I received a few comments about using my plane to fly to
visit my clients and help sell their businesses. It does sound pretty nifty, but in the
interest of full disclosure, it doesn’t always work out.
Unless the weather is obviously going to be OK, I always
have to make a visit conditional on weather.
Although I’m instrument rated, I don’t fly in “heavy weather” which
means low ceilings, rain, show and wind. Usually people are OK with that.
One visit in particular didn’t work out so well. The company rented specialized emergency
response equipment for large incidents such as major wildfires, earthquakes and
hurricanes. It was located in the
mountains in Northen
between the coast and the northern central valley. Hayfork was the closest airport, so I
arranged to meet the business owner there at 9:00 in the morning.
The weather at takeoff was “severe clear” with not a cloud
in sight. Hayfork is very small and
doesn’t report weather, but I couldn’t imagine there would be an issue. I flew over the central valley of
I could see one single patch of fog in a valley. I thought, “Oh great, with my luck that will
be the Hayfork airport under there”.
But then I realized that bad luck wasn’t needed – that was definitely
the airport since it was the largest valley in the mountains. The airport wouldn’t be located anywhere
Cell phones are illegal to use even in small planes, but I pulled
mine out and tried anyway. No luck. So at 10 minutes to 9:00, knowing that my
prospective client is waiting for me under the low clouds, I circled the
airport a few times. I was hoping he
would hear me and realize I couldn’t land.
Because of the nearby mountains there is no instrument approach into
this airport. I thought, “Well, I blew
this meeting”. I then flew down to the
central valley and landed in Red Bluff, just south of
I immediately called the local rental car company to make sure they had
a car, otherwise I would need to take off again. They had a deliver van.
I then called the client and explained what had
happened. He was sitting in his truck at
the Hayfork airport, didn’t hear my airplane circling and didn’t realize the
clouds meant I couldn’t land. I had to
explain that I was still an hour’s drive away.
Luckily that was OK with him – or at least he didn’t admit it if he was angry. We
did meet, and I did end up selling their company. A software engineer from the
corporate life, bought it.