Sunday, September 26, 2010

Back in the saddle

I got to fly again. Sat airport reserve Friday. I was the only First Officer good for an overnight. I saw a trip open (6:00PM departure) due to the original First Officer not being able to commute in. The trip was one leg to an overnight, two legs the next day and a dead head home.

Crew scheduling has two different teams. One works on the current day while the other works on the future.

The future desk had already assigned me a 4 day trip leaving Saturday night. It was a sweet trip, very easy. Around 5:20PM I noticed the 4 day trip was gone and the overnight was assigned to me. Fine.

I walked out to the plane and dropped my bags off. During my walk around my phone rang...time 5:40PM. Scheduling. Glad they waited 20 minutes to call me.

I'd flown with the Captain a few times. Great sense of humor. I told him I hadn't flown since August 14th. He responded with, "Oh good that means you're eager, you can drive!" Hmmm k.

Normal flight. Thankfully I didn't forget how to takeoff. All was normal until landing.

We were assigned 20R. Everything was set up for it. Visual approach clear night sky.

Turning base the ERJ ahead asked for, and was given 20L....closer to the terminal. Tower then asked if we saw the ERJ. We did. We were then told to follow him and cleared to land 20L. Hmmm k.

I turned off my flight director and did it the old fashioned way. First landing since August 14th. First night a long while. Under 121 night landings aren't needed, just 3 landings in 90 days.

The ERJ slowed a little more aggresively than I was expecting. My MFD showed they were a little less than 2 miles ahead. I called for full flaps and slowed.

Around 30 feet things looked good. At 20 feet I began the flare and pulled the thrust out a little too aggresively. By 10 feet I worked it all out to a top 5 landing.

Great hotel...a Marriott.

I haven't had many full nights sleep lately due to being a new dad. Thus I woke up 2 hours before the van time. Done sleeping...I walked over to Denny's for breakfast.

The next leg was somewhat ironic. It was to the New York area airport where I was previously on TDY...and never flew.

Due to runway inspection/repair the New York area airport didn't have all runways in use. We were following a Airtran 717. The 717 was turning short final when a Delta 757 was given takeoff clearance. Things were very tight.

The 717 was almost over the numbers when we turned base. "Citrus go around, 757 still on the runway". "Was that go around for Citrus?"  "Affirmative, turn left heading 270 climb maintain 2000".

Our landing clearance came and it was uneventful....thankfully.

My leg out. Number 6 for takeoff. A crazy orchestrated show of closely timed takeoff and landings going on. When we were number 2 a United 757 was in position for takeoff. A Continental 757 was turning final. United was on the roll. Continental asked if they were cleared to land. Tower told them to continue, "landing clearance on short final." United lifted off as Continental was cleared to 400 feet AGL.

My takeoff was fine, stiff crosswind. The flight was overblocked as many New York area flights are. By padding the times the flights will be on time or more likely early most of the time.

I landed long....which was okay given the 10,000 foot runway. I had a planned 2 hour sit for a 3 hour deadhead back to base to sit for 1 hour to fly one hour to an overnight for a 12 1/2 hour duty day.

To say I wasn't enthusiastic about sitting around for 6 hours to fly 1 hour is a no brainer.

Thankfully weather was on my side. My deadhead was 40 minutes late giving me a 20 minute connect time.

Scheduling likely wouldn't keep too close an eye me...since the same day team lives in the next 20 minutes...not the next 3 hours. I decided to "warn" them that an on time departure to my overnight was unlikely.

The scheduler I spoke with seemed somewhat new. He said he would take a "look at it" and likely take me off and that I should call him when I arrive in base. Hmmm k.

Long flight. Arrived only 20 minutes late. I was in the back of the plane. By the time I got off the plane I had 25 minutes to make it to my overnight flight. I checked my schedule. It was gone. One quick phone call and I was released. The flight had been given to another reserve.

Today I am on reserve at home. With zero Captains available, I doubt I will be called unless another First Officer calls in sick.

It felt great to fly again. I look forward to my line next month.

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