Thursday, February 23, 2012

Longest overnight....ever

Day 3 of a 3 day. Easy trip.

Day one started with a 5:30PM departure to the overnight. Kinda odd spending all day with my daughter and then leaving for work when my wife arrived at home.

The line Captain called in sick. Reserve Captain was called in.

Nice Captain, but once again he's younger than I am. A little odd. I look a little old. He looks very young.

He flew it out. We were number 3 for landing behind two other regional jets.

We all walked out too see a crew member standing by the hotel van in the distance. We walked over (normally the van is at the curb) and hopped in. Then we waited.

The crew member was from another airline. The rest of his crew was lost in the airport. It's not a very big airport. Only 10 gates....but they were lost.

The hotel van driver left on foot to find them. No joy. About eight minutes later they came walking around a corner. They apologized for holding us up.

Kind of a long drive. While my flight attendant filled out the sign in sheet for my crew, I found out we would be sharing the morning van with the other crew. We had the same arrival and departure time.

Crappy Holiday Inn. Well...not crappy...but it hasn't been updated in at least 9 years. Old TV....worn furniture. Just way too lived in.

Ten hour overnight. In the morning I saw the other another crew. All of us loaded up into the van. Glad it was one of the larger hotel vans.

Hotel van drivers make bank when they transport multiple crews at once. I typically tip a dollar if  they are on time, courteous and don't drive like a maniac. By taking three crews at once I bet he doubled his hourly pay...maybe tripled.

At 5:50 AM we pushed from the gate...with 7 passengers....4 of them non-revs.

My leg. Uneventful. Flew a little fast as I was hungry. The Holiday Inn doesn't offer free breakfast and the breakfast they do offer doesn't start until 7AM.

I had another smooth descent until flare and then a last minute  yank to grease it on. Light weight meant no thrust reverse was needed...just smooth easy braking.

We were scheduled to keep the same plane for the next leg. I had just enough time to get my Dunkin Donuts coffee and a breakfast burrito before departure.

Blocked out 7 minutes early. Nearly full. High tailwinds meant a super early arrival time.

Approach vectored us in for a left downwind. Level at 4,000 AGL I began to wonder when we would get lower. Finally cleared to 2500 feet. Right when I spun the vertical speed wheel down we got a "traffic" TCAS caution. A plane was just 500 feet above and less than 6 miles away. I previously heard the controller giving vectors to a Piper Seneca at 4500. WTF?

Even though it was just a caution I clicked off the autopilot and made a steeper descent. Caution went away.

Gusty winds at 220@15G30. Landing runway 29. Around 20 feet I began kicking the nose over. I chopped the thrust a little early and thought I would slam it on. Thankfully mother nature intervened and a gust of wind softened the landing...greased again.

Blocked in 20 minutes early. The overnight was now 23 hours 40 minutes. Longest overnight ever.

Decent Marriott branded hotel suite. Mall and restaurants nearby.

Had a nice (and early) grilled fish dinner with a salad...and two light beers. Back to my hotel by 6PM. Departure isn't until 11:40AM.

Three legs today. Seven hours Fifty minutes of flying. Just a thirty five minute turn on the first and a thirty minute turn on the second.

Tomorrow I head off with my family for a wedding near Sacramento, California. We wanted to go tonight...but after almost 8 hours of flying in one day....I doubt I will have any desire to hop on another plane and fly further.

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