Customer Support in Death Valley

Pyrus CEO Max Nalsky: “Like in aviation, in business it is essential to be prepared for the most unimaginable scenarios. An experience like this one helps to improve this skill.”

Оne day, I piloted a Cessna plane to fly myself to a conference in Las Vegas. On the way there, I had to fly over Death Valley. This area of North America is similar to the Dead Sea: it is below sea level, and is hot and dry. I decided to stop, and have a look around.

Airfields are always fenced off, but in Death Valley a fence is not needed: there was only a runway. My plane was the only one in the parking lot, with desert all around. It was 115 degrees during the day, and 90 at night. From where I landed, it took about half an hour to reach the nearest place with any people. I spent the night there, in a tent, and was going to fly to the conference early.

At 7 a.m. I discovered that the front wheel had a flat tire. It was already 100 degrees, I could not take off, but I had to get to the conference. I reached a place where I could make a phone call, and contacted my flying club: «I’m in Death Valley, what should I do?» Their response was: «Hang in there! Look for someone to repair it, and if that doesn’t work, we will come to you.» I asked, «When will you be able to come?» The reply I received was disquieting: «In 10 hours.»

I was not going to hang around in the desert all day. Turning on the SOS toggle switch in my head, I started phoning services at the North Las Vegas Airport, and the third time turned out to be the charm. I talked to the service company owner, who was a super nice person. He contacted my flying club to ask what exact type of tire my plane had, and two hours later, flew to me with a mechanic and spare parts!

The mechanic, a colorful local, took out a rug, knee pads, and gloves. He looked like a surgeon. My airplane was small, only 25 feet in length. Normally, when a wheel is removed, the plane is lifted using a jack. Instead of this, the mechanic asked us to sit on the tail so that the front wheel lifted above the ground. We sat like that for half an hour and chatted while he was repairing the wheel.

The greatest thing is, all this service was completely free for me: insurance covered the costs. As the owner explained, his company, Lone Mountain Aviation, provides emergency assistance to pilots, and operates within a 600-mile radius of Las Vegas.

As a result, I was only 4 hours late for the conference. By the way, this all happened right on my birthday!

Like in aviation, in business it is essential to be prepared for the most unimaginable scenarios. An experience like this one helps to improve this skill.