Here is the proposition. A good friend Mark works at a company that uses a Bombardier Global Express Jet (a large transcontinental private jet) to connect their worldwide operations. The jet needed to fly from California to St. Louis to get some work done. Would I like to come along with Mark in the empty jet for an evening flight, sit in the cockpit behind the pilots, observe the flying, have a nice dinner enroute, and then come home the next morning on Southwest Airlines eating pretzels and peanuts? (the ticket for Southwest was about $200)
Here are your choices:
- Why would I want to go to St. Louis?
- Sure, that sounds like fun, and something I would remember for a long time
- Really? Why? (that was my wife)
- Only if it takes me right back too
We had a lot of fun. Well, I think I had more fun than Mark because he actually gets to ride in the thing on a regular basis, but I did find it fascinating to observe the instruments and procedures that are used in professional ultra-modern jet flying.
No doubt it is pretty easy flying, as long as nothing goes wrong. There was some weather in California at the time. For me, even a little weather over the Sierra Nevada mountains causes great angst when trying to decide whether to launch and often leads to canceled flights. For the Global Express, it was hands off flying, climbing at Mach .80 (530 knots) and 3,000 feet per minute, literally slicing through the cloud layers one by one. We were over the Sierras in minutes. Ice? “Oh sometimes we’ll see a little in the corner of the windshield where it isn’t heated”. Destination altitude? 43,000 feet by dialing it in on a small dial. Pull back on the throttle or dial in a cruise speed? Nope, it will automatically level off and auto-throttle to Mach .85 (570 knots). It’s a different life. Hey – its all relative so I’m not complaining. I love my T210 that does actually outperform many other piston planes in getting over mountains. But its nothing like this…