I have flown more by the 12th of this month than I did all of March. I flew 16 hours on reserve last month. When I go to bed tonight I will have flown 18 hours. The difference? Morning standby and planes needing maintenance.
Getting up at 5AM got old on day one. The morning rush of airport employees is much greater than the afternoon. Fighting for seat space on the bus with the rampers, gate agents and everyone else sucks. The buses that are used for employee buses have room for about 4 employee bags. The rental car buses have more room for bags! The rest of the bags are stacked on chairs or in the aisle. Nice eh?
Had an interesting flight yesterday. Flew a plane that I Ferry'd out of maintenance last week. When we picked it up we had a problem with a main cabin door indication. It showed closed, but when we fired up the engines we got a main cabin door master warning. After the mechanics cycled the door a few times it was fine. Never gave us another problem.
Sunday morning a buddy of mine flew it in and mentioned the same issue with the same plane. It was written up and checked out fine. Hmm.
When we departed everything was fine. Mid-flight at FL380 we got a PAX DOOR HANDLE caution. After running the checklist, no action required beyond monitoring cabin pressure. The main cabin door is a plug type door meaning as the plane pressurizes, it helps seal up the door. A few minutes later the caution went out.
At the outstation we loaded up passengers, closed the door, started the engines....and were assaulted by master warning lights and the word "door! door!" booming over the flight deck speakers. After a inspection by a mechanic...we were on our way. A sensor on the outer handle was just slightly out of alignment. Problem solved.
Sitting ready this morning I was hoping to not go anywhere....I still have to do our taxes. No luck. Deadheading out to a maintenance base, ferrying a plane back, sitting around and then ferrying another plane back to the maintenance base for an overnight. At the but crack of dawn (5:50AM departure....5:00AM van) I deadhead back. Hopefully I will be done when I get back.
The reason for all the maintenance? Many airlines do major maintenance/upgrades in April/May to get ready for the summer travel season.
Bidding for May opens soon....sure would like my afternoon standby line back.