Thursday, May 28, 2009

Flying again.....

Back on the line. Signed in for airport standby at 5:59 minute to spare. Being gone for 8 days, I had a lot of manuals to update.

A buddy of mine who worked at the same ATP location as me was also sitting ready. When I walked in the crew room he was slumped over sleeping in front of his laptop. Odd. I took a seat next to him and began updating my manuals. He woke up and said he as happy to see me. His laptop was having issues.

Over the next hour I updated my manuals and helped him troubleshoot Windows XP. I finally got him back up and running. Another reason to buy a viruses. Prior to flying I spent 8 years in the computer industry troubleshooting hardware and software. I know more about computers than I do about flying (I have been a geek for 20+ years!).

As soon as he was up and running my phone rang. I was assigned a flight leaving in 25 a gate 20 gates away. Nice.

After I gathered my things I made my way. I arrived 15 minutes to departure. The front flight attendant looked familiar. She asked if I was the pilot she talked to a few months ago on a subway up north. Then it clicked. My wife and I were on a day trip on a subway when a lady saw my crew tag on my laptop bag. I mentioned my airline and she said she worked for the same one in my base. I have not seen her since. The Captain is a guy I have flown with a few times. Nice guy, former chief pilot. He already did the preflight and called a mechanic to inspect one of the fan blades on the right engine. There was a good chunk of a blade bent. I made my nest and relaxed. The rear flight attendant came up to the cockpit. I have flown with her a few times as well. We spent a few minutes chit chatting before the plane was signed off as ready to go.

He gave the first leg to me. I haven't flown in 8 days. Doesn't seem like much....but it kinda is.

Being a beautiful VFR day I wanted to enjoy to view. Around 7000 feet I turned the plane east (following the RNAV departure) and turned the autopilot on. The sun was shining right into my eyes thru my sunglasses...annoying.

We spent the next 30 minutes getting back up to speed on what was going on with each other. I have flown this route so many times I could do it by landmarks....well maybe not at FL310...but probably a little lower.

The winds were out of the south and we were coming in from the south. This meant we would have to fly a downwind. We were 5 minutes late so I leveled off at 10,000 feet and flew at 310knots until I was about 5 minutes from the airport. I then idled the thrust levers and slowed to 250 knots and then began descending at 1700 feet a minute to be at 5000 feet just east of the airport.

Once on the downwind I slowed to 210 knots and began setting up for landing.

As I turned base we were under the clouds and could see the airport. We were cleared for a visual approach to 22L. Runway 22L has a displaced localizer for the ILS. Most flights I will use the ILS as a backup to what I am seeing outside. This morning I had the ILS tuned in, but kept my eyes mostly outside as the displaced localizer gives conflicting information. For most landings, 60% power on the N1 gauges will hold very close to approach speed. This morning that wasn't happening. When I had 60% N1 I was 15 knots fast. Odd. I pulled the power to too slow. I crossed the fence 5 knots fast. Ehhh....I started correcting from a right crosswind and then floated a g00d 2700 feet. The runway is 9300 feet long. I made a squirrely landing and popped out the thrust reversers. Decent....giggly landing.

After 30 minutes we pushed out again. Captains leg. This airport is odd. Turbojets are assumed to be ready to go when they reach the end of the runway. We can sit there all day without them talking to us. In order to leave we have to call and let them know we are ready. Whatever.

The flight was fine. Once I returned I was assigned to sit the rest of my ready reserve stint. I have 1 hour 45 minutes left.

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