Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ask and ye shall not receive

My quick turn today was okay. I "Princess Parked" at the terminal to save time. "Princess" parking is parking at the terminal instead of the employee lot. I have to pay to "Princess Park" but I save 30 minutes on each side of my trip. Since I was only going to be gone for 3 hours it would only cost $5. Not bad at all.

The plane I flew had been down for maintenance all day. The rampers pulled it over to the gate 30 minutes prior to departure. I went down to the plane to find a steaming hot cabin. The rampers had not bothered to hook up external air or power. Thanks guys!

After turning on the battery master and performing a fire test (required before starting the APU for the first time each day), I fired up the APU and turn on both packs. Once I saw it cooling down I went out to do my pre-flight.

During the walk around I noticed gear pins in each main gear. They had been left over from the mechanics. Nice. A quick call to maintenance and they came and removed them.

The Captain I flew with is one of my favorites. Nice guy with a sense of humor like mine. This should have been an easy turn. It's VFR outside, the plane is ready and has plenty of fuel. Wait....too much fuel.

The plane had been fueled to go across the country, not across the state (like my flight was). We only needed 6400 pounds of fuel....there was 15,800 pounds on board. Ooops. Technically we could have taken off with all the fuel and been under max landing weight (only 35 pax on board). The problem would be the return flight. We were scheduled to be full. No bueno.

De-fueling an aircraft takes time. Today it took an extra 20 minutes to pull of 6000 pounds of fuel. The dispatcher had us ferrying over 3500 pounds of fuel so we ended up leaving with around 9700 pounds total.

With VFR skies we actually made up the 20 minutes in the air and arrived just 1 minute late. The Captain took this leg and had one of "those" landings. We both laughed it off. After running the parking checklist I stated I would go out and make sure the tires were still round. Ha!

My leg back was pretty normal. This airport gives an initial climb to altitude of 17000 feet....most of the time. Today after takeoff we were assigned 9000 feet and to turn left heading 130. We took off from runway 31. Around heading 250 the sun was shooting straight into my eyes. I had enough and turned the autopilot on.

Total air time between the two cities is only 40 minutes on average. Pretty quick.

During training on my plane I was taught to cut the power at 50 feet. Doing do is perfectly safe...but will almost guarantee a firm/rough landing. Most of us simply start reducing power at 50 feet and have it closed by 10 feet. Today, for a reason I am still not sure of, I reduced power just slightly at 100 feet. By 10 feet I had the power closed. I then noticed a higher than normal sink rate. Quickly I added powered and pushed forward on the yoke a bit, waited for the engines to spool and then pulled back on the yoke. If I had simply pulled back on the yoke it would have made things worse due to the thrust vector. All in all I scavenged up from a firm landing into an average one.

Most of the time the Captain take over steering at 80 knots. Today the Captain offered to let me steer...kinda. I have up to 8 degrees steering with the rudder pedals. I can't make 90 degree turn offs, but I can make high speed turn offs. Around 40 knots I made the left turn off. From there I was able to taxi pretty well for a while before encountering a 90 degree turn where he finally took over. It was fun though.

Since I "Princess Parked" there was no way we could be assigned a gate anywhere near where I parked (near gate 6). We were assigned gate 26! Long walk. Yeah I am lazy.

Tomorrow. Oh tomorrow.

I proffered (bid) for a trip out of another base. This particular trip had 3 overnights in the city I grew up in. The overnight were long enough that my dad could come up to the hotel and have lunch with me. Technically my bids for trips in other bases while on reserve are ignored by crew scheduling. I put it in anyway, just in case. I checked my assignment when I got back to base. I got a trip out of the other base alright.....but not the one I wanted!

I really, really, really don't care for this other base. I've said before that I hate it. Thankfully I only fly in and out of it tomorrow. The trip is 4 days long. After going in and out of hell tomorrow, days 2 and 3 are out of my current base. On the last day I simply deadhead home early in the morning. I should have the rest of Saturday off.

Gotta pack for a four day. Not sure what's worse...going through the city I call hell....or afternoon airport standby.


  1. Ok so I looked at what I proffered (bid) for. Turns out I got EXACTLY what I asked for. The trips to the city I grew up in started today...I had it stuck in my head. Oh well....beats airport standby.

  2. The fuel thing confuses me (easy to do on a good day anyway) - with that amount of fuel in the plane and a plane full of passengers it makes it a no-go for landing? Safety reason?

  3. For any flight we have to have enough fuel to take off safely (under max takeoff weight, 75000 pounds in my case), fly to the destination (enroute fuel burn), make an approach, fly 30 minutes thereafter (for VFR conditions) and land under max landing weight (67000 pounds in my case). With 15000 pounds of fuel and 35 passengers our takeoff weight was 67000 pounds which was fine for the trip out. We would have landed with 12000 pounds of fuel and a weight of 64000 pounds. The problem would have cropped up on the return trip. With 12000 pounds of fuel on board and now 70 passengers, our takeoff weight would have been 72000 pounds. With an enroute fuel burn of 3000 pounds (around there), we would have been over max landing weight.


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