Monday, August 5, 2013

A Short Flight

I've always been a fan of risk-takers, people who put their money on the line in the hopes of making a product or offering a service that will pay back their investment with great profits.

So I've tried, as often as possible, to support those businesses when I can.

A new air shuttle service exists between Los Alamos, NM, and Albuquerque's Sunport. The airline has small planes that seat about 9 or 10 passengers, and each plane has two experienced pilots.

Patty and I, on the trip back from Mexico, ended up stranded in Dallas thanks to summer thunderstorms. We had to spend the night and arrived the next afternoon in Albuquerque. We decided to take the little shuttle rather than spend three or four more hours waiting around for buses, trains, or friends to come pick us up.

The cost was just under $50 each for the one-way trip, and boy what a trip it was!

First, there was  no security, we just went to the desk and checked in. The luggage was weighed, and we were asked to give our weight too. (How embarrassing!). Then the pilots figured out where each of us should sit inside the plane to keep the weight balanced. I noticed the heaviest people were put in the back. I sat in a single seat and the woman seated across from me weighed about as much as I did.

The plane was a single engine and small. Seat belts were tight across the lap and had hard tight shoulder straps. After the bumpy liftoff into cloudy skies that threatened rain, I was thrilled they were tight.

We bounced and rose up through turbulence until, at around 11,000 feet, the plane leveled off and quit jerking up and down. From up there, we could see the colorful New Mexico landscape as I'd never seen it before.

For 30 years I've driven over what I was seeing below, and at no time did I ever guess that the hills along the freeway shielded the view of deep red exposed sandstone. There were ridges, hills, open swaths of denuded land flanked by piñon trees that looked like round green balls, mining operations, and caliche cliffs. It was gorgeous!

I wished I had my Cannon 40D with the lens that adjusts for movement, because the pics I snapped were blurry no matter how hard I tried to hold everything still. The plane simple vibrated too much.

Initially I was terrified but after a safe landing with such calm and professional pilots, I will travel to Albuquerque's airport this way from now on. A two hour drive reduced to twenty minutes just can't be beat for that price.