It’s been over a week since JetBlue A320 First Officer Adrian Eichhorn took off on a journey around the world on #N1733G AKA Gina, a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza. After a successful first leg over the icy North Atlantic, Adrian’s sprits are flying high, especially after spending a couple of days in Normandy:
“Flew formation over the beaches of Normandy with two guys who came over from the UK,” Adrian writes to us. “Absolutely one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Yesterday, we spent the day at the American Cemetery in Normandy. It made me tear up more than once. Close to 11,000 buried there.”
Adrian’s taking a break from headwinds and tailwinds to attend and present at the Aero Expo in Friedrichshafen, Germany this week. On Sunday, his trip resumes as he flies on to Rome. Keep following us on the blog as we follow Adrian to the edge of the world and back.
When did you fall in love with aviation?
It’s the oldest memory that I have: I was in Germany; my dad commanded an airfield and took me out. He couldn’t take me flying in a military airplane but he sat me in a deHavilland Beaver and started the engine. I remember that like it was yesterday.
What do you love most about being a pilot?
It challenges me mentally. Every flight challenges the pilot. The job is never boring.
Have you ever had a perfect landing?
Yeah, in San Juan. I was flying with Captain Jon Solfisburg, and we rolled it in.
When’s your favorite time to fly?
I love night flying. The weather is generally better and thunderstorms are easier to see. You don’t have the convective currents of the daytime and it’s just peaceful.
Why the Beechcraft Bonanza?
I bought this airplane back in 1989
and something my father told me
from when I was a kid stuck: ‘Don’t be a jack of all trades.’ He said: ‘Pick one thing, get good at it,
or don’t do it at all.’
So, I picked that particular airplane because I owned it. I started rebuilding the airplane the day I got it and have specialized in it for 15 years.
What challenges do you anticipate on your trip?
The type of fuel that I use is not readily available at all the places I’m going to. I plan to stop in Christmas Island and they don’t have gas, so you have to worry about getting it shipped there. Also, it is Fall in Australia right now, but I have to prepare for the extreme winter in Iceland and Greenland. And then I have to be prepared for the extreme heat of flying through Saudi Arabia to Dubai where it’s 100-115 degrees. One of the other challenges I have is
I won’t have 19 hours of daylight
when I fly from Honolulu to the mainland, so the last 4
or 5 hours
going into California will be at night.
What are you packing?
Survival equipment, which includes a couple of rafts, emergency locator beacons, dry suit and just a number of basic survival pieces of equipment. Plus, just clothes, food and water. I’ve got to stay hydrated and I need to stay nourished. I’ll have a bag of food. I don’t want to get food poisoning and I’m pretty conservative about where and what I’m eating, because the worst thing that can happen is getting food poisoning.
What are you most excited about
? I’m excited about
meeting other pilots
in different countries and flying over the shores of Normandy
and over Greenland—hopefully the weather will be good
because the scenery
being up on top the glacier. Going down to Egypt I think one of the highlights is riding the camel and seeing the pyramids
How will you manage boredom on your longer flights?
The longest leg will be from Pago Pago to Hawaii—it’s a little more than 3,000 miles,
so that could be as long as 19
to 20 hours, based on the weather.
Just mentally, I don’t think there’s any way to prepare for that. But I’m not going to be bored—there’s engine management,
watching the winds,
talking with my ground crew
to get current weather…
I’m on my own out there and
there’s nobody there to help me, so
and keeps me occupied.
I’ve also got my iPad… I’ll have a movie on, ’cause you don’t have to worry about
traffic out there.
Oh, I definitely will be listening to music.
I’ve got Phil Collins
. There’s some country… there’s probably everything but rap.
What’s your theme song for this trip?
Probably the theme song from Top Gun. I love that movie!