Tag Archives: Tailwinds

Product Reviews at Tailwinds

At Tailwinds we have added a new feature about which we are very excited – Product Reviews.  Now, as a customer, you can let others know what you think of the merchandise that you ordered.  For instance, the P-51 Mustang Ceiling Fan, in your opinion; Was it as expected?  Was it easy to install? Would you recommend the fan to a friend?  Let others know what you think about the merchandise that you received from Tailwinds!

Wishing you Blue Skies & Tailwinds!™

Fuel Challenge in Russia

Fueling on the next leg of the race from Moscow to Irkutsk (2,897 miles) was a problem as the fuel was hand pumped and we were “on the clock” but we thought we had a solution. The mid-way fueling point was in Omsk. A friend of mine, Michaela, had moved to Russia a few months earlier and lived in Moscow. She had connections in the government and had tentatively arranged for 3 men to arrive at the Omsk Airport and help us fuel the plane. First I needed to get through to my friend. I had called repeatedly but the phone was never answered. Thinking I had written the phone number down wrong I went to the front desk at the hotel only to find that phone books or telephone directory assistance did not exist in Russia. The staff said I should go to the “subway entrance” (a subway is an underground walkway on major streets in Russia due to the cold) and speak with the man with the brown fedora and trench coat and in 24 hours I would have a phone number, address, and any personal information on my friend if desired. Wow! I really thought the staff was pulling my leg but right next to the subway entrance was a man dressed as described…looking just like a spy in a cold war movie. Fortunately, my friend called and we meet at a government official’s office while the rest of the race group went to a Russian Air Museum. We finalized the terms and went to lunch together at a new Italian Bistro that had just opened.

The concept of good or even fair customer service is not in the Russian vocabulary. The staff at the hotel was not necessarily verbally rude but simply ignored you and turned their back once they answered your question. The waiter at the restaurant actually read from a script to take our order and for any communication to be pleasant. I told my friend what a difficult time my husband was having in getting through to us in Russia. My husband Jim’s friend, John Polumbo was an executive at Sprint, one of our sponsors, and they had given us free long distance around the world. In 1992 there were not many phone lines into Russia. He was able to get a line through in only one out of every ten attempts. Imagine the frustration of finally getting through only to have the hotel staff avoid picking up the phone. Michaela later said that she was surprised that the hotel staff even answered the phone given the lack of motivation during these transition times in Russia. I learned she was currently without hot water for one month every year as the pipes were being cleaned in the part of the city where she lived. She also said that she did not drive but took a taxi everywhere as it was looked down upon if a woman was driving a car. I was shocked. I thought we were in a country of another superpower but the more we traveled the more I saw the hard life of the people. After being in Moscow for less than 1 day I did notice that nobody smiled at all!

Since we were without the group, Marion and I went to St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square. We were in for a treat! Nobody was around so the person collecting tickets motioned for us to come around the cordoned off area and follow her. She took us to a large room where huge oil paintings were simply stacked against each other 10 deep on 3 walls. This was art dating back to the early czars and there was one man that was responsible for the restoration of all these Russian masterpieces! He spent about 20 minutes with us describing the scenes and people in the paintings and the history with each work of art. We were then given a personal tour of St. Basil’s along with a retelling of the violent history associated with the building. ©

Next segment, the race almost ends in Russia. Wishing you Blue Skies & Tailwinds!™