I finally made it out of Anchorage. We flew to Edmonton last night. The departure from Anchorage was hectic with pulling together lots of loose ends at the last minute. Anyway we departed about 4 hours late so I didn't get a photo of the crew and aircraft before departure but I will get one today. You should see the airplane, packed to the gills with barely enough room for the mechanic, we have to fly about 2.5 hours after takeoff to get down to landing weight there is so much junk packed in the cabin. I hope to make either Goose Bay or Gander tonight. The reason I don't know which one is that Goose did not have any rooms the last time dispatch checked.
The airplane seems to be a good one. It is the youngest Lear I've flown a high 500 serial number, certified RNP and RVSM with all the bells and so forth. It even talks to me, on final approach it tells me when I'm 50 feet, 40 feet....I think down to 5 feet but I'm usually too busy to hear it then.. The FMS is impressive and it is an early generation FMS. If you let it you could punch on the autopilot once the wheels were in the well and never touch the airplane other than the thrust levers and a mode change button or two until just before the wheels touch the landing airport. I expect I would be lost all the way if I used it like that :-) . Even stranger for an old Lear pilot the autopilot flys better than I can. This modern world (mid 1980's technology combined with current RVSM air data equipment) is amazing.
On a personal note I packed a big can of peppers and the biggest bottle of Louisiana hot sauce I could find so I figure I can make anything they serve me in Sudan eatable. We hope to be there in about 3 maybe 4 days but the way things go who knows it could take a week or more.
One more thing, I'm saddled with a weak co-pilot. He's trying hard and I think he wants to learn but he's older so it may be a lost cause. I will say this for him by his 4th position report last night (after much coaching) he got it right. We will see if he remembers how to do it today, that will be a good indicator if there is hope. Today's job is to work on his general radio phraseology. The proper form is always "who who where what what" but it is really hard to get co-pilots to reply in the correct order. You should see the blizzard of charts and papers on his side of the cockpit, like I said he's trying hard :-) .