Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Goodbye, Old Friend
When I decided to go back to work after having Zoey, I wanted something that had very flexible hours. I also wanted a less stressful job than working for the legislature, being a finance manager or any number of other intense (but interesting) jobs I have held over the years. Basically, I wanted to go to work, do a good job, be around adults and clock out. I did not want my boss to call me up at 11 pm and have me write a press release. I did not want to go to capital budget meetings that went until 2 am.
So, I went to work for the local airline. I got a job with flexibility and flight benefits...WooHoot! I found an interesting niche there in cargo dealing with planning cargo payload. It is never boring. I help folks get what they need where they need it, hopefully when they need it. Sounds simple, usually is not too complicated. It does require some simple math, but mostly clear, concise communication skills and split second decision making, and ability to talk on the radio and the phone at the same time. These birds have to fly on time.
For nine years I have helped folks in bush Alaska get their milk, food, beer, sled dogs, building materials, diapers, pretty much whatever you can imagine. I have shipped millions of pounds of Copper River red salmon, halibut, live horses, alpacas and goats. And I have done it all on the Boeing 737-200 QC. The QC is for quick change. This aircraft can be configured for 100 people to no people, and anything in between, in less than 15 minutes. Once you move the seats out that you do not need, you load up the igloos of freight. These babies are fast and efficient. They are also forgiving and can land on short runways, gravel and ice. Interesting and useful up here.
This is their last week. We are phasing them out and I am finding myself so sad. I never thought I would become so attached to an aircraft. Sigh.... They are being replaced with fixed configuration 737-400s, but they are not the same. Apparently, I am not the only one sad about their demise. I heard a radio program this morning where a pilot recorded a story about these planes retiring. I cried listening to it. My children think I have gone around the bend, but I feel like I am losing a trusted friend. So, goodbye old pal, I will miss you.
If you would like to listen to the AK Radio program, click podcast look for the 3/24/2007 program titled "The Office."