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Flying High

by Bob McElligott / Columbus Blue Jackets

October 18

Today was a great travel day to Calgary. We arrived at the airport around noon and got ready to board the plane - we took off at 1 p.m. the skies were clear over Columbus.

After a bite to eat, my seat partner George Matthews suggested I go up to the cockpit and have a look around. At first, I thought he was just tired of me talking his ear off and wanted to get rid of me, but I soon learned that he was allowing me to enjoy a unique experience.

The man that controls everything the Blue Jackets jet does is pilot Dick Sanders. Assisted by co-pilot Larry Owens, they make sure we get to and from wherever we're going. Dick is a former Air Force pilot who flew commercial jets before signing on with the Jackets. He and Larry couldn't have been nicer to me. They showed me every control and every gauge, while telling me what all of the instruments do.

Constantly monitoring the radio to get instructions from the airports we were flying over, they made adjustments to the flight plan. The view was spectacular! The clear day allowed me to see the hundreds of lakes down below, from 23,000 feet above.

We had to stop in Fargo, North Dakota to top off the fuel tanks, before continuing on to Calgary. I, literally, had a front row seat as Dick brought Blue Jackets Air in for a landing. He somehow battled the winds and smoothed out the bumpy approach just before the tires gracefully hit the ground.

After we pulled up to the hangar, I thanked the guys and returned to my seat for the second leg of the flight, still amazed at how they made a tough job look so easy.

*Throughout the season, AAA will bring you the Broadcaster's Blogs - "Bobby Mac", "Davidge Dishes" and "Rimer Ramblings." The Columbus Blue Jackets radio and television analysts will try to keep you updated on all the season action through their blogs, especially when the Blue Jackets are on the road.

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