Preparation for this trip is getting to the [frenzy stage" as we are now "t-one month" until lift off and there seems to be an inordinate amount of work left to do. It's probably my anal, type triple "A" personality working against me here but I can't shake the feeling that I've forgotten something important. We've been working through issues on the right survival equipment to bring along, making sure our handheld radio can be used from the cockpit as well as our HF (High Frequency Radio).
The databases for all our navigational instruments need to have correct data for the duration of the trip and we need to need to have up-to-the-minute accurate approach plates for each airport we'll be landing at. We've also been running through the remote scenarios (very remote we hope!) of having to ditch the airplane in the North Atlantic (not a pretty thought at all!) and who will do what to get the emergency gear and life raft out of the airplane.
We're going through all sorts of agony about which video recorder to bring along (HD stuff is great but editing software is a little behind), how much data we need to backup on a daily basis (4 seconds of HD video is 300MB in size, 1 RAW still photo is 16MB, multiple that out by 3 months of taking photos...). Whoever thinks this trip is simply eating Bon-Bons and having a good time wherever we land is in need of serious counseling. This trip, for almost three months, is consuming 250% of our thought process to make sure it all goes OK.
Our airplane is also getting attention for the flight. We have re-configured the rear cargo area to accommodate the clothing we'll need for climates ranging from sub-freezing in Greenland and Northern Russia to the steamy tropics of India and Thailand. We also are working on finalizing the spare parts we may need in case something breaks on the airplane during the trip.
Imagine the nightmare as we have a mechanical failure that necessitates a week of delay for us somewhere. What do the other airplanes do? Do they hang in with us or go on ahead hoping we'll be able to catch up? Do we try to catch up with them? Yeah... all sorts of bad thoughts here...
All we can do is prepare ourselves as best we can
All we can do is prepare ourselves as best we can and prepare our aircraft with the belief that as long as we leave Florida with everything working, we will continue to have everything working until we return (yep, that's another plug for a turbine airplane). As such, I will be taking the airplane to Epps Aviation in Atlanta to have them go over the airplane with a fine-tooth comb to help us ensure we have done all we can to have a mechanical-issue-free trip.
Lots of things to think about...!
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