Wednesday 22 May 2013 15:42 UTC
Where have you been? What have you seen?
<Roly Birkin QC> India! Errrmerr.........small chaps but incredibly strong.....mumble mumble....raaaahhhhhhh!!.......hahahaha...........and when I woke up apparently I'd married two of them ................</Roly Birkin QC>
Let me have a look back through the logbooks. Africa carrying charity working doctors springs to mind or maybe my first time round India (headwobble), or the ferry flights taking clapped-out Citations back across the pond in the winter. Polar bears! Raaaaahhhh!!
Sorry, I mean
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Capitalisation is the difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse and helping your uncle jack off a horse
Would you like some competitive bizjet line-shooting duelling?
I could tell a story and you could see it and raise it?
I'd start with Lord Carrington in Sarajevo and his under his breath description to me of Milosevic, Karadzic, Mladic and the others who he was waving to from the steps as "what a load of f*****g animals."
I oozed "If anyone is going to sort them out, sir, I am sure you will!"
I still hate myself.
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I made my first move. You don't get something for nothing in this game.
I have stories about most of the Thatcher cabinet, including the lady herself, the Maxwell family, including the appalling Rupe and his toilet habits, various rock stars, prostitution, gold smuggling etc and I am in a position to name names, so it may be a bit unfair!
Is there a law of client confidentiality in the bizjet charter game? I don't remember signing one. But I was fired for "looking too Jewish" so I have no qualms.
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It's included in just about every employment contract and there's a good chance that anyone blabbing might find gaining future employment difficult. Of course, I may be able to skirt around the edges
Well if you will go jaywalking across the Red Sea...........
Uh, oh. Here comes the blue pen
Sounds to me like your stories are far more interesting than mine. On the whole any 'names' that I've flown have been well behaved. Well, except one whose behaviour towards those around them is now well documented so I'm not really giving anything away yer honour.
In 2003 I was flying a Citation Bravo which, for those of you who have not seen the inside is a smallish jet configured for seven passengers (eight if you can persuade someone to sit in the dark wardrobe down the back atop the chemical loo. The sales people (hawk, spit) would flog them on the basis that they were capable of carrying eight passengers and 74 cu ft of baggage at 43,000 feet for 1800 miles. What is missing from four places in the last part of that sentence is the word 'or'. The sales people, fine upstanding persons everywunovvem, were quite happy to overlook that and leave the customer believing it was 'and'. Many a time did owners of a G5 arrive from the States to do Europe for the summer using a Bravo by way of a reciprocal arrangement only to find that most of their Loowee Veeetahn luggage was going to spend three months following them around courtesy of DHL.
Anyway. One fine morning found us waiting at London City Airport for a trip to Cannes during the film festival. The principal passenger was to be a tall fashion model who duly arrived with her entourage in a convoy of blacked out Range Rovers followed by a white transit van. Sorry, vaaaaan. I greeted her with a cheery "Good morning" and she ignored me which told me all I needed to know. While her flunkies fussed around her in the VIP lounge and her bodyguards took up defensive positions I suspiciously eyed the vaaaan. The doors opened and sure enough, it was full. "Blinking flip" I thought in deference to the website autoblocker "What are we going to do with all that?". A quick count showed "all that" to be sixteen pieces of full sized luggage while we had a baggage hold capable of holding three, maybe four of them. Sidling up to a flunky I conveyed the good news which caused her to pale visibly. "Can you tell her?" she asked. I approached Ma'am who continued to ignore me until my fizzog somehow found its way between her and the television. With a melodramatic sigh she glanced at me and asked "What?!". I started to explain the problem but got no further than "...three or four cases at most..." before she exploded. The air was blue. She was going to get me fired, have my first born slaughtered not to mention my children's children's children (not sure how there would be subsequent generations if the preceding ones had been killed but I never said she was bright). It went on for ages while I stood impassively calculating how I could abide strictly by the rules in a way which would do her absolutely no favours at all. Why? because I, dear reader, knew what she was up to. She was after a free upgrade to a bigger aircraft more in keeping with her perceived status while I was determined that she wasn't going to get it.
At her insistence I called my boss (fleet manager) so he could fire me. He was also a friend and well aware of her reputation so while she gloated over me mumbling lots of 'Yessirs' and promising to put my uniform in the post after the flight he enjoyed describing her to me in very unflattering terms and telling me what to do with her luggage. For now though I was needed to get her to Cannes and the rest of the beautiful people so satisfied that my career was in tatters she demanded that we board. Four bags were loaded, four passengers climbed in and the rest of the luggage was sent by road in the vaaaan.
There's no room in the Citation for cabin crew so the safety brief was always given by a pilot. Being well aware of what was going on my crafty colleague had jumped in first and was busy making up things to do in the cockpit. I closed the door and turned to the cabin to begin the brief but after only a few words I was interrupted with "Yeah, yeah. We know all that ****ing sh**. Just get us there". I duly ignored her and delivered the briefing in a sickeningly cheery manner, far too happily for a man who had just lost his job, before clambering forward.
The flight itself was uneventful apart from Ma'am discovering to our delight that she was unable to use the toilet which had been rendered inop by her insistence that we strap a large holdall to the seat that covered it. Landing in Cannes we were immediately met by the handler who approached and spoke through the DV window to tell us the paparazzi were lurking in the bushes outside the terminal. I went back into the cabin to suggest that the passengers might like to remain on board while we transferred the bags but was immediately told "***ing shut up and just open the ***ing door". I did as I was told and followed in trail across the apron and through the terminal which gave me the best view of all when the men with the cameras pounced. The reaction was bizarre. Lots of squealing while clip-clopping around on high heels and waving her hands around swatting invisible bees. I may have allowed a slight smile to show as one of the flunkies asked if I'd known they were there. When I said I did she asked why I hadn't said anything. "I tried but was told to ***ing shut up, remember?" which made it her turn to smile.
Great story, very well told. This is going to be fun, I just wish I could remember as much detail as you, and write it up so amusingly.
But let's go to one which actually reflects rather better on the pax.
1993, Michael Howard is Home Secretary and his busy schedule takes him to Athens, then a northern Italian city (I forget which, but let's say Milan) and then to a vital inter-governmental meeting in Lisbon.
There is some Italian ATC work to rule or strike or something which means that we have a two hour slot delay out of Milan. We have been doing everything possible to improve matters, including getting permission from Whitehall to refile as a State Flight, but all to no avail. ATC was probably relishing their little victory over a senior governmental figure and expecting that their industrial action will have more teeth because of his discomfort.
But when he swans up in his fleet of limos, it is, of course, not ATC who catch it in the neck, but, as ever, it's the PBI in the form of Capt Me.
He begs and he pleads and he swears and he cusses and he shouts and he threatens until he is in quite a lather. I would try to calm him down but I can't get a word in edgeways.
But eventually there is a three millisecond pause in the invective, during which I manage to blurt out "Sir, there are two ways we can spend the next two hours. Either you can shout at me for two hours and then I will fly you to Lisbon, or you can get in the back and have a Gin and Tonic while I get in the front and read the paper, and then I will fly you to Lisbon. It's your call."
He looked at me like he was going to explode. Red faced, pop-eyed, shaking. But then he gradually smiled that "Thing of the Night" crooked smile of his and said "You know what, you are absolutely right" and quietly climbed the stairs.
I never had much time for the man, but that quite impressed me!
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