Saturday, July 16, 2011

Angel and Polo Rescue

I can not say enough times how dedicated the folks at MAESSR are to taking care of these furry kids.  I wish everyone could see how folks line up for the ground transports and pilots for the "Springer air" missions. Just watching the emails roll along and the coordination involved to make this all happen is amazing.  There are good people in this world and getting the chance to help out with this group reinforces those beliefs every time we take on a furry passenger.
The emails went out and I could not just move this one to the MAESSR folder.  The wx forecast was looking good and Mary and I had a choice of getting some cleaning and yard work done or flying a rescue...after reading the email it had to be the rescue.

Who wants puppy kisses from a handsome black and white fella named Polo?

Polo is an energetic, bouncy 5 month old intact boy! Polo has not been to the vet yet as he is still a puppy. He also has had no experience with being in the car, what an adventure this boy is going on! So, it would probably be best to either crate or at the minimum, harness this boy for safety - he may get a bit excited!

Mary and I were hooked, we wanted to transport this fella. I worked through some emails Thursday and the transport took shape. Another Springer passenger, Angel, was a potential rider if the ground transport could work. Vern agreed to pick up Angel in Chesapeake, VA (Hampton Road Executive Airport) and take him to Goochland, VA for Debbie. Once at Hampton Roads Executive (KPVG) we would pick up Polo and take him north with us back to Wilmington.

We were off for the airport with a single stop planned for a Dunkin Donuts breakfast. Traffic wasn't to bad and despite the ramp to I-95 being closed due to an accident, we still made good time.  Meg pulled in with Angel shortly after Mary parked the SUV and we all walked back to the plane. It was so nice to meet Meg and to think we all grew up in the same area. We loaded up Angel and he settled in finding a comfy place where the air vent was blowing on him.

Meg and Angel

I'm comfy back here, just fly the plane
I picked up my clearance with Wilmington ground and was soon heading for runway two seven.  Run up completed and advised ready for release we were number two to depart. The tower amended my clearance with a specific turn and climb, hey it works for me.  Handed of to Philly and they clear me to 6000 direct Salisbury (SBY), again every little bit helps when given short cuts. We did get to see a C5 pass by us going north and I managed to get a picture!
Pick your passage
We made our way following the Delmarva peninsula just out over the Chesapeake Bay.  I had one large wall of build ups in front of me and asked to deviate around them. I ended up splitting the twin towers of clouds and peaking through over the Bay. Shortly after that build up we could see across the Bay to the next one, hanging over Norfolk.  As I approached Cape Charles we were turned direct Hampton Roads, this was a GREAT change. This course change and descent to three thousand brought me directly over the fleet and I got to snap a few pictures, just an awesome sight.
Layer over Norfolk
The Fleet!
I had the wx noted and field in sight so I canceled with approach.  I made my calls on unicom and like a dip stick did not double check the pattern for runway one zero, it was right. Immediately following my position/intention call unicom noted that traffic was right pattern.  I updated my call with a fly over the field and circle back for a short 45* for the RIGHT down wind for ten.
Vern and Angel

I taxied to the new Terminal, very nice. Mary and I  helped our Angel boy out of the plane and over to a shady area.  We met Vern and he headed out to his SUV. We exchanged some info but he seemed anxious to get on the road, he had two more hours of driving just to drop Angel off to his new FURever home.
We said our goodbyes and headed back to the ramp, making the exchange for Polo. This little fella almost caused mission fail, no joke, we were really thinking about just taking him home. Polo was a bit scared with all the new sounds and surroundings. Mary escorted our little passenger into the terminal where everyone fussed over him, I saw that tail start to wag.
Asleep as we cross over the bay Bridge tunnel

Polo loaded up once the fuel was complete and we were ready to go. It took me a while to get through to the Clearance Delivery number at the FAA because my blue tooth wasn't working. I finally got it squared away and made the call. I had already entered our flight plan matching what was sent to my iPhone. Things changed quickly. I was give a departure procedure then turns and altitude changes prior to departure.  Ok, no problem, I looked up what I needed on the iPad made some notes then launched just making the void time by two minutes. Approach was really good and they even asked what type of dogs we were flying.
Polo was curled up in Mary's lap for the first half hour then decided to be a big boy and venture to the rear area.  I always remove the seats and provide a shipping blanket for our passengers to curl up on.  Well this little fella found a small area behind the seats but in front of the wing spar and wiggled in.  Cute, one problem, he was now doing the wiggle butt under my seat. I could feel his head under my seat as he crawled in to get comfy. Polo had his nose sticking out the front of my seat and his tail sticking out the back, he was settled and happy, who am I to make him move.

Yep, in my path

Ducking under at 3000
Is this how I get out?????
The north leg required some changes to avoid some large build ups that stretched up the peninsula. I gave up looking for a spot to get back on course for Salisbury and requested lower, knowing it could be a rough ride.  It was, bumpity bump the whole way .  Dover never looked so good then the same thoughts for the C&D canal followed by Wilmington over the nose, we were almost home. Philly handed me off to the Wilmington tower and I was cleared to land on runway two seven.  Good landing and quick taxi to the tie down.
My house, I feel safe

Wade and Jill, Foster Family

Mary walked out to meet Polo's new foster family and bring them on the ramp.  I was still trying to figure out how to get the little guy out from under my seat. Polo finally crawled out from under the front of the seat when Mary did the little kid happy voice.

Another great mission in the book, we are happy to do our part. Time for some cold water and a nap!


A quick note from foster parents Jill and Wade. Polo George wanted to pass along a thanks.....
You're welcome George!!  Aunt Mary and Uncle Gary hope you settle in and enjoy your new home and parents, you've got it made! Play nice with your big sister Gracie too!!


Charlie said...


Great work. I was tracking you on Flightaware today, you and Mary are too modest, tell us the real story; Shanghai Pudong Int'l, 7426 sm in just 1:45min, what kind of upgrades have you done to that Beechcraft, other than the repairing the auto pilot and painting your wheels. Did you use a special wax on spa day, cause I want to get some of that!!

Great work for a great cause!


Gary said...


Thanks! It was a fun mission for a great cause and both dogs were very nice.

I really had a good laugh when I saw that map come up on flightaware. I wish I did have some special secret wax, I'd bottle it and put it on the market :)

D.B. said...

Just missed seeing you fly over. We were in Virgina Beach and Norfolk the week just before your flight, but by the weekend we were in Northwestern PA to pick up our own Springer ("Douglas"), who wants to say "thank you" to you for helping he relatives.

Gary said...


Sorry we crossed...would have been nice to catch up!

FYI I may have a line on that window me through my link on the bottom right side of the blog.