A quick trip back home and then back to Clark again to continue the journey. This time to Ireland, England and Qatar for Good Will tours. It was this leg that brought me around the world.
San Francisco, Clark, Philippines; Bangkok, Thailand; Dubai, UAE, Dublin Ireland; Stansted, England; Doha, Qatar; Dallas, San Francisco.
On February 26, 2017, we left Clark for Dubai. It took several attempts to get off the ground. My airplane didn’t want to fly. We could not get our APU to work, so ground operations required a ground power cart and air start cart. We flew to Bangkok for a fuel stop and then overnight in Dubai. In Bangkok we were parked for refueling and a white 767 taxied in front of us on the taxiway, they stopped right in front of us. Apparently we were a little late in our schedule and they were supposed to park in our spot. Then we noticed some weird painting on the side of the plane. Turns out it was a charter plane for the band Guns and Roses. More to this story after we get to Stansted. We continued on to Dubai for the night and took off for Dublin the next day.
When we landed in Dublin, Ireland, it was cold and raining and almost snowing! I had to go buy a warm coat. The Irish office was so nice and did a great job with the tours. We visited the town, drank Guinness and Jameson Whiskey! We parked behind the FedEx plane and the FedEx manager was our escort the whole time we were there. It was great fun.
Click here to read the Dublin media report. ORBIS – FEH – Dublin Coverage Report
Trying to keep warm in Dublin, photo with the Airport fire department and with the FedEx ground crew and flight crew.
After a week, we were off to Stansted. The UK office welcomed us with open arms. We parked at the Diamond Hangar, a private hangar for VIPs. We parked outside and were allowed to walk through the hangar, but we couldn’t take photos or linger buy the fancy private jets. Well, one of those fancy jets was the one chartered by Guns and Roses. Kelly was our escort in the hangar, and it was her job to put on the decals for the clients. The jet could be changed to look like anything the clients wanted. Members of the Guns and Roses band saw our plane, and wanted to know who we were… besides being the plane that took their parking spot in Bangkok!
While in Stansted we had great support from the FedEx maintenance team. Paul Morris and his team, checked on us every day and worked on getting our APU running. One day we had a FedEx Family day and a MD-11 was nose to nose with the MD10.
We had successful tours ending with a tour by Her Royal Highness, the Countess of Wessex, Sofie.
She has chosen Orbis to be her ‘charity’. She had been on the DC10 many times, and wanted to visit the MD10. So even though it was packed for flight, she came out on our preflight day and met us and the pilots. She loved the plane and said she would be going to our program in Bangladesh, later in the year.
Here’s another link to media in the UK.
March 21, 2017, we took off for Doha, Qatar. We were going to Doha for more Good Will Tours and it is because of the Countess that we were invited. Doha was beautiful. We stayed at a hotel within walking distance to the airport. We were at the ‘old’ airport, which is now an airport for VIPs and private planes. I was going to say jets, but there was a flight school across the field and several single/multi engine planes and helicopters were busy in the pattern every day.
In addition to the tours the airplane was used for a Preferred Practice workshop. They did some simulated surgeries on fake eyes. They said the eyes were so realistic that this will soon be the preferred way to teach surgery. The workshops were also broadcast through Cybersight and reached doctors all around the world. Our VF’s communicate to their trainees Cybersight. It is being used more and more as technology advances. It was very cool to watch.
So, we parked the plane again and I headed home for a few weeks. Doha to Dallas to San Francisco, making this my third time to fly around the world in one direction.