Free Flight

TMAAT March 18, 2014

Gee! When I sent an email invitation saying ‘Free Flight to Kalgoorlie’ I didn’t expect everyone to show up! Not to worry. We’ll figure it out and I promise you – you’re going to have the trip of a lifetime!!

Wait a second Josie. What’s this?? You can’t bring 4 suitcases with you, love! Let me get a few things clear.

“Everybody – this is Will. Will and I will be sitting up the front in the comfortable, leather seats. We’ll be flying this plane. This 4-seater plane, Josie. It’s not a jumbo!

The only way you’re all going to squeeze into the back is to leave your bags behind and breathe in as you climb on board.

Josie! I told you – you can’t bring 4 bags. We’re going to Kalgoorlie. Not Paris! 4kg each. Maximum!Yes, Marta, you can bring your toothbrush. Everyone, meet Marta. Marta’s a dentist …

OK. Jeremy, stop arguing with your pretty wife. She’s got a good point. You’ve got 5 little kids and the flight we’re about to take does not have a guarantee of a safe return. So, sorry mate – we’re leaving you behind.

“ Alright folks – with all of your excess weight we can only carry enough fuel to get us Griffith for our first fuel stop. (“Will, are you sure you can get us to Griffith … ??”)

(“I think so, Richard. But getting over the Blue Mountains at 8,500 feet is going to be the tricky part if all that weight is going in the back!”)

Sorry Jason. You’re too big, mate. You’re staying home.

OK everyone. It’s time to get rolling. Kalgoorlie – here we come!

Sean Stop breathing. We need the room.

Will! Good work. We just scraped over the ranges.

Kate Of course, it’s hot. It’s the middle of summer. What? No, you can’t go to the bathroom. We can’t stop! Don’t worry, we’ll be landing in a few hours.

(Will, the passengers are getting testy)

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Our first stop for the tour is Broken Hill where we will be spending a night at the Silver Spade Motel.

If you need anything from us, you’ll find us in the penthouse suite. You’ll find your room in the back. You’ll be staying together but I’m sure you’re used to confined quarters by now.

Wheels up at 6am folks. Don’t be late. We’re getting away while the air’s cool. It’ll be easier to get all your weight off the ground when the air’s denser.

Thank you for flying with us. We trust you’ve had an awkward, frightening and bumpy journey. Goodnight …

Welcome aboard again ladies, gentlemen. On this leg, we’ll be flying from Broken Hill to lovely Ceduna or, if fuel permits, we may even make it to the Nullabor Motel.

Hang on! What on earth is that terrible smell?? I told you all to avoid the beans at dinner time!

Right, if anyone’s going to be sick, you must use the sick bags!

Hey, Gillian ! No! Close the door. No, Nigel! Someone grab him. Get a hold of him. NIgel … hang … on … to … the …wing.

We’ll … be … landing … in … 4 … hours … !!

Chris was a good man. He was loved by all. It’s comforting to know that he plummeted to an agonizing death doing something that I love – flying.

Tonight we’ll be staying at the Nullarbor Hotel in the middle of the desert. It’ll be packed full of truckies and travellers making a stop on the long trip to Perth.

Thankfully, we’ve only lost one man so far. It’s been a good trip.

This hotel has its own landing strip and we’ve parked the plane near our bedrooms so we can keep an eye on it.

But before we do any sleeping, it’s time to make the most of our time at one of Australia’s best kept cuisine secrets. The restaurant here has an expansive gourmet selection – a hamburger with the lot or a hamburger with pineapple, cooked exactly as the chef pleases.

And finally, it’s our last day and our last leg to Kal.

That flight over the desert is terribly daunting. Not to mention boring. It’s a task that lasts for hours as we occasionally glance at the GPS for navigation. Our only other point of reference that keeps us on track is the Indian Pacific Railway line all the way there – the only significant landmark for miles and miles around.

After a while, staring at nothing in particular, a pilot gets hypnotised and completely loses perspective on things. He doesn’t know if he’s climbing or descending, turning or flying level. The only way to keep the plane under control is to rely on your instruments to know which way is up and down.

“Richard!”

“What is it now guys??”

“Our heads just hit the ceiling!”

“Will, what’s going on mate!?!”

We’re so close. We’re nearly there and then Will suddenly decides to cut the power to the engine. The passengers freeze with fright. Will runs through all the emergency procedures. He finds a suitable landing spot and proceeds to set it down.

“Will, shouldn’t you have told them it’s a practice emergency landing?”

Poor Harley, she’s fainted. “Is she OK?”

Finally, finally, as we make our approach to land in poor visibility conditions, we can vaguely make out the city of Kalgoorlie. The mining town in the middle of absolutely nowhere! This place is made of gold, built on resources.

“Ladies and Gentlemen. We will soon be landing Kalgoorlie and we would like to thank you for flying with us. We trust you’ve had one heck of an adventure. Please make sure that you will join us on TMAAT Airlines next time you choose to fly.

Good day.

(Will, what do they expect if they’re going to fly economy …)

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