16 Jul 1999 - Nicko - New York

Hi Boys & Girls,

Well it's Friday and I'm sitting in me hotel in New York. It was a day off yesterday and my wife came up to meet me so I didn't have a chance to write to you all, so here goes. Oh yeah, we went to see 'Blue Man Group' (Tubes) last night, an off Broadway Show. It was absolutely brilliant and thoroughly recommend everyone to see it.

Anyway, back to our journey from Montreal to Quebec on Wednesday. We left the hotel in Montreal at 2.30 pm and made our way to Dorval Airport. 'The Bruce Goose' was parked at an F.B.O. called 'Avitat', which is a facility off to the side of the main terminal area. We pulled up right by the airplane and unloaded our luggage. The great deal with flying 'Tailgunner Airways' is that it gives a whole new slant to the 'fully flexible' ticket deal. Easily the best way to travel. So after we loaded up the plane, Bruce popped off to file our flight plan, giving us a few minutes to take some pictures and take in the views of the airfield.

It's really neat to be standing on the tarmac and watch as an Air France 747 came in to land - AMAZING! The next plane to come in was a 747 without a paintjob. After landing it taxied over towards where we were and parked about 50 yards away! Joe Justice (Bruce's co-pilot) and I couldn''t resist going over to take a look at this 'naked airplane'. It's a Global Express Type Plane, experimental, so we blagged ourselves up into the cockpit and started to look around inside the fuselage. This plane has more electronic gear in it than Dixon's at Christmas. There were 8 big water tanks, about 6ft by 6ft (sealed silly!) spaced along each side of the plane. These are used to check the centre of gravity tests by moving the water from one tank to another whilst inflight, to check the attitude of the plane. (If someone started messing with moving me water about, I'de be well pissed off, wouldn't you!?).

The plane itself is made by all kinds of companies - the wings from Japan, the fuselage from Ireland and the flight-deck (avionics) from the USA. And it can fly from New York to Tokyo in one go without refuelling!! It was getting close to our departure time so we thanked the aircrew for showing us around and left to load our stuff into the 'Bruce Goose' for our short flight to Quebec.

It only took us just over an hour flying at 1500ft following the St. Lawrence River. It was absolutely breathtaking! Rod was up front taking pictures and we really enjoyed the flight.

We had a great day so far and there was more to come, the concert, but that's another story.

See ya later, Nicko.

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