Skymaster Adventure to Europe

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05-13

A springtime odyssey from the Middle East to the North Atlantic

The adventure begins with the chirping of my cell phone one afternoon in early April. The caller, an old friend, has an interesting offer. It seems four recently refurbished Skymasters stored in Aqaba, Jordan need to be moved to Wick, Scotland. His question: would I be interested in flying one of them?

I take a full five seconds to mentally review the route we would cover and reply, “Absolutely! When do we leave?”

Three of the pilots who are to make the trip—Jay Weinmann, Rich Burbank, and me—arrive at Aqaba on a Royal Jordanian Airlines flight on the 11th of April. There we are met by the fourth pilot, Stuart Mills, a highly experienced ferry pilot who will serve as the leader of our little gaggle. Our plan is to depart on the 13th of April with overnight stops in Greece, Croatia, the Netherlands, and finally Scotland.

Aqaba, Jordan

The north end of the Red Sea is split into two narrow gulfs by the Sinai Peninsula; the Gulf of Suez is on the west, and the Gulf of Aqaba is on the east. The port city of Aqaba sits at the lower end of a dry, narrow valley that slopes gently down to meet the north end of the gulf. On the east side of the valley within two miles of the airport stands one of the most rugged and formidable mountain ridges I ever hope to see.

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