Three pilots, a co-pilot, 12 dogs: Houston-Austin-Dallas-OK-Denver
Long-distance Pilots N Paws missions can be time-consuming and difficult to arrange: as the distance increases, the number of legs grows along with the number of pilots and aircraft required. They’re also often frustrating: a mechanical issue or uncooperative weather that affects a single leg can result in the entire mission collapsing.
Despite the obstacles, we were able to plan and fly another Houston-Denver transport on 6/14/2013, combining dogs from two different mission requests. Shortly after 8 a.m., Houston rescuer Ann Callan delivered 10 dogs to Pearland Regional Airport (Border collie mom Candy and her pup Reeses, and border collie mom Emma and her seven pups).
At 9 a.m., I departed Pearland in 20223 with fellow Cessna Cardinal pilot Dave Massey riding co-pilot. We arrived at Austin Executive Airport at 10:30 a.m., where we boarded Zena, a sweet blind Welsh terrier that Austin rescuer Julie had fought to get pulled from a pound and saved from being put down. Dave was concerned about Zena’s comfort, so she rode in his lap.
About 12:15 p.m., 20223 arrived at Lancaster Airport, south of Dallas, with the manifest of 11 dogs, where we met Dallas pilot Ed Valentine. After a brief stopover for water, bathroom break and puppy frolicking, Ed departed for Oklahoma to rendezvous with Terry Fiala, a Denver pilot flying her first PNP mission. Dave and I boarded a boxer, Bobby, for the return to Pearland, where Bobby was picked up by the indefatigable Ann Callan.
Ed’s flight to West Woodward, OK, went without incident, but Terry, with a 16-year-old woman student pilot aboard, had to tread her way through a line of thunderstorms outside of Denver on her way to rendezvous with Ed. The line had intensified by the time Terry was returning to Centennial Airport in Denver, so she had to make some course deviations; Terry, her student pilot, and the 11 pooches endured some rain and some choppy conditions. The landing was without incident. Twelve dogs were transported to safe, secure and happy futures. Congratulations to Terry for a real trial-by-storm on her maiden PNP mission.