Fly High and Fast – Vol. II Chapter 14 Omaha, Nebraska
My ex-boss took a job for a short while in Colorado as the President of a Bank Processing Center in Denver. When he returned, he also became the proud owner of an A-36 Bonanza – N108JT. This became part of our fleet of aircraft and would also become part of the charter fleet at Wathan Flying Service where I was flying part-time. I plan to cover my time as a Flight Instructor and Charter Pilot in a Volumes III and IV.
In addition to giving Joe a check out in 108JT, I also used it for business around the Midwest. One such flight was between Cedar Rapids, Iowa USA and Omaha Nebraska USA in 1988. At the time our company was trying to close a deal with the Douglas County Bank and Trust in Omaha. We had had several meetings and were now trying to have one last meeting to close our deal with the President of the Bank. Our initial meeting on this evening was with the Executive Vice President in charge of their operations. We know that they were concerned about the distance between Omaha and Cedar Rapids and they did not want to put in capture equipment. We had just purchased the a bank in Council Bluffs and had worked out a deal with them to capture the work for Douglas County. Council Bluffs, Iowa USA was just east of Omaha on the east side of the Missouri River. We needed the meeting with the President to make sure that his was the only thing keeping us from closing the deal. Larry the Executive Vice President in charge of Douglas County’s operations had told us that he would support us but we need to convince the President and he did not want to be the person setting up the meeting. We wanted to try and get Larry to setup the meeting if possible because the Presidents Executive Assistant was very good at keeping sales people away from the President. Our game plan was a dinner with the Executive Vice President and then hopefully a meeting with the President the next morning. We had been working on this deal for about 1 1/2 years and we were now down to the few days before a decision would be made.
After we put together our plan I put together my flight plan which included a complete weather briefing. The weather was not good. There were thunderstorms though out the Midwest and Tornados in Southern Iowa. N108JT did have a Storm Scope and I used it in my planning but I also wanted to make sure that we stayed away from the biggest cells. After digesting all the information, I filed a flight plan that would take us north of Des Moines, Iowa USA and also north of most of the weather. We would be IFR which means in the clouds for the full flight. I also decided on Milliard Airport since it was the closest airport to Douglas Counties main bank.
Before I continue with the story of our flight to Omaha and the business meeting with Douglas County please let me give you a little back ground on Omaha, Nebraska, USA. This is the home of my sister and her family. It is the place where my aunt and most other residents of Denison would go to shop if they needed a larger city. Omaha is one of the nicest cities in the USA. It is the home for “Boys Town” and the College World Series. The United States Air Force has a major air base in south Omaha – Offutt. The culture is diverse but the restaurants have produced some of the best steaks and Italian Food in America. Omaha is the largest city in the state of Nebraska, United States, and is the county seat of Douglas County. It is located in the Midwestern United States on the Missouri River, about 20 miles (30 km) north of the mouth of the Platte River. Omaha is the anchor of the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area, which includes Council Bluffs, Iowa, across the Missouri River from Omaha. According to the 2008 estimate by the United States Census Bureau, Omaha’s population was 438,646, making it the nation’s 40th-largest city. With its suburbs, Omaha formed the 60th-largest metropolitan area in the United States in 2000, with an estimated population of 837,925 residing in eight counties. There are more than 1.2 million residents within a 50 mile (80 km) radius of the city’s center, forming the Greater Omaha area. I love the restaurants of Omaha and have eaten more than my share of beef in this city.
Back to my story of our flight to Omaha. We departed around 2:00 pm and were IFR (Instruments) with in 10 seconds of departure. Between data from the Storm Scope and help from Cedars Departure, Chicago Center, Des Moines Approach, Minneapolis Center and Omaha Approach we had a safe but bumpy flight. When we got into the Omaha area, Omaha Approach gave me the weather for Offutt and Epply which were the only two reporting points in Omaha. I was landing at Millard which is a small airport on the southwest side of Omaha. We would have a very strong cross wind but Runway 12 appeared to be the best option. Omaha Approach vectored us for the ADF Approach into Millard. The approach was terrible we were bouncing all over the place and the turbulence was very bad almost severe. We broke out at 300 ft and I immediately knew that we had a problem. The wind had shifted and we now had a crosswind on our tail instead on the nose. I had to make a quick decision and I decided to land. I did not want to try another approach with the turbulence as bad as we experience on our first approach. We landed about three quarters of the way down the runway and needless to say we run off the runway at the end. The good news is that we only broke one radio wire which the Millard maintenance personal fixed. They always say that any landing you can walk away from is a good landing. I believe this was another of my nine Cat Lives.
We headed to the restaurant for our dinner date with the Executive Vice President of Douglas County Bank. This was probably our 25 dinner with Larry and it went well but he said the decision was now in the hands of the President of Douglas County Bank and he was very concerned about the distance of our Data Center from Omaha and he did not want to install capture equipment. He refused to setup a meeting because he did not want to be the fall guy if the President did not like our proposal to use the Council Bluff bank as the capture site.
My Marketing Director and I headed back to the Marriot Hotel in west Omaha to have a drink and discuss our options. We both knew that we needed to get into see the President of the Bank and we also knew that his Executive Assistant would block our request for a meeting. I had to go to the Men’s Room (Restroom) and when I was standing at the Urinal, would you believe that the President of Douglas County happened to join me to take care of his needs. We exchanged small talk and I determined that he was with a group of friends in the bar after a meeting at the hotel. I did not want to appear to pushy so decided not to mention a meeting in the morning but when I got back to the bar I bought his group a round of drinks. He came over to thank us and we then told him we had a solution to the capture problem what we would like to discuss with him in the morning.. He agreed to 30 minutes at 9:00 am. the next morning. I will not bore you with all the discussion and the night of no sleep as we prepared for the meeting. We quickly got him to confirm that the capture problem was the only outstanding problem or concern. We then presented our solution and with in a week we had a signed contract. This is a true story. In a later chapter I will tell you about another effort we took to get this multi million dollar account that involved flying.
Please visit my WEB Site on Flying at “FLY HIGH AND FAST”.
Written by jjmeehan13
January 25, 2010 at 11:16 am
Posted in Flying
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