The FAA has lots of rules for flight crews at 121 carriers. Making sure I don't violate myself or get violated is a constant battle. There is a really good book I bought while a CFI that I thumb through every now and then. The book is titled Everything Explained for the Professional Pilot. The book isn't cheap, but it is more than worth the money. I read the book cover to cover when I was a CFI. There were even times I referenced the book when designing lesson plans for my students. I love this book.
One rule for flight crews is that we can not be on duty 7 days in a row. Tomorrow is my day 6. For this month I was assigned the afternoon ready reserve (airport standby) line. On the assigned days of ready reserve I sign into a company computer terminal by 2PM and call crew scheduling at 10PM to get released. Between those times I am supposed to be somewhere on airport property waiting for my phone to ring. Sounds fun eh? It's not.
For most of the month I was assigned 4 days on and three days off. This month started on March 2nd. Last month I had morning ready reserve. Last month ended on March 1st. I worked morning ready reserve on February 28th and March 1st. Take those 2 days and the first 4 days of this month and you get 6 days in a row of duty.
My line had me working ready reserve for the first 3 days of each 4 day stint followed by a regular reserve day on the last day. The reason I don't have ready reserve on the last day is due to most afternoon/evening flights are to the overnight. It would not make sense to have me fly to an overnight if I am off the following day. The contract has wording reflecting this scenario. The only way I could be assigned ready reserve on the last day is if there are no other First Officers in my status who are good for (i.e. have the next day as a reserve day) an overnight. What are the odds right? Ha. This scenario has played out for me. Tomorrow I was assigned afternoon ready reserve again. Things could get interesting.
If I am assigned a flight tomorrow night that goes to an overnight I will be "stuck" at the overnight for a few days. Why?
Well I am supposed to have Friday and Saturday off. I am illegal to work Friday due to a 7 day conflict. The company can not have me perform any work related functions on that day. Deadheading is considered duty thus I can not deadhead home Friday. Thus if I am sent to an overnight tomorrow night the earliest I can come back home is Saturday.
Since I was supposed to have Saturday off, once I return from my deadhead I can request 2 additional days off this month. On Sunday I start another 5 days of ready reserve. Why 5 and not 4? Well I moved my days around this month so I can go on vacation with my wife and not use real vacation days. If I deadhead home on Saturday this will turn into a 6 day duty stint. If something odd happens on day 6 I could again be put into a 7 day conflict.
The company computers normally catch 7 day conflicts, but it is truly up to the pilot to make sure they are legal. Back when I had a line I used Airplane Pilot Daily Logbook to help me stay legal. Being on reserve it's not much use to me. Speaking of Airplane Pilot Daily Logbook I also use another product called Logbook Pro. I will go into that nifty piece of software tomorrow.