Thursday, February 3, 2011

Trip Number Three: St. John's, Newfoundland

Itinerary: Toronto (YYZ) - Calgary (YYC) - Fuel Stop: Thunder Bay (YQT)  - St. John's (YYT) - Toronto (YYZ)

     I got the call for this trip about 45 minutes before I needed to be at the hangar.  I was feeling a little more confident after my first commercial flight.  What I wasn't prepared for, however, was a trip in the Learjet.  In fact, I was out-of-my-mind terrified.
      Let me tell you a little about our planes.  They've very, very small.  So small, you can't stand up in them.  There is no washroom.  There is no in-flight movie to distract you from the unnatural act of flying in a metal tube. The cabin is just wide enough for one seat, a gap and a stretcher.  So, for someone who has just started to get over panic attacks in regular commercial planes, it is a waking nightmare.
      To add to my misery, I was paired with another brand new employee who had also never flown in the jet before.  We didn't really know how to set up the interior so we would have the necessary equipment close at hand.  We didn't really know much of anything.  This pissed the pilot off (understandably), which made for a moderately awkward day in the confines of the tiny plane.
      Fortunately, the patient was reasonably stable and didn't require much in the way of intervention en route.  If she had been unstable, I'm pretty sure I would have opted to take my chances jumping out of the plane and inflating the life raft, Indiana Jones-style.
      Once we had a decent night's sleep in St. John's and a good conversation with both pilots over brunch, however, I had calmed down a lot and even managed to see the badassness inherent in doing medevac work.  Landing our tiny plane at major international airports, being met by ambulances right on the flight line, hanging out in the ultra-fancy lounges made for people with their own private jets at fuel stops, it's actually kind of cool.

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