Wednesday, March 24, 2010

No crew line at airports makes us look like asses

For the first time in at least 6 months...maybe longer....I flew to a new airport.

Sunday was my birthday....sat airport reserve that afternoon. Around 6PM I was called for 7:30PM departure for a long 17 hour overnight.

The inbound plane was already running 30 minutes late. The original crew was running 2 hours late. My Captain and I were both airport reserve.

I met the Captain at the plane. We were waiting on a flight attendant. Due to weather there were no reserve flight attendants available. Crew scheduling tried junior manning 3 flight attendants before they finally "hooked" one.

This particular flight attendant and I had flown together before. She is somewhat senior, been here about 7 years, and very sassy. She doesn't take crap from anyone, but is very nice and humorous.

She had just come in from her fourth leg, 6th hour of flying. We were told she would be taking a meal break. Totally understandable as she hasn't had a break since starting at 7AM that morning.

Yadda, yadda, yadda we didn't push out until 9:26PM.

Captain's leg. The airplane had one FMS wasn't working. Not a major deal as this plane had dual FMS units installed. There were a few things we had too do to comply. The most visual item was my "needles" were yellow instead of white. Normally the needles are white when using on-side FMS data.

[singlepic id=445 w=640 h=480 float=]

Normal flight out. Due to headwinds we made up zero minutes.

The hotel van was waiting for us. Another flight crew was inside.

Things started nicely when the van driver passed back our hotel keys. Nice. This saves a few minutes.

When we arrived at the hotel the van driver told the other crew too stay put, but for us too get out. Hmmm. We soon figured out why.

We were in building "5". The other crew was in building "4" where the crew room was also located. Some hotels have crew rooms with of snacks, coffee, microwaves, a TV and a computer.

My first hotel room was VERY stuffy when I walked in. I made a B-line for the "A/C'" unit. The "A/C" unit was just a fan speed temp control....I hit the "high" fan speed button. Hmm. When I turned around I saw a "thermostat". It was set on 70 but it showed 78 in the room. After 10 minutes I had enough.

When I made it back to the front desk the Captain was there. We both got new building 4. Building 4 has individual A/C units. Building 5 has one A/C unit for the entire floor, thus the hot room! The next day I learned every other flight crew was in building 4. No idea why we were being screwed.

After 15 hours....back in the hotel van.The van was full with 4 other airline crews!

When we got to the airport I was sad too see no dedicated crew line for security. This was no small town airport, but a major international airport and a hub for another airline. Yet no dedicated crew lines.

I hate it when I have to cut in line for screening. The line was so long I (along with 3 other airline crews) had no choice. It makes us all look like asses.

After clearing I made my way to the same plane we brought in the night prior. The flight attendant from the night before deadheaded home that morning, our "new" flight attendant deadheaded up on the inbound and was already on board. She had been going since 6 AM and this would be leg 7!!!!

It's standard to use a "flex" or reduced power takeoff at my airline when able. Some conditions require max thrust such as rain, contaminated runways, high winds or MEL requirements.

While setting up the plane I used the performance charts and put in a "flex" power setting that was mid-range between min and max for our takeoff weight. I know people much smarter than I designed the computer program that takes into a account every runway at every airport my plane flies too and plots power settings that comply with all FAA safety and performance requirements. Using the max number should be fine.....but eh....mid-range works for me.

We blocked out one minute late. Eh.

The Captain turned the plane onto the runway (which was about 7200 feet long) and said, "your aircraft". I responded, "my aircraft", and smoothly advanced the thrust levers. At VR there seemed to be very little runway left.  We were on the edge of the touchdown zone for the opposite direction runway. Wow. Glad I didn't use the highest (meaning further reduced) "flex" power setting. It was totally safe but my "sight picture' was off as I normally take off from 9000+ foot runways.

Right behind us was a mainline flight, from another airline, also heading to my base. It was a much more powerful plane and by F310 it was higher and slightly faster than we were.

Flying a Mach .79, the headwinds were lighter than predicted. The FMS estimated we would be 30 minutes early. Score!

As it turned out we indeed landed 30 minutes early. That mainline flight from the other airline landed right next too us.

It turned out they pulled into their gate way before us as their gate was way closer than ours. We blocked in 16 minutes early. Not bad at all.

Being so late at night, I was released.

Tuesday was a day of airport reserve again. Didn't get used.

Today I am on reserve at home. Hope to not get used. Need to work on our taxes.

No comments:

Post a Comment

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