What a day

Trip Start May 02, 2013
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Italy  , Lazio,
Monday, May 13, 2013

I woke up knowing that I had a lot of stuff to do before I could be on my way to Rome. The biggest issue was getting my oil changed at Biggin Hill.  Because I arrived on Saturday they were not able to help me with any services.  London was one of the last stops where I could get all the services I needed done to the airplane. 

I took a taxi to the airport around 8:45 and arrived at 9:30; I was due for a 9:00 oil change and, per usual, I was late.  One of the more difficult things about traveling this much in so many different locations is that it is difficult to keep up with the currency.  The entire weekend I was trying to pay people in US dollars; I did not understand why they didn't want them.  Wasn’t US currency as good as gold?  Luckily for me most cab drivers can take credit cards and that is exactly what I had to do.  I thanked the cab driver and walked into the terminal.  I was then instructed on where I needed to go to get my oil changed.  I called up the tower and taxied over to Falcon Flying Services.  Singh and his crew greeted me, they were all very helpful and I could not say enough good things about them.  They immediately opened the cowling over the engine and went to work.  I told them about a couple nicks in the propeller and about a loose screw.  Singh told me to come back in two hours and everything should be done.

I had the airport security guard pick me up and take me back to the terminal.  On the way back he asked me if I wanted to take a look around the airport.  I said, "Sure that would be great."  I did not have a whole lot else to do.  This security guard (whose name I forget) showed me around everywhere.  Biggin Hill airport used to be an old WW2 airfield.  They still had bunkers, which housed a lot of the spitfire pilots.  The bunkers were still there but used for storage.  I thought it was really cool that they still had something like this around.  He then took me to the “Heritage Hanger,” which housed a lot of the WW2 spitfire airplanes.  They looked a lot like our P-51 mustangs.  Though the airplane looked the same they had completely different purposes.  The P-51 was used for escorting bombers where as the spitfire was strictly a fighter.  I thought the airplanes were fascinating and it was very interesting to learn about them.  We then went to the fire station where I got to take a look inside all the engines.  The guys at the firehouse were very nice and showed me around.  The security guard then took me back to the terminal where I had to wait for a while for my plane to be finished.  I was very thankful that he decided to show me around.  Everyone was so nice and I was sad I had to leave Biggin Hill soon. 

At the terminal, Jerry, who learned about my trip from Sky News, greeted me.  He came out just to say hello.  Jerry and I talked for a while and when it was time to go over to Falcon flying services he gave me a ride in his car.  Jerry was an extremely nice guy and was just interested in my trip. 

When I got to Falcon, I was very pleased with everything that had been done to the plane.  It was amazing to me that they had everything done in just a couple of hours.  I thanked everyone and started to head over to Jets to get some oxygen for my plane.  This was a short taxi ride over and getting the oxygen took no time.  I knew that I would not likely be able to get oxygen at other places around the world.  After I said goodbye to everyone at the terminal I hopped in the airplane and started on my way.

I knew that I was going to be doing a little bit of night flying, but this did not bother me because the conditions were great.  I did not get out of London till around 2 PM.  The weather out of London was a little tricky but I managed to get through it just fine.  Because London has such busy airspace I had to be vectored all over the place.  At one point I had 60-knot headwinds!!!!  I was hardly moving at all! 

My flight was very nice and I made pretty good time.  I started over the west coast of Italy right as it turned dark.  This was a little disturbing because it was very difficult to tell the difference between the dark sea and the sky.  The flight was interesting because I passed through three different accents.  Even though everyone is supposed to speak English, their accents make it very difficult to understand sometimes.  One thing I noticed about French-speaking people is that they speak it even when you are supposed to speak English.  This was the case in Canada and France.  When they would of course address me in English because they knew that I was an American plane. 

Passing through three different countries in the short amount of time was interesting, to say the least.  The three different accents were so different from each other.  I had to say, “say again please” quite a lot.  I landed in Rome around 7:30PM; this was a good thing because I later learned that they closed at 8:00PM

I went through customs and made my way to the taxicab.  Going from the airport to my hotel was really cool.  The taxi driver showed me a bunch of ancient sites that I only learned about in school.  He then said, (in his very broken English) “You know what that is on the right?”  It was the coliseum!  I could not believe how close I was to it.  It was miraculous to see it up close; even from a cab. 

I got to the hotel a bit late and decided that I was going to spend the next day in the city of Rome.  I had a bite to eat and talked to my girlfriend Eden.  It was weird talking to her because we are always on different time zones.  After I talked to Eden I went to bed. 

I was very excited to see Rome the next day!
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Comments

Uncle Mike on

Hey Jack, great to see your progress.
We're looking forward to seeing you here...hope you have some time.
I'm not sure of the best way to communicate with you so I'm trying your blog.
I confirmed with Samson and then talked directly to Joe at Adak Petrolium.
He has your fuel in hand!
You may want to have a can with you for transfering. I'm not sure he has a barrel bump. But, he was sure that he could figure something out Alaska style!
Take care and talk to you soon,
Uncle Mike

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