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TURKEY
These pages document my time spent flying balloons in Kapadokya . . .
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Chapter 26
The Beginning Of The End
March 1st, 2009.
I could use several different analogies . . . Depending on how you look at it. No matter how you look at it, all analogies aside, it was definitely the beginning of the end.

We had a flight scheduled for that morning, but when I awoke, it was snowing and it never stopped. The ceiling was also very low, at probably a thousand feet or less. Oh yeah, we made the (by now obligatory) trip down to the launch site to wait for the weather to clear. It was while we were sitting there in the car at the launch site that the events happened that led to my departure from Turkey a month earlier than originally planned. Like I said, we're (Me, Banu and one of the crew guys) sitting there in the car at the launch site in the middle of a snow storm when Banu turns to me and says "Kevin, your license finish in March". This is like the third time in about 4 days she has brought this up about my license. Did you notice at the top of the page what date today is? I've mentioned this a couple of times already but I'll remind you that they've had a copy of my license for about 5 months and never brought the subject up until just a few days ago. They wanted me to produce some sort of paperwork showing that my license didn't expire in March 2009. For one thing, there is no such "paperwork". The only thing I have is an endorsement in the back of my old logbook, which I didn't bring with me. In fact this whole thing is reminding me that I still haven't got back my current logbook (or my license or any of the "papers" I sent just so I could get here) I sent to them before I even arrived here. If they would have mentioned it soon enough I could have produced SOME thing that could and hopefully would have proved to them that my license was good for another year, when my next BFR (Bi-Annual Flight Review) was due. But to say that it's a problem only two days before March and then expect me to be able to do something about it from halfway around the world, is . . . well . . . I don't know, irresponsible I guess.

The first time Banu had brought this up I got pretty upset. Not with her at the time, but after I got home, the more I thought about it, the more upset I got. It's always something. This was the last straw. I had made my mind up then, that I wasn't going to take anymore. Have I mentioned that I haven't been paid for January yet? I had written up a one page "resignation" and purposely held onto it for a couple of days. You see . . . I signed a contract before I left America. However, in that contract was the clause about paying me. It stated that they would pay me the following month. So, because it didn't state specifically when in that next month they would pay, technically they had until the end of the month to pay. Well, today was March first, and I still hadn't received all the money owed me for January. So I felt like they had broken that part of the contract.

I spent a couple of minutes trying to explain the license situation and when Banu again asked me to produce "papers" proving my license was still valid, I realized I was never going to be able to satisfy them (just look at my medical situation, something I actually had official paper work for, and gave to them and they still weren't satisfied. Can you imagine what I would have to go through for this?!) so I handed her the paper I had prepared as I told her "It doesn't matter, here is my resignation, I'm going home." Her immediate response (and I completely expected it) was "You have contract." I of course immediately said "You broke contract by not paying me." She didn't say anything the rest of the day. I could tell she was not happy.

For one thing, she could not read the document because of course it was written in English. I had certainly had enough, however I knew that I had signed a contract and really felt like I had been somewhat forced into this situation. If the working relationship had been better I certainly would have wanted to stay, but I was at a point now, where all I wanted was for Joanne to get there so she could experience this place (she was due to arrive here on March 10th) and then I wanted to go home.
In my resignation paper, I was giving them 30 days notice of my intent to leave the company. I thought I was being pretty decent doing that. I knew that they were going to have a problem finding another pilot, at least until summer. I actually really wanted to fly here, just not for these folks. I had been disrespected, treated unfairly and not paid. But I was willing to work for them for another month, so they could have some time to get another pilot. It seemed like the professional thing to do. Besides, we had already planned Joannes trip over here, and her ticket back to the States was for April 1st. We're going to be here anyway, I will be a stand up guy and work for another month (at the risk of not getting paid for it) .

I didn't know what to expect after that day. Were they just going to say go home now? Were they going to try to hold me to the contract? Was I going to get the money owed me? Let's just say I was in a state of limbo for a few days, until they responded. The ball was in their court, I had informed them of my intentions and unless actions were taken to stop me, I fully intended to go home with Joanne on April first. Most likely without being paid another red cent. Or in this case, lira. The end was beginning, but not of course without more drama. This is, after all, Turkey.
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