Monday, August 2, 2010

Well that was different

At an overnight. I have morning airport reserve all month. Last night I saw a trip open. Nine twenty-five departure, 18 hour overnight, done at 7:25AM. I was the only First Officer available for it.

Sure enough I was called at 7AM while sitting in the bowels of the airport and assigned the trip. Short leg, just over an hour.

The rest of the crew is very senior. Flown with them all before. I took the leg out. Really congested airspace today. Given step climbs instead of the normal 10,000, FL230, FL310.

Coming into the outstation the airspace was very congested as well. The airspace is normally fairly empty.

It's normal to cross 35 miles out at 10,000 feet when flying to this airport. The FMS was set up for that. The controller gave us a very late descent resulting in a 3800 foot per minute requirement. Steep, 4.0 degrees, but doable.

Down went the thrust levers and over went the nose. From FL310 all the way till about 15,000 feet the airplane was clean. I had to deploy the flight spoilers at that point as the plane was approaching MMO, 335 knots.

We were handed off to approach who cleared us to 5,000 feet. Even the approach area was congested. The busy controller called us by the wrong flight number, and we corrected him. A few minutes later something happened that would cause an "issue".

Descending through 8,000 we heard the controller issue someone a descent to 3,000. The flight number was similar to ours, but the call sign was not. We both disregarded it.

The plane leveled at 5,000 and we called the airport in sight. We then overheard a Citation being cleared to 3,000. The Citation was above us and to the right at 6,000.

"Traffic" came from the TCAS and I looked down to see a yellow icon descending onto us. I clicked off the autopilot and began a descent.

Approach called out the traffic. My Captain craned his neck but was able to see the Citation turning away from us. I continued the approach.

We then heard a bit of confusion from the controller. He stated he thought we were going to continue our descent, but never mentioned to what altitude. The Citation requested a 90 degree turn as he was too close to a plane on HIS TCAS (he stated he never saw our plane).

He turned, I landed and then he landed. Off to the overnight. It wasn't an "incident" as much as it was different. If we had not seen the Citation visually it could have been an "incident".

Besides that, I am traveling lighter these days. Just using my Ipad and a Apple Bluetooth Keyboard for connectivity. Being a long overnight and my acute taste in television, I hooked up my Zune to the hotel TV to watch video podcast from the TWIT network. I love my Zune....way better for media than Ipods....just not as well known.

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