The 4-day trip to Arkansas was truly an adventure -- an adventure I'd in some ways not want to repeat, yet I wouldn't have missed it for anything.  Getting the cockpit here was not particularly easy.  Please read my good friend John Allard's writeup of our outing; no one else could cover it like John.  Read it here, in case you missed it on the main page. His article was done for the September, 2012 issue of the Gosport, the monthly newletter of the Ocala Flight Simulator Club.

This is a great place to recognize Skip Tucker's very significant contribution to the project.  When I told Skip that I had just bought a 737 cockpit that was in Arkansas and I had no idea how it was going to get down here, it was the next day that I heard back from him telling me that one of his friends had a trailer that he could use for the job.  Next thing he said was, "let's go get it, this will be fun." And that was that.  I was completely taken by surprise.  You never forget such a gesture of friendship, nor can it ever be repaid.  Thank you again, Skip.

Platform photo

Here's the platform (or dollly?) that John Allard described in his account of the trip.  This is before leaving Fort McCoy -- it was newly built and is in good condition.  The same was not true afterward.  In the end it was pretty well beat up and a couple of the casters were bent, although still rolling. 

First look photo

This was shot just after we arrived at the Jonesboro shop -- my first look at the new "purchsase."  To know its size in numerical terms is one thing -- and the dimensions were understated anyway -- but seeing it in front of you is not the same as knowing its measurements.  I've seen hundreds of 737s around airports over four decades, often close up, but that didn't help to prepare me for the sight either -- the context is totally different.  The word impressive isn't adequate to describe the spectacle before me.  I was awestruck for a few minutes and wondered if we had bitten off the impossible.  

Getting to work photo

But it was time to get to work, no matter how big it was, how much it weighed, or how hot it was getting.

Seller's shop photo

A general view of the seller's shop.  The big chunk in the middle is part the forward fuselage of a B757.  The part of the airplane that was in front of it went to Italy, presumably to become somebody eles's simulator project.  There are some things we just don't need to know; I didn't bother asking much about how it got to Italy.  The 800-plus miles between there and Fort McCoy with my "little" 737 was enough to think about at the time.

Back to work photo

Doing our best to keep it coming up straight and between the wheel wells.

Ready to leave photo

Fully loaded and ready to taxi.  No photos, but one key part of the adventure was a relaxed breakfast with the seller and his wife earlier that monrning. During the loading exercise the previous day, there wasn't much time for talking, and a lot of the subject matter I badly needed to cover with the seller was left untouched.  Thanks to Cracker Barrel for their patience in letting us stay until we had covered those topics -- and several others -- in depth. 

Memphis photo

Rearward view coming down through Memphis on I 65.

Tupelo, Miss photo

Stopped for the night on the outskirts of Tupelo, MS.  Strangely, pieces of airplanes on the roadways are not a particularly unusal sight around Tupelo.  It turns out that the salvage operator who originally broke this aircraft down in Memphis also has an operation at the Tupelo airport.  Only coincidnece that we stopped there though.

Gas stop photo

This is the fillin' station where the girl reckoned there "weren't many airplanes coming through here."  Somewhere short of Birmingham, as best I can recall.

Safely at home photo

Safely at home and unloaded.  As John noted, still no damge history to N379UA -- well, at least to the front 10 feet of it.   I had no clue at the time that the cockpit would be there for almost a year -- that's how long it took to arrange suitable housing.