Sunday, November 15, 2009

After 2 years I still haven't learned to not answer the phone

'Unknown Caller" or "Unknown Name". Most people don't answer such calls. Heck my wife doesn't answer such calls. I do. When I have to.

When Crew Scheduling calls called ID is blocked. Never asked why. Just is.

I was supposed to do a 5 1/2 hour turn Friday. Friday morning at 8:08AM my phone rang. I saw it was 'Unknown Name'.....I thought for a second...then answered it. Then I heard the words, "Is this First Officer...." Crap.

The rules are if I confirm my assignment the night prior, nothing can be changed with the first flight unless they have positive verbal contact with me. No voicemails, emails, carrier pigeons. Positive verbal contact.

The agent was changing everything on me. Instead of a flight at 11:40AM I now had a flight at 3:50PM AND an overnight. I remarked, "I should have not answered the phone," He came back with "We were going to give you an overnight anyway, this way you have more time at home." Hmm yeah more time at home today, but tomorrow I don't finish until 4PM. Waste of a Saturday.

If I had not answered the phone I still could have made the overnight they assigned me. The difference would be the sit time. NOW I had a 2 1/2 hour sit between my turn and overnight. If I kept the previous flight it would have been a 4 hour sit time.

Of the 3 other crew members, I knew 2 of them. The Captain is a nice Norweigian guy while the front flight attendant happens to be my favorite flight it works out I guess.

Turns out 10 minutes prior to sign in they called to tell me the first turn downgraded to a smaller plane and they wouldn't need me until 9PM. The agent said he wanted to catch me before I left for the airport. Hello 10 minutes prior?!? I was walking off the bus at that point.

I stashed my bags and headed home. It was nice spending time with my wife, but I started getting tired. My wife remarked, "Doesn't this sitting around till late at night make you tired." I replied, "Yes, but I have no choice."

My wife dropped me off at 8:15PM. I grabbed my bags and headed to the gate. As I walked down the jetway my favorite flight attendant welcomed me on board. She is fairly senior but always in a good mood. Around my airline senior and good mood rarely go hand in hand.

The Captain wanted the first leg. Fine with me. We blocked out 5 minutes early. This Captain likes to save fuel. We did a single engine taxi with the APU shutdown. During the taxi I completed a cross bleed engine start using bleed air from the left engine. On short flights I have found most of the fuel savings is had not in flight, but on the ground.

We flew by the book. Nearing the airport he stayed high much longer than normal.

Being a clear night we saw the airport 40 miles away. Twenty miles away we were cleared for a visual approach.

Entering left base at 10,000 feet he idled the engines. he then glided in and used the drag from flaps and gear to reduce speed. He never added power until he called for flaps 30. It was a beautiful approach. He then kissed runway and taxi'd it in.

The hotel was nice. Nothing great.

Sixteen hours later I was back in the cockpit. I planned on flying fast. Clearing 17,000 feet though ATC had other intentions as they told us to maintain 250 knots. Eh...they foiled my plan.

Due to an approaching front though we had a 85 knot tailwind thus negating the speed reduction. Even flying slow though I greased it on 23 minutes early.

Seeing as I was off on Sunday, scheduling released me right away.

Sunday and Monday are my days off. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I'm on reserve. Friday I head into the sim.


  1. Although being an airline pilot is an amazing career, there are plenty of negative aspects. Dealing with crew scheduling maybe one of these based on this blog.... Are you happy so far you made the switch from your prior higher paying job to being a pilot? If you could turn back the clock, would you do it again?

  2. my situation everything works. My wife is able to support me and my profession. Of course she enjoys the perks as well. I was never happy with my previous career in IT. I love computers...but it became work and not fun.


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