Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Beats airport standby

I got a three day trip. This came in handy as my mother in law was in town and well....hanging out with her all day.....she's a nice lady and all....but...well.

The trip was supposed to start with my signing in at 5:20PM and blocking out at 6:05PM. Supposed to.

I did indeed sign in at 5:20PM. Heck I was in the cockpit ready to go at 6:10PM (inbound plane didn't arrive until 5:50PM). But leaving even close to on time...was not to be.

Sunday was mothers day...also the first day of a new baggage system to be put in use. The rampers loaded up the bags....then had a miscount. They unloaded all the bags....then reloaded them.....then had a computer problems. My overnight was SCHEDULED for 8 1/2 hours. Reduced rest.

At 7:18PM (63 minutes late so overnight was now roughly 7 1/2 hours!) we blocked out. My leg. Windy.

Flying fast was pointless. Just flew the planned speed. We were already under 8 hours. Scheduling would adjust our schedule to give us exactly 8 hours....not a minute more.

[singlepic id=446 w=640 h=480 float=center]

Coming into the airport environment we called the airport insight while turning base. I looked down and then back up...and lost the airport. Clear skies...but the city lights washed out the runway. The Captain had it in sight.

I was well inside of the final approach fix for the runway and a little high. I clicked off the autopilot and began dirtying up the plane while searching for the runway and using my MFD to make sure I was on a base leg. Busy cockpit as I had the flight spoilers fully extended trying to descend and slow down. Oxymoron indeed. Coming through 1000 feet I saw the runway. I was blazing down at 180 knots, flaps 20 gear down. Out went the flight spoilers and flaps 30. By 700 feet I had flaps 45. At 600 feet I stowed the flight spoilers. Touchdown.

We blocked in at 10:51PM. We were scheduled to arrive at 9:35PM and depart at 7:05AM. While I did the post flight the Captain ran the numbers for rest. He figured if scheduling reduced our show time to 20 minutes prior to departure, we would be scheduled to leave at 7:06AM and be fully legal. That's exactly what they did.

Our "rest" began at 11:06PM. We were all waiting for the hotel van at that time. While waiting I called scheduling and stated we wanted 8 hours of rest starting when we arrived at the hotel, versus it starting now. They had no problems with the request. The hotel van finally arrived and a slew of passengers walked toward it. Nice. Thankfully room for all of us.

We walked into the hotel at 11:25PM. I called scheduling. Our new "show time" was 7:38AM. We would get a full 8 hours of rest.

At 7:20AM the next day we were in the hotel van headed for the airport. We would be flying the same plane we flew in the night prior. There was already a MEL for a SSCU computer which controls the spoilers. On my way back up the stairs after the preflight I noticed the passengers heading back up the jetbridge. When I reached the cockpit I saw why, the other SSCU computer was also showing faulted. Can't go with both INOP. Glad we had 8 hours rest.

A contract mechanic was standing by, pretty sure my airline pays them to hang out for kick off flights. After running a spoiler function test (which is a sight too see as the spoilers go up and down in a little dance) both computers showed to be online. we blocked out at 8:30AM. Being so late we would misconnect for our next turn. We all would enjoy 4 1/2 hours of airport appreciation upon our return.

A front was moving through the airport. Winds were 170@20G29 and we were assigned runway 12. Winds at 1500 feet were 220@45. Big shift. The Captain worked the controls all the way down to a very nice landing.

[singlepic id=447 w=640 h=480 float=center]

During my sit I toyed with the idea of going home for lunch. I had left all the food I purchased for the trip at home. I "ran the numbers" and figured I would burn an hour and one gallon of gas going to and from. I stayed at the airport and had an employee lunch special for $6.

All the wind were causing delays. We blocked out 36 minutes late for the overnight. Just prior to takeoff the tower warned of a 20 knot gain due to wind shear by a preceding aircraft. My leg.

I briefed the Captain that I would be delaying rotation by at least 20 knots. Max tire speed is 182 knots. VR was planned for 124 knots. Wind was 170@24G35. At VR I did nothing. I let the speed build up. Sure enough the airspeed lept forward a bit then died off. At roughly 140 knots I slowly rotated. By 160 knots we were off the ground.  The ride was bumpy from the ground until roughly 4000 feet. I decided to hand fly and work it versus let George (nickname for the autopilot) fly. Airspeed was up and down by 10 knots or so. Finally above the clouds the air smoothed out.

Weather at the outstation wasn't much better. Winds 120@14G21. Landing runway 4. Winds at 3000 feet were 220@40. Huge tailwind. With the large tailwind I had to click off the autopilot and level off as the plane wouldn't slow down enough while on the glide slope. With the gusty winds I left the power in longer than normal. At 20 feet I slapped the thrust levers closed and used rudder to align with the runway and aileron into the wind. Nice touchdown.

We had compensatory rest of 13 hours on night two.

This morning I had just one leg in. Captains leg. Arrived a few minutes early and done. I'm on reserve tomorrow and off Thursday thru Sunday. My father in law arrives Friday. Thinking about taking him on a day trip.


  1. I apologize for asking because im sure you've said it before, but what airline do you work for

  2. I would love to be more open as to my employer, but then I couldn't be as open as I am in other areas...thus I work for a regional airline in the United States. Sorry I can't be more open.

  3. @Ryan6982 you'll find most pilots who share their adventures through the web dont express their airline name! which is good i suppose


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