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Election results

This summer and early fall I have been working so hard to reach one goal, and one goal only. To change the country’s prime minister from Jens Stoltenberg (Labor party) to Erna Solberg (the Conservative party)

Monday, September 9 was election day, and I was working as an election official to make sure everything went smoothly. As the election came to an end towards the evening, the results were published shortly after.

And the results spoke for them selves. When all the votes were counted, the non-socialist parties had won, meaning Erna Solberg, the leader of the Conservatives and our prime minister candidate, will create a government together with the Liberals, Christian Democrats and the Progress Party.
Erna Solberg will be the second female prime minister in Norway.

Long nights, lots of work. It all paid off. When I went to bed that night, after the election, I felt a sense of emptiness. What will I do tomorrow? Just go to work? No more campaigning? The campaign has been a part of my life since late July, so it was kind of a shock to return to the daily life and reality. But it also feels good. Knowing we did everything we could, and that we actually made a difference. A huge relief. And a self confidence booster for sure.

This is my first weekend off in a long, long time. I look forward to just go to work for a few hours tomorrow, Saturday, and other than that – just relax!

Next weekend I’m jetting of to new adventures in Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen, on a privately chartered aircraft. Stay tuned 😉

Cecilie

5 Frightening Places Germs Thrive on a Commercial Flight

A blog reader sent me the link of an article regarding germy places on a commercial flight. I found it very interesting, and thought I should share it with my other readers as well.

http://www.priorityonejets.com/blog/5-frightening-places-germs-thrive-on-a-commercial-flight/

After clicking the “Book Now” button for a flight, there is a whisper of possibility in the air. The possibility of a new adventure, the possibility of making new memories, and the possibility of … catching the flu on your way to a once in a lifetime vacation. Many of the basic cleaning duties of commercial flights slip through the cracks between hectic schedules and delayed flights, leaving behind a breeding ground for bacteria looking to attack the bodies of unsuspecting travelers. Microbiologist and Director of Global Service Care at Reckitt Benckiser Inc., Joe Rubino, has lent some expertise and suggestions within our list of the top 5 “dirtiest” parts of a commercial flight!

To my readers, please take precautions when traveling. I always keep a bottle of antibac in my purse, and also in my carry-on when I travel by plane. There is no excuse for bad hygiene, even when traveling, as you can get most antibacs in 3oz travel size as well.

Stay healthy, and keep exploring the world 🙂

– Cecilie

Biennial Flight Review (BFR)

I became a licensed pilot in 2011, which means 2 years has passed and I needed to prove to a certified flight instructor I can still fly. That’s why I decided to go to Florida in January to get it done, with my best friend and awesome instructor Ryan.

I was actually scheduled to fly the day after I arrived, Monday January 14, but the plane I was scheduled to fly was down for maintenance. Actually, both of the flight school’s 172s were down for maintenance for various reasons. I then had to be checked out in the C152 that the school has and I did that Tuesday and Wednesday with one of the instructors at that school, and then proceed with my BFR.

All the flying was done out of KSFB – Orlando-Sanford International Airport.

Tuesday we did a flight to the local practice area where I practiced some maneuvers. Keep in mind it had been 11 months since I last flew and my skills were a bit rusty. But with some practice, I did the slow flights, stalls, steep turns and emergency procedures to an acceptable, proficient level. It was so good to be back in the air!

Coming back into Sanford can be a bit stressful, especially with Air Traffic Control and the busy airspace around the Orlando area. English, being a foreign language to me, though I feel very proficient, adds to the difficulty for me.

Sanford is a Class C airport, meaning it’s classified as the second busiest type of airport in the US. Class B airports are usually very busy airports such as Orlando-MCO, Newark-EWR and Los Angeles-LAX.
The aircraft operators at SFB have signed a document that makes ATC-clearances easier for both pilots and controllers. Coming in to the airport from the North, I obtained the current weather in Sanford and contacted Orlando Approach on the radio, requesting the Monroe Arrival. The Monroe/Jessup Arrivial are signatory arrival routes (it’s not an official published arrival route, but something you will be familiar with if you fly planes in and out of SFB frequently) So by requesting the Monroe arrival, you let the ATC-controller know that you are familiar with operating in to SFB in this manner, and they will give you a squawk code and (hopefully) clear you for the Monroe Arrival.

After that, Orlando App hands you over to Sanford Tower. Our intentions this afternoon was 3 laps in the traffic pattern, so we got to land at 09R the first two landings, then the final, full stop landing was done at 09L.

Airport Diagram of KSFB

Airport Diagram of KSFB

The first two landings over at 09R were very smooth, and the instructor was happy with them. After those two touch-and-go’s I did a full stop landing at 09L. Due to this runway being significantly wider than 09R, I fell victim of the wider runway illusion, thinking I was lower than actual and started the flare too early. The landing was perfectly safe, but not as smooth as the previous two.

The next day I planned a flight to Kissimmee (KISM) and Leesburg (KLEE) to practice radio communication with other frequencies some more. The C152 is incredibly slow, I cruised down to KISM at about 90 KIAS.

IMG_0618

Wing view

Wing view

The Epcot Center

The Epcot Center

Best office view in the world (well, I don't mean the C152 in particular lol)

Best office view in the world (well, I don’t mean the C152 in particular lol)

The cockpit of the C152

The cockpit of the C152

Me flying! woop woop!

Me flying! woop woop!

Upon completion of this flight, I was officially checked out in the Cessna C152!

The next flight I did some traffic pattern work with Ryan in the C152, which was good practice!
We also flew to New Smyrna Beach Municipal Airport one day in the C172. Actually, it was more like a diversion, because the lid where you check the engine oil popped open in flight. Safely on the ground in New Smyrna we did what any pilot would do. Fixed it with duct tape and flew back to Sanford, in the most amazing sunsets!

IMG_0685 IMG_0688

We also did two flights up to DeLand which in an uncontrolled airfield with a lot of parachute activity. It is located north of Sanford and Lake Monroe. We went to the FBO to refuel after fighting the crosswinds that prevailed there, that day. With full tanks we headed back to Sanford via the Monroe Arrival, which I filmed and posted HERE

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Oh, the sights you see while pre-flighting aircrafts on the north ramp in Sanford. This is a Thomson 757 departing 09L. In the background is the passenger terminal.

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Thank you so much Ryan for giving me such a thorough flight review. I definitely learned a lot from you. You are a very talented instructor. I’m looking forward to fly with you again soon!

After putting 9,5 hrs in my log book, I was happy with what I got done in that week-and-a-half. Yes, I was supposed to go home Sunday January 20th, but didn’t leave until Wednesday January 23rd. Due to bad weather and the maintenance issues with the C172 which eventually was available for rental towards the end of the period I was there.

So with change of departure for going back to Norway, comes along a whole different route than the original MCO-IAH-AMS-CPH-KRS. Stay tuned and I will tell you about the comfortable ride I had across the Atlantic.

If you have any questions regarding biennial flight reviews (BFR) please refer to CFR 14 §61.56 in the FAR/AIM.
I am also open for questions of you have any with regards to aircrafts, rental, or anything in general.

– Cecilie

The Monroe Arrival into KSFB (Orlando Sanford Intl’)

While fighting the jet lag from my trip to Florida, which I returned from Thursday night, I put together a little video of some of the flying I did while I was there. I will tell you more about my flying later, but for now, enjoy this video of me and my friend Ryan flying a single-engine piston aircraft, the Cessna Skyhawk C172.

– Cecilie

Confessions of a Frequent Flyer

At the end of the year, I feel it is appropriate to sum up my year, with regards to travels and flying.

Near the end of 2011, I set a goal for myself “I will fly each month of the year” – a goal that seemed impossible at first, but as the year progressed, it turned out I wasn’t far from my goal at all.

Well, the goal was actually spoiled in January already, when I didn’t fly at all. But how did the rest of the year turn out for me?

C172

Preflighting N96557 (C172)

As a grand total, I had 40 flights (+ 1 General Aviation (GA) flight in a Cessna Skyhawk 172SP), flying more than 79 000 km (49 000 mi.) A total “air time” of 122 hours (or more than 5 days straight) on board an airplane, I’m happy with what I got to see and do.

February

I had to go to Florida to keep my Instrument Rating current, and my mom decided to come with me. Or rather, it is impossible to rent a car or get a hotel room unless you’re 21 or older. So my mom was my chauffeur and buddy for this trip.

Our itinerary was Kristiansand (KRS) – Oslo (OSL) – Munich (MUC) – New York (JFK) – Tampa (TPA) – Boston (BOS) – Frankfurt (FRA) – Oslo (OSL) – Kristiansand (KRS) and was flown with a mix of Scandinavian Airlines, Lufthansa and jetBlue.

With regards to frequent flyer miles for my SAS Eurobonus card, this trip was a disaster. Economy class (booking class K) with Lufthansa only gave me 25% of the flown miles, you don’t earn miles on domestic flights in Norway and jetBlue was definitely out of the equation, even though they have an interline agreement with Lufthansa. So I ended up with a total of 2500 points/miles for the entire trip. But I won’t complain too much, it was a cheap fare.

That being said, Lufthansa was “as expected” on the transatlantic legs, and intra-european they were decent. We were lucky to get a refurbished A321 from OSL to MUC, the “NEK” (die Neue Europa Kabine = the new Europe Cabin)

The A321 NEK The seats are VERY slim, but for a 2 hour flight it worked out OK.

The A321 NEK
The seats are VERY slim, but for a 2 hour flight it worked out OK.
The colors used are a bit boring, if you ask me though. Throw in some blue or yellow!

A 3-class (First, Business and Economy) A340-300 brought us from MUC to JFK, where we exited the airplane extremely early, thanks to our seats being on the first row of economy, right behind business class. That only means one thing when arriving in America – NO line in immigration. We were through in a split second.

An Airbus 320 from jetBlue awaited us in JFK, and took us down to Tampa, and back to Boston 2 weeks later. I was happy with the on board product that jetBlue offers, especially the Direct TV. It was free, from what I remember, which is better than what you get on United where it’s only free for a little while.

Jetblue

The jetBlue A320 parked in Tampa, getting ready for the flight up to Boston

In Boston, we boarded the Queen of the Skies, the Boeing 747-400, this individual being built in 1989! Old lady.

GVIIY meets DABTB

Cecilie 747

Smart-me: During check-in, I asked for a window seat for me and an aisle seat for my mom. Turned out no one wanted the middle seat between us, so we had plenty of space to actually get some sleep.

No personal entertainment system on this old lady. Which I really didn't care about, the scheduled BLOCK time (brakes off to brakes on) was an amazing 5hrs55min - I don't think I have ever crossed the Atlantic THAT fast before!

No personal entertainment system on this old lady. Which I really didn’t care about, the scheduled BLOCK time (brakes off to brakes on) was an amazing 5hrs55min – I don’t think I have ever crossed the Atlantic THAT fast before!

March

Well, technically, the return trip from Florida was in March too, but it was part of a trip that started in February so I’ll leave it like that.

The week after I came home from Florida, it was time to get going again. This time to Seattle!

My itinerary was like this: Oslo (OSL) – Frankfurt (FRA) – Seattle (SEA) – Frankfurt (FRA) – Oslo (OSL) – Kristiansand (KRS)

The flights OSL-FRA-OSL-KRS were all operated by SAS, and the flights to and from Frankfurt were in business class. Now, intra-european business class is nothing fancy, you get a blocked middle seat, giving you more space, and a hot meal. That’s really it. But it was a fun experience nonetheless. From Frankfurt to Seattle and back, I had the pleasure of flying in business class with Lufthansa on their A330-300.
I had a great seat, I was served good food and got plenty of rest in the comfortable seat (though it doesn’t recline 180 degrees)

LH-J-1

3301

White table cloth before meal service began! I definitely approve this way of traveling 🙂

3302

My longest, to date, flight. 5100 miles one way. Block time of close to 11 hours. But it was worth it!

seattle

I had 26 hours in Seattle.. The first thing I wanted to see was the first location of Starbucks. This is where it all began!

space needle

I went to the top of the Space Needle, too! Breathtaking views from up there.

seattle2

Aaaand, I got to meet the Dreamliner! What an awesome experience!

Upon returning to Frankfurt from Seattle, I had access to the Lufthansa Welcome Lounge, for a well-needed shower!

Upon returning to Frankfurt from Seattle, I had access to the Lufthansa Welcome Lounge, for a well-needed shower!

Frequent flyer-wise, this trip was a bargain! For 10 000 NOK (approx 1800 USD) I got a round trip in business class, 11 000 miles traveled. Since the fare was booked in the booking class Z with Lufthansa, they give you 200% of the miles flown, leaving me with 22 000 frequent flyer miles and hitting the SAS Eurobonus (and Star Alliance) Silver tier. My frequent flyer card changed its color for the first time in my life. But this was just the beginning…

April

No travels in April, unfortunately 😦

May

Washington D.C!

Scandinavian Airlines all the way! Kristiansand (KRS) – Copenhagen (CPH) – Washington DC (IAD) – Copenhagen (CPH) – Kristiansand (KRS) for a weekend was the perfect get-away.

A mix of the Dash 8 Q400 and the A340-300 took me to the American capital and back. The weekend in DC was incredibly warm, and I tried my best to fill it with interesting stuff to see. Arlington National Cemetery, the White House, a tour of the US Capitol, the US Holocaust museum, the Smithsonian Air and Space museum, the Museum of Natural History, eating sushi at the best sushi restaurant in DC (supposedly, and it really was amazing), Washington Memorial, WWII memorial, eating strawberries on a bench on Lafayette Square.. It was just perfect, in every way 🙂

Some photos of my trip to D.C can be found HERE

On the return leg of my trip, I decided to spend some miles on an upgrade from economy to economy extra, which was well worth the price of 10000 miles. I got a better seat and a better meal.

I cashed in 10000 miles on this trip, including the Silver status bonus of an extra 15% on flights operated by SAS (or Blue1 or Widerøe)

June

June was a good month when it came to flying. It started with a mileage run to Madrid. A mileage run is a set of flights you take, and the sole purpose is to collect miles. My route was Kristiansand (KRS) – Copenhagen (CPH) – Madrid (MAD) – Copenhagen (CPH) – Kristiansand (KRS)

Madrid

Yes, I did a day trip to Madrid.

In security in Kristiansand, I handed my boarding card to the security agent who said “Wow, that’s a lot of flights” – without further questions I headed to Madrid via Copenhagen on the Dash 8 Q400 and then the MD82.

Upon disembarking the MD82 in Madrid, I said good bye to the flight and cabin crew, like any other civilized passenger would do. Little did they know that I would board the same aircraft with the same crew in about 30 minutes.

More on the Madrid-trip can be found HERE

This itinerary left me with 5750 frequent flyer miles, a good pay for a day’s work if you ask me 🙂

But June isn’t over yet. Later in the month I visited my friend Ryan in England. My flights were:
Kristiansand (KRS) – Copenhagen (CPH) – Manchester (MAN) – Copenhagen (CPH) – Kristiansand (KRS) on the Dash 8 Q400, MD82, A319 and Dash 8 Q400 respectively.

I had a wonderful few days in Yorkshire filled with airplane spotting at MAN, eating breakfast next to the Concorde, visiting many historical sites, drinking multiple (I think I stopped counting after the 4th….) Jäger bombs with my buddy Ricky and just having a great time!

A few words on my England trip and some photos as well, can be found in THIS blog from June.

Upon landing back in KRS, I had earned 2300 frequent flyer miles, which was enough to get SAS Eurobonus (Star Alliance) Gold status!

July

It was time to travel again! This time to one of my favorite cities, Berlin. I have a friend who lives there so visiting her is something I really enjoy as well.

This was the first time I would travel as a SAS Gold member, and therefore I booked long connections in Copenhagen, just to enjoy the airport lounges a little more.

My itinerary was like this: Kristiansand (KRS) – Copenhagen (CPH) – Berlin-Tegel (TXL) – Copenhagen (CPH) – Kristiansand (KRS)

As usual, the flights between KRS and CPH were operated by the Dash 8 Q400.

Dash 8 Q400

Dash 8 Q400

On the flight from Copenhagen to Berlin I was upgraded from economy to business class. My first trip with SAS after I became gold, and I get an upgrade! How awesome is that!? Seated in row 4 on the MD82, I could barely hear the engines spool up during take off or during climb out. So quite up front. I’ve heard MD80-pilots say they are honestly concerned if the engines are really running during flight. There is no way they can tell by just listening. I don’t blame them, those aircrafts are so comfortable to travel with.

Berlin was wonderful as always, and it was great to spend some time there with my friend.

The trip gave me 3750 frequent flyer miles.

August

As a treat for my self for my birthday, I booked a trip to Frankfurt (FRA) airport, with a night’s stay at the Hilton Frankfurt Airport. You can read more about my trip to Frankfurt HERE , HERE and HERE

My itinerary for this trip was Kristiansand (KRS) – Oslo (OSL) – Frankfurt (FRA) – Copenhagen (CPH) – Kristiansand (KRS)

I was actually upgraded to economy extra on the return from FRA to CPH, which was a nice touch from SAS. 🙂

3125 miles for this trip.

September

Nothing….

October

Nada…

November

NEW YORK AND FLORIDA!

I have written about this trip HERE but I will give you a summary of my trip here:

KRS-OSL 737 Economy class
OSL-EWR A330 Economy class

EWR-CLT A320 Economy class

CLT-MCO B762 First Class

MCO-EWR B737 Economy class

EWR-CPH A330 Economy class

CPH-KRS Dash 8 Q400 Economy class

12325 points for this trip which puts me in a good position for renewing my gold status with SAS in 2013.

December

Nothing…

So, there you go, my flying year 2012. It has been a remarkable year and I can’t wait to get started on my travels for 2013.

Wishing you all a prosperous, healthy and aviation-filled New Year!

Best wishes
Cecilie

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