Sunday, April 18, 2010

Didn't see this one coming

I arrived in the crewroom at 5:45AM...early. The computers were down in the entire terminal. I was going to head to the sleep room when I decided to just call crew scheduling and check in. Glad I did.

Scheduling :"Good Morning First Officer, my you're early."

Me: "Yeah, just wanted to call and be the first to let you know the computers are down."

Scheduling: "We now, you're second, did you get my email about your trip at 7:20AM?"

Me: "No, the computers are down."

Scheduling: "Oh yeah, well I have you on a 4 day trip covering all your reserve days."

Me: "Is that legal per contract?"

See I'm a "line holder" in that I have standby all month. They can't take me off standby unless:

1) There is no one else available

2) The trip is prebuilt and has legs that are out of base

I fell into #2. No First Officers available until 10AM. None available for the entire trip. Days 2 and 3 are thru another domicile. I was the only pilot available.

I haven't had a 4 day trip in a long time. My overnight bag for airport standby is packed for 2 days...sometimes 3. Quick to the geek car!

Thankfully I live close. On the way home I called my wife...who wasn't happy as she was still sleeping. I needed her to drive me back to the airport. I made it home, tossed some additional clothes in my bag, swapped computers (I had initially taken my Netbook, wanted my Macbook Pro for a 4 day) and headed back to the airport.

My wife dropped me off at 6:35AM. With only 4 passengers for the first leg we blocked out 10 minutes early. My leg.

During climb out we got a Rudder Limit Fault status message. The rudder was still working fine, but something was wrong. Nothing major as the out station had contract mechanics.

Halfway to the outstation the weather dropped below mins fast. Not forecasted. We slowed down and stayed high. Eighty miles out still at FL290 we realized we couldn't land. If we diverted to an alternate we would be stuck as the alternates we had don't have contract mechanics. The Rudder Limit Fault is a no dispatch item. We had plenty of fuel to simply return to base. That's what we did.

After getting back, the mechanics cleared the fault and out we went again.....3 hours late. My leg again. I managed a surprisingly smooth landing (light weight plus gusty wind no less!).

The outstation only had one gate...which was occupied. Thirty minutes after landing we pulled into the gate. My flight to the overnight was supposed to leave at 11:35AM. We blocked into the out station at 11:42AM.

We arrived back in base at 1:17PM and were now scheduled to dead head to the overnight at 2PM. I hate deadheading. At least on my own airline I can board with the crew and get settled...which is what I did.

Instead of a scheduled 15 hours I have 12. Not horrible.

Tomorrow starts with a 5:40AM van. Here's the rest of my 4 day trip


Flight :

Depart City A at 620AM arrive City B 640 AM (different time zone)

Depart City B at 720AM arrive City C 840AM

Depart City C at 910AM arrive City B at 1025AM

Depart City B at 1110AM arrive City D at 225PM


Depart City D 0600AM arrive City B 725AM

Depart City B at 840AM arrive City E 1105AM

Depart City E 1135AM arrive City B 1215PM

Depart City B 105PM arrive City F 2:45PM


Depart City F 800AM arrive in MY domicile 9:15AM

At least this trip has decently long overnights. Monday night I have 14 1/2 hours while Tuesday night I have 16 hours.

Originally this trip had 19 hours of flying, due to the deadhead it's down to just over 16. As of right now I have 1135 hours at my airline and 1690 hours total time. Not a lot...especially considering I started flying almost 4 years ago. My anniversary is May 5....I started ATP May 5 2006.

Now for sleep.


  1. Your doing great with the blog.. Keep em coming.

  2. Your "interview" post got me thinking... how was airline training for you? Reason I ask is, I ran into an old pilot-friend the other day at the airport. He was the CFI that I flew with on my very first flight. Now he's an ERJ FO at another regional. I got to talking to him about his experience so far flying for an airline... he talked for some time about the training... said it was the hardest thing he'd ever done in his life. And this guy's a smart guy... a CFI/II/MEI, commercial-helicopter, SIC in a King Air 350... he's done a lot. But he went on and on about how hard the training was. What was your experience like?

  3. was tough...but it's all a building block. Private Pilot was tough...then the Multi was hard...then my IFR ticket was hard. Commercial was stressful but outmatched by my CFI. Airline training was hard. The instructors were top notch and knowledgeable, but they don't hold hands. If you can't keep your head above water, they will find someone else. Is it doable? Obviously yes. I'm just an average guy and got by fine. Just like at ATP, when you start at airline keep your eye on the prize and keep outside issues...outside. No going home every weekend. It's 6-10 weeks that will help start....or end your career. I'll try and write a few post this week when I head out on a vacation Wednesday.


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