So I am sitting by myself by a beautiful swimming pool at happy hour. I am kinda feeling sorry for myself, waaaaa, something I rarely do and for very short periods of time—like I have anything to feel sorry for— i needed to take a different view of things–when a chap comes by with a Canadian shirt on. “What part of Canada?” I query, to which he answers and returns the question. From there I learned he is a pilot and has flown into Paine field and even Friday Harbor. We exchange bits about airplanes and I learn Capt. Gaspar’ is a training captain for Eurocopter, a French high end helicopter and is here training medivac pilots. Not one to be shy I pose the question if I might get a ride, sure! You will be a guest of the Malaysian government.
I eagerly await the call the next day and hear Capt. Gaspar’s cheery voice. We make arrangements and I take a cab to the nearby airport. Once there I watch the preflight briefing of the student and check list read off. I know enough about flying to know this guy knows allot more than me!
I get in the back seat, buckle up and put on the Dave Clark headset, been a long time since I had one on and listened to a control tour, sounds great. We lift off and head east towards the mountains. The pilot does some navigation and maneuvers and we head to a nearby dirt airfield where the real test will take place.
Enroute we fly over Tigar Island, the place we anchored and did those great mud baths. Putting things into perspective, it took us all day to get from Tigar to KK on Furthur—about ten minutes by air.
Safety regulations did not allow me to be on the plane during their emergency engine out drills so they dropped me off on the ground, where I was given a nice chair and an umbrella for the sun. While sitting in this rather silly pose, a water buffalo passed by just outside the fence. Tis a strange life I lead for sure.
I watched as they simulated engine out at take off and a few other drills then board the plane. Capt. Gasper took the controls and we did some passes of the three islands we had anchored and dove near. I could actually see divers in the water below! On the way back we flew over the Sutera Harbor Marina where Furthur is moored.
Back on the ground I watched as now Capt. Albano was congratulated and began his career as an AS 355NP type rated pilot. Thank you Capt. Gaspar’ for a remarkable day and a different view.