In late May of 1989 Hubby was awarded a temporary assignment over in Berlin, Germany. The start of this assignment saw him, with two other crewmen, ferrying an A-300 Airbus from New York to Berlin. The A-300 is not a long range airplane, so due to fuel restrictions, the plane had to be flown without passengers. After it’s arrival it would be used for summertime charters out of the still closed city of Berlin (meaning that the Wall had not come down, and the easiest way in and out of the city was by air.)
I was given permission to go along on the flight. What a thrill to experience both take off and landing in the cockpit of a commercial aircraft! As I watched Hubby and our friend George performing both take off and landing check lists, and well, doing all that stuff that pilots do, I was overwhelmed with appreciation for what Hubby did every day at work.
How odd it was to fly in an empty plane. Walking through the isles, helping myself in the galley and then ultimately fixing the meals for the crew was actually a lot of fun.
At one point I had started to fall asleep when the flight engineer came out and told me to come into the cockpit for a moment. I did and I saw the most awesome sight. St. Elmo’s Fire (static electricity going everywhere on the outside of the windshield). It is a sight I will likely never see again, but on that May night over the Atlantic there it was.
I sat in the cockpit more than anyplace else once the sun came up. The guys pointed out all the cities of Europe as we passed over them. This was my first trip to Germany and I could hardly wait to land and see the country of my Grandfather’s birth.
During the landing of the plane I sat in the jump seat of the cockpit and watched. Down, down, down we went. I kept feeling like we weren’t going to have enough runway to land on when all of a sudden I felt the wheels touch. I let out a startled exclamation! “Oh!”
They guys laughed because they knew my perspective made me feel we had far more time before we landed. They knew, of course what they were doing! Good thing I wasn’t flying the plane because I would have literally planted it on the runway.
I had arrived in Berlin!
End of part one.