Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Worn out

Day 2 of the three day was rough. It started off fine, but got worse fast.

As stated in the last post I had a 3 hour sit after arriving from the overnight so I went home and ate lunch. I then drove back to the airport.

Departed on time after dealing with minor maintenance. My leg. Long line of weather to fly through. Bounced around a decent amount.

Made my first direct crosswind landing in the new plane. Not too bad. Just different than my last.

Small out station. My Captain had not been there in a year or so. I had never been there before. We had no idea where to park as the ground crew was all contract so looking for our ground equipment wasn't an option. The ground controller was new and wasn't sure. Thankfully another airline crew pointed us to gate A3. Nice.

Twenty-six minutes later we were being pushed back for the next leg. Back through the same line of weather. It was way past old.

Weather at base was rainy and cold. Winds shifted 1000 feet off the ground. On final we had a 35 knot quartering tailwind. Once under the clouds it turned into a 15 knot headwind.

Blocked in five minutes over scheduled block time. Still 26 minutes over for the day and still 19 minutes over in order to avoid a 30 in 7 conflict.

One hour sit. Kept the same plane. Dinner.

Blocked out on time. We hoped to fly just block to pad my 30 in 7 conflict. It wasn't too be. We had a 136 knot tailwind! There was no hope of flying block...we would be early.

There was a small chance of having a long taxi if the runway we assumed would be in use due to winds was indeed the one being used. But...it wasn't too be.

The Captain landed on the runway with the shortest taxi distance to the gate. Blocked in 15 minutes early. Eh...now I had a longer overnight.

When we blocked in we had flown 7 hours and 41 minutes that day and been on duty for 12 hours 47 minutes. I had been awake for 15 hours.

Tired and cold.

I slept decently.

The next morning started a little late...which was nice. Because of the over blocking scheduling had to fix my 30 in 7 conflict.

I had hoped they would drop the last turn and I could go home early. Nope. Instead they pulled me from the first two legs of my next trip on Thursday.

That trip starts at 7PM with one leg to a reduced rest overnight. In the morning I was scheduled to fly back to base and then fly out to the next overnight.

Instead I start my trip on Friday afternoon. I still get paid for the first two legs. It's a win/win. Another night at home and 6 hours of pay.

The inbound plane was early. No snow. Blocked out 4 minutes early. My leg.

I hand flew till just over 10,000 then turned on the autopilot and relaxed a bit.

A decent windy and rainy landing. Blocked in 21 minutes over due to congestion and being slowed enroute.

Scheduled 2 hour 25 minute sit.

Delayed by an hour. The inbound was being ferried in. Crap.

I was supposed to finish at 8PM. My wife and daughter were flying in at 8:15PM. The plan was for me to get the car from the employee lot and meet them in baggage claim.

It was time for plan B. I moved the car from the employee lot and parked at the terminal. Expensive, but much easier on my wife and daughter.

We initially blocked out exactly an hour late. Then we noticed the parking brake system wasn't showing the parking brake being engaged. No bueno.

The Captain tried resetting the brake. No change. Time to call a mechanic.

Meanwhile we checked the weather at the outstation......

00000KT 1/4SM FG VV002 13/12 A3011 RMK AO2

Not good. Below landing mins. The Captain requested a second alternate.

Yadda,yadda,yadda....blocked out 1 hour 42 minutes late.

Decent ride. Long flight.

We kept an eye on the weather hoping it would improve. An hour out it was still 1/4 mile visibility. We discussed diversion options

Option 1 had the following weather:

18009KT 4SM -DZ BR OVC002 16/16 A3012 RMK AO2 P0000

Option 2 had this weather:

16006KT 10SM FEW009 BKN100 18/17 A3014 RMK AO2

Option 2 was better. On top of that the Captain stated option 2 had a better hotel.

The Captain briefed the flight attendant. She wasn't happy about it, but understood.

To make things more complicated there were 2 unaccompanied minors on board.

We decided we would plan on going to our destination for now. If the ATIS was still under mins 100 miles out we would hold or divert.

Somehow things improved...just barely. Twenty minutes out we pulled the following weather:

04003KT 1/2SM FG VV002 12/12 A3011 RMK AO2 SLP194 T01220122

Right at landing mins for the ILS. The temperature and dew point being the same means really crappy visibility.

Tower reported the RVR at 2400. We needed 1800. RVR is Runway Visual Range. The value means how many feet down the runway you can see.

The Captain called the approach lights right at 200 feet.

I clicked off the autopilot and kept my eyes on my PFD. At 120 feet he called the runway.

I looked up and saw the piercing bright runway lights shooting through the fog.

Smooth landing and the Captain took over.

Eighteen minutes later we were being pushed back again. RVR was down to 1800. We only needed 600 to takeoff.

Very slow taxi as it was very hard too see.

Thankfully arriving aircraft helped clear the fog off the runway. It was a beautiful sight seeing them break through the clouds at night and trial off water vapor as they landed. Would make a beautiful photo....but cameras aren't allowed during sterile operations.

Holding short we could no longer see the tower....or anything beyond runway.

Arrivals done, it was our turn.

It was very spooky accelerating and not being able to see more than 2000 feet infront of us.

Long flight back. Tired. Worn. At least it was smooth.

Arrivals into base were busy. Initially we were given the furthest runway from our gate. About 5 minutes out we were given the closest runway...but there was a catch.

In order to slip into the flow we had to fly fast.

The smooth and calm flight changed to bumpy and fast. Then came ice and thus cowl and wing anti-ice protection which hinders the ability to slow down while descending.

We broke out 1500 feet above the ground. Blocked 90 minutes late. That day we had flown 7 hours 49 minutes, on duty for 12 hours 40 minutes and awake for 14 hours 30 minutes.

Dead tired.

Over the 3 day trip I flew 22 hours 58 minutes. Originally scheduled for just 21 hours 20 minutes.

My wife and daughter were waiting outside the terminal in my car.  Very happy to see them.

This morning I woke up sore. I'm sure it was a mix of long working days, shortish overnights and I probably didn't drink enough water.

I have three days off thanks to my 30 in 7 conflict. Going to enjoy every moment of it.

1 comment:

  1. Well I'm tired just reading.....!

    Enjoy your break!

    Dave from the UK


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