Thursday, September 17, 2009

Me, my wife and Robin Meade

Every morning I do my best to wake up with two beautiful women in my bedroom. The first is my wife. The second is Robin Meade. Of course when I am on a trip it's only Robin Meade.

Wednesday I was assigned reserve at home with a 2 hour call out. My shift started at 4AM and stopped at 7PM. There have been many days in the past that I had been called at 4:01AM. Lucky for me Crew Scheduling called at 5:53AM.

When the phone rang I was still in bed. My wife almost didn't answer the phone as the caller id simply said "3303". She figured it was a telemarketer. She thankfully picked it up.

I was half away when one eye open starting at Robin Meade when my wife entered the room and shoved the phone my way. Ugh. "Good Morning First Officer, I have a trip for you leaving at 8:40AM with a sign in at 7:55AM. Nice. This particular Crew Scheduler has been nothing but nice to me in the past. Very good sense of humor.

For the most part the trip was uneventful. One issue did come out headed to the outstation. While on a RNAV STAR the controller cleared us "direct POLKI then direct DRONE". I was the Pilot Not Flying and responded, "Ok cleared direct POLKI then direct DRONE". I saw POLKI on the arrival but had no idea where DRONE was. The controller came back and advised DRONE was on the ILS 4 approach plate. Ahh...okay.

I punched it all in and then confirmed with the Captain. He agreed and I hit execute. Then he had a second thought. He thought we were assigned "after POLKI direct DRONE". For this STAR it didn't matter as the arrival was a straight shot to POLKI. The Captain re-entered the arrival and then put DRONE after POLKI. By the time he was done the controller cleared us direct DONE anyway. Ugh. Too much work for a VFR day!

We arrived in the outstation 15 minutes early. With a light load we left 7 minutes early. This outstation has several intersecting runways.

It was my leg. We were position and hold on runway 22. There was traffic landing runway 30. We were told to be "ready for an immediate" as there was another plane landing on runway 30 that he was going to shoot us out in front of. No biggie. The Captain gave the aircraft to me. The aircraft rolled a bit and I placed my toes on the brakes a little to quickly as the plane abruptly stopped. It's very rare that I use the brakes when the plane is stopped/going slow. Oh well.

I watched the 737 land on runway 30, then it disappeared behind a few buildings. Right then we were cleared for takeoff. I released the brakes and smoothly applied takeoff power. The next moment the 737 crossed our runway. Good clear.

We were assigned a right turn to heading 350. At 400 feet I began a smooth roll to the right. Just past 10,000 feet I clicked on the autopilot.

The entire crew was staffed with reserves. We were all up for reassignment. About 30 minutes from base the ACARS printer began new assignments. Nice.

Roughly 80 miles out I called into our operations that we needed an extra wheelchair. The flight attendant advised one lady would need help getting to her next gate. No biggie...glad to do it.

The winds were 340@9G21. We were assigned runway 28. The clouds were overcast 1800. I setup and briefed the ILS approach. Above the cloud deck the winds were 340@11. The winds died down in the clouds and picked up once under them.

With the gusting winds my speed varied up and down a bit. I added 6 knots to the approach speed and let the speed fluctuate without chasing it.

Landing weight was 62,000 pounds. Runway 28 is 9000 feet long. Our performance charts stated we needed 3200 feet to stop. With the gusty winds I decided to "fly it onto the ground" and left the power in until 10 feet. I abruptly cut the power and started the flare. With the gusting winds and extra 6 knots it floated more than I thought it would. I eased the right main down first, then the left main followed by the nose. With the good headwind and semi-light weight I didn't need much more than reverse thrust to slow down. Minimal brakes around 80 knots by me and the Captain took over and turned off on a high speed exit.

All four crew members were released from duty after parking at the gate. When I called in I got the same Crew Scheduler. I told her "I should be released because I was all comfy and warm in bed this morning, curled up with my Teddy bear when you called." She laughed and replied, "since you gave me such a guilt trip I guess I will release you."

I had the day off today. I picked up a 5 1/2 hour trip on overtime tomorrow. This will bring my overtime for the month to 19 1/2 hours. This should almost pay for our non-rev charges to Tokyo next month. Nice.


  1. I love your blog, but I have to ask:

    Why do you pick up overtime with guys on furlough?

    Kind of defeats the point of being union, don't you think?

  2. I wrestled with picking up overtime with guys on furlough for months. My issue was I had planned on picking up overtime months before the furlough to help pay for our vacation to Tokyo in October. That and the company stating no recalls till January at the earliest made it a little easier to pick up overtime.


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