Monday, June 1, 2009

Sitting at home with pay

Today I will be paid roughly $115 to sit at home. That sounds good, but it's only about 4 hours of pay. I am on call today from 4AM (when I was comfy in bed) until 7PM. I've covered the Rules of Engagement before. I will be the first reserve to be called if needed. For the next 6 days I am on reserve. Looks like I will get afternoon airport standby later in the week for at least one day...maybe two. Eh.

I flew 58 hours 35 minutes last month. By contract I was paid for 75 hours of flight time. If I were to have flown more than 75 hours, I would have been paid the extra time. So far I have never flown more than 60 hours in a reserve month. Who knows, maybe this month will be "the month". I have a feeling it could get ugly. Who knows.

With my request to move my reserve days around this month denied, I began thinking of things to do on my off days. Most of my off days are weekdays. Since my better half has to work anyway I began thinking of places to go.

Next Monday I might take a day trip to Washington, DC to visit the Air & Space Museum. I have been there once before in December 2007. That trip was the first time my wife and I used our Non-Rev benefits.

The flight out was fine, we enjoyed the morning flight in First Class. The Capital has an awesome subway system. The trains are clean and are cheap to travel on. We were able to go straight from the airport to the museum for $2.50 round trip! We had an awesome day walking around before heading back to the airport. Once there we had our first case of "WTF??"

The flight loads looked great in the morning before we left. We listed on the last flight out that night. When we got to the airport we checked in and then waited. Standby passengers were being called to board...a lot of them. Something was off. Why weren't we being called!?!!?!?

The gate agent called me up, there was only room for me in the cockpit jumpseat. Uh oh. My wife would have to stay the night. Not good. I stated I would wait with her. Then it happened.

A passenger had a dog in a dog carrier that was an inch or two too big too fit under the seat in front of him. He couldn't board. My wife and I were rushed down the jet bridge. She grabbed a seat while I turned into the cockpit. I had never been in a cockpit jumpseat before. Heck I had never been in the cockpit of an airliner before (this was right after my initial check ride in the simulator, but before me actually flying). I introduced myself to the crew and thankfully they were very helpful. They showed me how to operate the jumpseat and where my oxygen mask was.

The flight was fine. I even got a First Class meal! Sitting in the jumpseat of a 737 was interesting. The workload seemed a little higher than my aircraft. The crew told me that Southwest airlines was the initial customer for this model. Even though the plane was just a few years old, all of the overhead panel was designed more than 10 years ago. Why?

Well Southwest wants all of their cockpits to be the same. Southwest flies several versions of the 737 including some that have "steam gauges" and switches. On newer 737's the cockpit has LCD's for the gauges, which are quite different than steam gauges. In order to maintain commonality Southwest projects steam gauges on the LCD'S and requested the overhead panel feature the old fashioned switches and knobs versus the more recent flat buttons. This causes the workload to be a little higher as systems that could be automatic, are still manually operated. A Southwest pilot flying a 737-300 sees the same cockpit when he flies a 737-700.

Next week the flight loads look good. I will check again on Saturday and make my decision.


  1. You should try flying into IAD. The Air & Space extension, known as the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center ( is located on the Airport boundary (although you'll have to take a 5 minute taxi ride to get to the actual museum. They have more planes stuck into the space than anywhere else I've been except for Pima, in Tucson ( In addition to exotics such as the Space Shuttle and a complete SR71 with extra engines, they have the first 707, and tons of other planes. There's a catwalk around the perimeter that allows you to see things from on high. When you look under the wing of the 707, there's another plane - and another under that one's wing as well. And of course, there are many suspended from the ceiling, that are at eye-level from the catwalk. There's a separate section for rotary-wings, and for engines.

    There's also a tower that overlooks IAD - I'm told you get to listen in to live radio chatter (but I haven't been to the tower, yet).

    Have fun!

  2. take pics and post, especially the Udvar-Hazy aanex. I have tried several times to get there, but am always rushing to catch a flight. have fun.


If you are a spammer....your post will never show up. Move along.