Monday, March 9, 2009

Helping out the tire makers of America

As I expected the flight to Ohio left late. The 5:20PM departure didn't really leave until 6:26PM.The flight was full and we had a jump seater on board.

The Captain took the leg up. I think I may have flown with him once before. We chit chat with the jump seater as he is in training to fly a 767 and it helped pass the time.

The storms that were over Ohio were moving east. The hour delay actually helped out in the end. We kept getting updates on the weather along the way. If we had left on time we would have had to hold or divert to an alternate. The weather was clear when we arrived.

The original overnight was for 9 hours and 35 minutes. Again this time starts 15 minutes after we park at the gate and stops when we are supposed to push out of the gate for the return flight.

Since we were only delayed by an hour the new overnight was still legal. We ended up having 8 hours 25 minutes for the overnight. Scheduling did push back the departure 10 minutes from 6:55AM to 7:05AM, which would have helped but there was another piece to the puzzle.

The hotel vans leave every 20 minutes. Our new "show time" was 6:45AM. The drive to the airport takes 15 minutes.We had to take a 6:20 van to the airport to make the 6:45AM show time. We would normally have taken the 6:20AM van no real time saved by pushing back the departure.

The Captain makes a nice landing and 15 minutes later we are in the hotel van. This hotel is nice and gives the van driver our hotel keys and sign in sheet. This way we go straight from the van to the hotel room.

By 9:30PM I am on the phone with my wife and getting ready for bed. I haven't had an overnight in over a month. It took me a while to get back in the groove of how I set things up.

I carry my own atomic alarm clock. For some reason it isn't showing the correct time for the time zone. Changing the daylight savings setting does nothing. Hmm I set the alarm clock on my phone and on my laptop.

I tossed and turned quite a bit waking up every hour as I was worried about over-sleeping. I have never missed a van time....but never say never.

I'm up at 5:50AM and downstairs by 6:15AM. At 6:20AM we left for the airport. We all cleared TSA by 6:40AM.

After grabbing some yogurt for breakfast I made my way down to the cockpit. After inspecting the plane during my pre-flight, I began setting up the plane for the return flight. Everything was clicking along and at 7:01AM we pushed out of the gate. We were only 6 minutes later than the original departure time.

This particular airport and I don't get along. About a year ago I had my first near runway incursion. The runways and taxiways are very closely spaced. The Captain I was flying with was taxing quickly and was handling the radios while I went through my flow. Everything stopped when I heard a controller screaming our flight number and the words "stop, stop. stop!" I looked up to see the runway hold short line and out of the corner of my eye....a regional jet coming over the numbers. The Captain hit the brakes hard. We stopped just short of the hold short line.

Taxing around airports is much more dangerous than flying. On most planes the Captain is the only one who has the controls to taxi the plane. While he does this the First Officer is busy preparing the plane for takeoff. Most of the time the First Officers head is "down" and not looking outside. Since this almost incident I have made sure to have my head up as much as possible.

This morning I had my head up for most of the taxi. Once again we were told to hold short. The Captain told me to go ahead and finish the taxi checklist. I said I would once we crossed the runway. After we were cleared, I finished up the checklist.

The winds were really gusting. On take off I had a 25 knot direct crosswind. Good times. After a few bumps we were above the clouds and headed home. I hand flew until we reached FL240. I missed flying.


Looking back at the wing from FL360.

One of the Flight Attendants on the trip is quite the character. I have flown with him before and he always gets the Passengers in a great mood regardless of how late we are/bumpy the flight is/or how rough the landing is. Can you see what's coming?

The weather is decent at our destination. I line up for the runway and have the autopilot fly it down to around 800 feet. I clicked off the autopilot and flew it down to the runway.

At 200 feet...looking pretty. At 100 feet it looks like I will land right on the 1000 foot target. At 50 feet...nice. Around 20 feet I notice that my sight picture doesn't look quite right. It's been a month since I landed...the sight picture is getting faded. I don't recall 10 feet. I won't forget 0 feet. Ouch. It was rough. There were no doubts that we landed.

After we pulled into the gate I made a PA "Ladies and Gentleman I doubt you will need any coffee as I am sure you are all awake now. Not sure what that was...I would like to call it a landing. Sorry about the bumps and have a great rest of the day."

The character Flight Attendant told me 4 oxygen mask popped down during the landing. He was kidding. He gave me a hard time (jokingly) about the landing. I told him I was helping out the tire makers of  America as I am sure I burned off a few layers.

A quick phone call to crew scheduling and I was released for the day. I am off the rest of the day and all day tomorrow until 2PM. Not too shabby.


  1. great photo. keep up the good work.

  2. Awesome picture. I love reading your stories and viewing your pics as this is my dream. One question if you don't mind me asking, why did you go offline for that bit of time?

    Thanks, and please continue sharing your wonderful life with us!

  3. Thanks for the kind comment. I took the site down in order to revamp it into a more broad flying/pilot site instead of the previous focus of just my job.


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