An Aircaft Returning from Alaska after being on Lease.
| When working for Orion Airways in 1984 and I was tasked to bring back an aircraft from Seattle which had been on lease to Wien Air Alaska for six months.
When I arrived at the aircraft on the morning of the return flight, the flight crew were ready to go. I asked if they had completed the manifest and had all the manuals and spares on board. They asked why they needed a manifest, as they had no passengers, only the flight crew and engineers. (Me and the Wein Air engineer).
We needed fourteen copies of the manifest as we were importing the aircraft back into the UK. After this was completed, we climbed aboard and flew to Montreal, where we had arranged to night stop. We flew out the next day to Gander for fuel. When I asked for the Fuel Carnet I found the flight crew had not arranged for fuel payment in advance nor did they have a Fuel Carnet. The Wien Air engineer decided he would pay for the fuel on his American Express card, I was amazed he did not max it out.
We were due to land at Keflavik in Iceland, but the Captain decided he had enough fuel to continue to East Midlands airport.
It was a calm flight to the north of Scotland when I was asked to go to the flight deck. The Captain asked me to show him where East Midlands was on the map and what to look out for on the way. It was dusk and we could not see very much. I was astounded that the crew did not know where they were headed and I got to be a little concerned. I informed the crew to look out for Manchester on their right as this was the biggest town before East Midlands. I was relieved when they found East Midlands on the map and I returned to the cabin.
The aircraft Landed safely at the airport and the crew immediately tried to disembark. I had to stop them getting off and told them we were obligated to talk to customs as we were importing an aircraft. The crew had no experience of Customs as they had never been outside of the USA. I then understood why the problems occurred.