Sunday, October 17, 2010

SFO to MUC and what really matters

Flew today/yesterday from San Francisco to Munich. The first of my five leg combination business and personal trip to Europe.
  • Leg 1: San Francisco to Munich and spend a week in Munich for work.
  • Leg 2: Munich to London to meet one US friend and spend time with some UK friends for a couple days
  • Leg 3: London to Athens to meet up with more US friends, run the Athens Marathon, then see the sites for a couple days
  • Leg 4: Athens to London - alone, stay the night at an airport hotel
  • Leg 5: London to SFO return home (sort of, won't actually be home until 4 nights later because we have another racing weekend)
So, what does really matter? aside from my habit of making what should be a short story long... I'm tired. Deal.

For some strange reason I do not sleep on commercial flights with the exception of my fantastic ability to doze off in the last 10 minutes of the flight if I don't have a window seat. 10 minutes of sleep doesn't make a 11 hour flight very restful. I wanted to read on the flight to make things less boring so I downloaded a couple books... the Pilot/Controllers Glossary, Highest Duty, Better and a couple other free games (I didn't know Kindle could play games). I keep trying to find good books about flying or about people that fly.. on that note avoid "True Pilot Stories" the stories would be OK if the writing was better... its not. I digress.

So, I watched a movie (Robin Hood - the Russell Crowe remake, it was OK) and after the movie was over, I tried to sleep. Failing sleep I started reading Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters by Captain "Sully" Sullenberger. He was the PIC on the flight successfully ditched in the Hudson in Jan 2009. Very enjoyable book... I was able to finish it very quickly on the flight. Seems appropriate to read that book while on a long flight :)

To be honest, from the title I was somewhat expecting to see a very self righteous book. Instead, I found a person I could really relate to in many ways. I'm not a pilot yet and most likely will never be an airline pilot, but I could relate to some of his life and his dedication and joy in flying, to understanding the things that went wrong in accident flights, his drive to make a difference somehow. Those things remind me of me. His description of flying at 35000 feet and the way the world looks from up there, the northern lights, etc.... yeah, that makes me wonder if there's a way for me to get all the way up there, in a cockpit! My CFI tells me, the view out of little window is VERY different from the view out the front of the plane. I'd like to see that view some day. But I'm 40.. its most likely too late for me.

There were several really neat quotes from the book the one that made me laugh out loud wasn't even about flying. He was caught feeding small pebbles to his little sister by his mom when he was 5 and his sister was 3...

Maybe I did know better, but at that age, feeding gravel to your kid sister doesn't necessarily seem like a bad way to pass the time.

Some other ones from the book, not all are from Sully himself.

Either you manage the situation, or the situation will manage you. - Captain Haynes

This one is his.. We need to try to do the right thing every time, to perform at our best, because we never know which moment in our lives we'll be judged on.

Integrity means doing the right thing, even when it's not convenient.

This is my favorite.. I hope to have a job like this some day, yeah.. all of us deserve a job like that. What's the best job in the world? It's the job you would do even if you didn't have to.

Well...not much to report about the flight itself. It was a Lufthansa flight on a newer Airbus A340-600, one of the more unique features was a large number of lavatories in a downstairs area of economy class. That was sorta nice. The service was good

The flight was very smooth with some small bumps here and there but we didn't have to put on our seat belts. At times the plane would seem to sway side to side (left to right) like someone was playing round with the rudder or maybe a strong crosswind kicked up. Nothing else that exiting flight wise. I am way too tired... going to try to sleep.

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