Well what can I say, I took the challenge on (albeit a bit late and solo).
I (think of me a better looking and much taller version of Tom Cruise, in American Made) got the call late from an informant that they were desperate for a pilot and any plane to get this urgent delivery done for the boss. My CO had been on my case for a while to try and infiltrate this ring so I was thrown to the wolves. (I won’t divulge the full story of my infiltration so as to protect the innocent, let just say is had to do with a bar, tequila and this thing I can do with my tongue).
Anyway, where to start, first off, these guys don’t take much notice or care about weight or weight distribution and the TBM I was in was in for some rough treatment (we kept the seats!)
They just piled bags in all over the place, even the passenger seat. Needless to say a full load, short runway and ~15,000 ft elevation left me wondering if I caught some branches or maybe a low flying rabbit in the undercarriage. It was touch and go I can tell ya!
But that wasn’t the half of it, soon after getting some air between me and the ground it was apparent they’d not balanced the load and the TBM for pulling heavily to the left, I ended up having to switch the fuel tank source pronto and hope that eventually it would balance out. (Sooner rather later as it turned out, I was burning fuel like the space shuttle)
The first half of the flight was comparatively uneventful by later standards, kept it under 17,500 ft and grazed a few high ridges, not much to see, all reasonably barren and sparse, although the lake that wasn’t there should have a good clue something was hinky.
But the real alarm bells sounded when I started seeing the green peaks. I could see them out the window and and on the radar!. At this point I realised some of the drugs might have been LSD or similar and leaking fumes in the plane. I also started getting hungry…
It was at this point I wasn’t sure if it was coke or ice building up on the wings or was just in my head?
I was now pretty paranoid so as we approach the coast I kept her nice and low.
I then decided it was time to use the ravines on the final run to coast.
What a relief to then make it to the beach safely and see no fuzz waiting for me, or were they hiding and waiting for me???
After a bit of a bumpy grounding, I was safe and my new buds quickly unloaded the cargo and we headed for the local bar for a well earned drink or 10.
It turn out some the bags they dumped next to me in the passenger seat had some peyote residue on them and must have accounted for the phantom lake and green pillars, not so sure about the ice, that I’d “seen” on the flight.
Anyway I was buzzing for a good 24 hours thereafter and apparently was quite the centre of amusement with my new pals as we drank in the local bar to toast a successful first delivery.