Aircraft: Challenger 350
Departure Airport: Burbank/Bob Hope Airport’s
Arrival Airport: Waterloo Airport (Diverted to KBUR)
Flight Time: 34 minutes
At around 8:30 AM, I stepped into a frigid limousine outside a large glass office building in Pasadena, my boss two steps behind. We set off through the gnarled mess of traffic along Highway 210, heading for the FBO at Burbank Airport.
About 40 minutes later, the vehicle pulled up to the door where we were met by two men with suits and rushed through the building and onto the ramp, where a Challenger 350 chartered from NetJets sat waiting.
The men hustled us up the stairs, and placed our bags in the hold at the rear of the aircraft. The whole show was for my boss, a high level executive at a major media company. I was just an aide along for the ride. Our destination today was the small city of Waterloo, Iowa, where some executives were meeting with a potential production company contract writers.
The door shut, and the engines were warmed up before our taxi to Runway 8. Our plane was relatively light, with only 4 passengers (plus two pilots and a flight attendant) and not a ton of fuel for the 3 hour trip, so we took off like a rocket, lifting off the ground before the threshold of the intersecting runway.
I’ve been on dozens of private jets in my time as an aide for this media executive, but I have always been fond of the Challenger. Comfortable, speedy, and quiet.
We continued our climb northeast over the mountains, going straight up to FL410. As is usual with flying over the SoCal mountains, there was a fair bit of turbulence.
It smoothed out quickly as we moved over the fast California desert, gunning towards the Nevada border.
The seats on the Challenger face each other, and are extremely comfortable even for lengthy 6+ hour trips.
As soon as the wing dipped sharply to the east, the LA metro sprawling behind us, I knew something was wrong. The pilot came over the PA system. “Good morning, folks. We are getting an urgent hydraulic pressure warning light in the flight deck here. Because it could potentially cause major issues to the safety of the airplane, we are going to head back to Burbank immediately.” My boss looked up from his MacBook, annoyed, then back down at his watch. The plane entered a rather fast descent back towards the airport.
We made a looping approach down to Runway 8, a rather speedy one at that. The flight attendant offered up some drinks before landing, which was rather nice given the situation. I opted for some freshly brewed coffee.
Passing Van Nuys on the final approach path, with flaps and gear set for landing.
A spotter caught our landing and posted it on JetPhotos, which was rather cool to see. The touchdown was fast and firm. Fire engines lined the side of the runway as a standard precaution with any emergency landing or diversion for that matter.
After some hard braking, we vacated the runway and made a rushed taxi over to the FBO. The door was opened and we were escorted back through the terminal and into a van, which took us over to Van Nuys, where another Challenger was waiting, gassed up for our trip to Iowa. Very speedy turnaround, less than a half hour on the ground.
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