17 Sep 1999 - Johnny B - Helsinki

The Helsinki gig was cooking. The crowd were brilliant, stuffed to the roof and lapping up every minute of the spectacular show. They loved Run To The Hills and Bruce had the crowd in the palm of his hand during 'Fear Of The Dark'. I won¹t dwell on the gig as Nicko is doing a report and I am sure you would rather read what he has to say about it.

Today we awake for the 'Maiden Wacky Races'. I'm with the Dick Dastardly team, in other words Bruce Airways. The idea is simple. There has been so much debate as to whether it is faster to fly commercial airlines or by private plane with Bruce that we are actually going to try it out. There are pros and cons to both sides. With commercial airlines you have all the hassle of checking in, waiting around in the departure lounge for entry to the plane and then the hope that some dirkoid doesn't turn up late and hold the whole plane up. You then have to go through passport control and then infamous baggage handling to hopefully get your cases back. On the other side of the coin ....... with a small plane flight you are fraught with possible hold-ups and hassles. You arrive at the aerodrome, which is often the same as the commercial one just a different part, and you go straight to the flight office. You then have two major jobs to do ....... as far as I can make out watching Bruce rush around. The first is the flight plan. This is a route map for want of a better description. You have to be very thorough in this task as you are really flying a metal missile and any errors and you could be dicing with death. The airways are divided into routes .... like motorways. So that you don't have two planes flying opposite ways toward each other on the same route at the same height you have to file a flight plan. To get confirmation of your flight plan can take anything from 45 minutes to 1 hour. ( We cheated and Bruce got hold of the flight forms, filled them in at the hotel last night and faxed them to the flight control. This meant when we arrived at the airport we could fly straight out). The second important task is the refuelling. It has to be done carefully and quickly and can be fricking expensive. Finland is the second most expensive place to visit after Japan. They charged Stevie Cox £10 this morning just to carry his breakfast to the room. Not FOR the breakfast just delivery. Anyway ..... we cheated at that as well ...... Jim our co-pilot ( Muttley from now on) refuelled the plane last night ..... nice one Jim.

Don't worry about spilling the beans ..... by the time the other side read this hopefully we should have won. In our team is Bruce and Jim ( obviously), Nicko who did a great clip in the terminal about a Forest Gump joke. He has now promised to do a joke a day. Don¹t miss these bits of video they are great. There is Harry who seems to be taking it all in his stride, as normal. I am sitting here typing stopping every few minutes as the turbulence worries me and he is sitting there calmly reading a book as if he was travelling in a car or a train. We have last but not least Rod who is overseeing the proceedings and has just cajoled Nicko into doing a report on his Sony Vaio. Nicko is sitting here typing as well. It looks more like a corporate business flight with all the laptops than the middle of a mad race.

STOP PRESS! Bruce has just leaned over from the cockpit and shouted that we only have 45 minute to go. This is great news because it means we could actually be landing before the 'Ant Hill Mob' take off. We will have to just hope that when we land there are no major hold ups getting out of the airport. In the other team there is Janick, Dave, Adrian, Steve Cox, Wally the security meteor. They are travelling commercial from Helsinki to Stockholm and obviously there plane flies a darn sight faster (being bigger and jet propelled) so they will make up time on us but ...... how much.
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