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I am now spoiled to commercial air travel forever

Yesterday I traveled with five coworkers from Cedar Rapids, IA to Wichita, KS, to participate in our quarterly update meeting with the FAA.

Normally, commercial travel to Wichita from CR means taking a flight connecting through either Chicago O’Hare or Dallas-Fort Worth. For a Wednesday morning meeting you’d need to leave CR early afternoon on Tuesday, spend hours in airports, 3 – 4 hours actually flying, spend the night overnight in Wichita, then reverse the procedure on Wednesday afternoon to fly home, possibly making it home in early evening… assuming the weather is decent and all the flight connections happen.

To counter this massive hassle and resulting lack of productivity for several engineers, enter this fine little piece of hardware: the company Hawker 800 XP.

Hawker 800 XP

It’s fitted out nicely on the inside, too, similar to this:

Hawker interior

Being able to fly on our company jet made our itinerary for the trip to Wichita run something like this:

  • 0715: Arrive at company facility at CR airport
  • 0716: Announce myself and get name checked off on the manifest
  • 0725: Walk out onto the tarmac and board the plane
  • 0730: One of the pilots points out the emergency exits to me, the first-timer
  • 0735: We take off. Once we climb out, we cruise at 36,000 feet and nearly 600 MPH
  • 0840: Land in Wichita. Climb off the plane and walk across the street to the FAA office.
  • 0900 – 1230: Meet with the FAA
  • 1230: Walk back across the street to the airport
  • 1245: Board the aircraft and take off again
  • 1300: Eat a box lunch after we’re back up at 36,000 feet
  • 1405: Land back in CR
  • 1415: Get off the plane after being towed into the hangar
  • 1435: Arrive back home

It’s still stunning to me – we went down to Wichita, had a half-day meeting, came home, and didn’t even use the full workday.

I am now spoiled to commercial air travel forever.

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