make 'road trips' to my clients" despite many of my colleagues thinking that I 'must be crazy to drive there.'
Well, as it happens, I had flown to Atlanta a few days ago for a series of meetings with Joe Woodard and his 'great team' at the Woodard Group, and also my Intuitive Accountant Publisher Gary DeHart. (I mean Atlanta is a long drive from OKC, so flying was probably the right choice ??????) This morning I departed Atlanta on a 1-hour 40-minute flight to Kansas City to work with a client. The plane no more than lifted off eastbound out of Atlanta (due to the winds) before I knew something was wrong. Not only have I flown millions of miles commercial, but I have also flown a Beech Twin Bonanza (the predecessor of the Beechcraft Baron). It was obvious to me that there was a problem with the landing gear (specifically "getting the gear to come up"), as the pilot turned north to begin his circle around downtown Atlanta. I assumed that he would be making a full circle to return the airport, but when he made his turn to the west on the north side of town, he just kept heading west even with the problems that a dragging gear creates (lift, drag, climb, speed, engine demand, excess fuel consumption and altitude limitations).
Based upon my 'timing' it seems we got somewhere between 60 and 80 miles away from lift-off before the Captain came on the speaker announcing that there was a problem and that we would be returning to Atlanta. His emphasis, in a calm and confident voice, was that 'this wasn't an emergency', but that it was something that required immediate maintenance. About 25 minutes later we were touching down at the airport in Atlanta.
Obviously a 'gear that won't go up' isn't nearly as big a problem as a 'gear that won't go down', especially when it comes time to land the aircraft, but my question and concern was why the pilot didn't immediately return to the airport when he recognized the problem rather than flying miles out of the way only to then finally turn around? In his pre-landing announcement the Captain gave us the answer, the decision to return had been made by 'the company's flight office', and it apparently took 'the company' that long to decide. This means that the decision was not made by 'the flight crew', and quite frankly that 'ticks me off'; in this case the 'Captain' wasn't a captain at all, he was a robot responding to a bunch of pencil pushers in an office somewhere at the other end of the radio.
By the way, I finally arrived in Kansas City 3-1/2 hours late, as a result of little choice but to climb on another flight I was funneled into by 'the company'; again pencil pushers making the most economical choices to deal with 100+ passengers needing to reach their final destinations.
I won't go down the road of 'right or wrong' here, I think everyone can guess where I stand by the shear tone of this blog. But the next time you 'have to fly' just remember it seems that the 'pencil pushers' are in charge of your safety, not your flight crew, and that should give you a lot of comfort......as it does me........NOT !