The alarm goes off at 3:30 and we are up to get ready for the day. This is a normal occurrence for Noel. For me, it is an adventure. I am going to the airport with Noel. We leave at 4:30 am to head to the airport picking up another pilot on the way. There is no traffic this time of day. Noel drops me off at the domestic terminal to wait for the Pactec passenger handler while Noel and his coworker head on to their hanger. An hour later I am at the Pactec hanger along with other passengers buckling into the Kodiak ready to take an hour flight to La’l. The flight to La’l is Noel’s first flight as Captain in the Kodiak and I get to be a part of it. Here are a few pictures of our flight and stop in La’l. La’l is a city in Central Afghanistan west of Kabul.
When we landed on the ground back in Kabul, Noel had a surprise waiting for him. Anytime a pilot finishes a stage of training making him first officer or in this case Captain, the staff like to show their congratulations with lots of water. The pilot is then required to provide Kabobs for lunch sometime in the next week.
Noel luckily had a change of clothes. So after his baptism, he was off to take another group of passengers to Neely. I decided to stay behind and wait since the air was getting bumpy and I wanted to end on a positive note. By the time, he came back from his second flight at one thirty, he was tired and hungry. Between wait time on the runway and the weather, the flight was longer and tougher than expected but for Noel it was all in a day’s work. After finishing his paper work we headed home. It was good to see what Noel does each day and to meet the guys he works with. You will see many of them in the picture above. Teresa