On day 3 on my 4 day. Much easier than last time. No weather and the fact that I did most of this trip last week means a little less stress.
My report time to start my trip was 3PM on Friday. The commute flight is 3 hours long thus I had to leave by noon to make it.
The direct flights were all pretty full. I wanted to play it safe so I decided to take an early flight.
I was going through the motions in the morning getting my bags to my car and getting my daughter ready. I planned on taking a 7:55AM flight. While at her daycare my daughter got a little upset when she saw me leave. I hung out for a few minutes and played with her before leaving. It will only get harder for the both of us as she grows up. She'll be 9 months old next month.
Those extra few minutes meant I missed the 7:55AM flight. I instead planned on the 8:35AM flight. Got a seat, across from another pilot from my airline.
We were both new to commuting. She had been living in base for years and holding a nice line. Now she too was commuting. We both hate it. She didn't have to be there until 2PM, but like me was playing it safe.
I hung out in the crew room, sucked down an extra large Dunkin Donuts coffee....ate breakfast....ate lunch....sucked down another coffee. Finally go time.
I checked the flight details and noticed a crew member was deadheading on my first turn. Odd. Why deadhead to and from ? I check further and realized he was a brand new pilot. Zero flight hours at my airline. The training department had scheduled him to sit on the jump seat and observe a flight before starting IOE the next day.
The Captain was again new to me. When the jump seater arrived I helped him out a bit stashing his bags. I remember what it was like on my first day. Everything moves fast and I was way behind.
Normal flight. Beautiful day. My first time to this outstation. It's part of my line, but I haven't been there this month due to cancellations and vacation.
Normal turn. After push back the rampers disconnected and walked away. When I called the ramp tower to taxi we were told we could not taxi from our current position. The ramp has a line that we must be pulled up to and on to taxi as there is a risk of damaging men and equipment behind the plane. I called the rampers back, they weren't happy, but they pulled us 40 feet up to the line. Done.
During both flights the new hire asked a lot of questions. The sim and the real world are close, but there are a lot of details left out.
Back in base we had a 2 hour break. Dinner.
Long day. We blasted off for the 2 hour flight to the overnight. High winds right down the runway. At 3000 AGL the winds were so strong we had a 80 knot ground speed. That's Cessna slow.
I hit the hotel bed hard at 12:20AM. I woke up 19 hours prior.
Day 2. The hotel buffet looked sketchy. I carry plastic spoons, instant oatmeal and instant mac and cheese as back ups. They pack easy and come in handy often. Oatmeal it was.
That afternoon the inbound plane was late. Thus we were late. Headed west the 100 knot + headwinds meant it would be impossible to make up any time.
The next outstation has a complex STAR that leads right into the approach for the runway. It's still odd to be cleared for an ILS while 100 miles out.
Because we were late it was another quick turn. The next flight was just 98 NM again. The flight is so fast it's just an exercise in running checklist. After the turn was done we had a 2 hour break again. Dinner.
Called my wife and had a video chat with our new phones. We switched from T-Mobile to Verizon. Now using Thunderbolts. We started using Android with the T-Mobile G1, then Nexus One and now Thunderbolt. Video chat worked great. Dinner.
Long day. Light load. Up to FL390. The whole crew was tired. It was an 11 hour duty day, but I had been up for 17 hours.
Today is easy. One leg to the overnight.
During my bidding I requested late starts to avoid reduced rest/short overnights. This seemed like a good idea, but 2 of my 3 overnights arrive after midnight. Makes for bad sleep patterns, especially in different time zones each night.
Finally good news. In September I am scheduled to be back in my old base. Thus this commuting should come to and end.