Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Six minutes

I love what I do, I sometimes despise the circumstances in which I do it.

This trip started yesterday morning with one leg to an overnight. The hotel we have for an overnight is decent. My main issue is the morning van times. They are set at 4:40AM, 5:10AM and 5:40AM. It's a 10 minute ride to the airport. We are required to "show" at the airport 45 minutes prior to departure. The departure was set for 6:25AM. Thus a 5:30AM van would have been perfect. 5:40AM is too late. So we had a 5:10AM van. My day really started with a 4:40AM alarm clock going off.

Since we were at the airport almost an hour early I had plenty of time. I checked my schedule before hopping on the plane. Once I arrived in base at 7:35AM I expected to be released.

Normal flight. Thirty minutes out I got a printout...I had been extended.

Once in base I checked my schedule. Assigned 4 more flights (2 turns) expected finish....3:05PM. Nice.

Four legs had been added on. All due to lack of staffing on the smaller jet. Fine. On leg 4 I was fairly tired. I could tell I wasn't 100%. My leg. On approach everything was kosher until about 100 feet. The wind kicked up and I was a little slower to react than normal. I worked it down but landed long...3,ooo feet down a 7,000 foot runway. With about 500 feet left in the touchdown zone the mains touched down. Full reverse and moderate braking and we pulled off with 1500 feet left.

Once at the gate I checked my schedule....just for grins. Unbelievable I had ANOTHER 2 legs added on. I was not amused. I grabbed a snack and soft drink. Felt better.

Captains leg back. On time arrival at 3:05 PM.  Once at the gate the Captain, also reserve, called to get released. Done. I was scheduled to fly the same plane at 4:20PM.

I grabbed my bags and headed to the crew room. Prepared to call in fatigued I checked my schedule one more time. Looking at it something didn't add up. Actually it added up to be too much....by six minutes.

At that point I had flown 5 hours 51 minutes. The two turns I was expected to do totaled 2 hours 15 minutes. Total.....8 hours and six minutes of expected flying. Six minutes too much. Illegal.

If this schedule had been built to 7 hours 55 minutes and I went 10 minutes long on leg 5, I would have still be fine under the , "legal to start, legal to finish." BS. This schedule had been pieced together.

When I called scheduling I politely asked to be released. The scheduler stated I had another turn. I then stated I would be flying more than 8 hours at which point she released me. That's where this post should end.

Thirty minutes later I was at the grocery store picking up dinner. My phone rang. Unknown caller. Time....4:10PM. I didn't answer. I love Google voice...the service transcribed the voicemail. It was scheduling asking where I was as the flight left in 10 minutes. I finished my shopping. In the car I called back and stated I had been released for the day. That agent stated okay and sorry for calling. That's where this post should end.

Ten minutes later I got another call. Unknown. I answered, "Hello,". "First Officer, where are you? The flight is scheduled to leave right now," the voice said. "I now consider this harassment. I have called scheduling twice. I was released from duty. Goodbye." and I ended the phone call.

This is where this post ends.

1 comment:

  1. It must be a difficult job to work as a call-handler in scheduling, when a) the company doesn't have enough pilots so the schedulers are put in situations like this, and b) the information systems used by the schedulers apparently aren't good enough to indicate quickly that you were no longer available. Just remember that the person on the other end of the line is doing their job too! I like the Google Voice - > transcribed voicemail setup...good way to find out what they want right away without having to talk to them, or have to deal with checking voicemail...


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