Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I didn't want to do 5 legs anyway

My last 3 day trip for a while. Next month I have ALL 4 day trips...well not all...I have one crappy 2 day trip on a weekend.

This trip has been very quiet. My Captain is just here for the paycheck. Very little chit chat in flight. In fact, beyond checklist, briefings and procedures I've maybe said 20 words...maybe 21.

Day one was one leg to the overnight. His leg. Long flight. Long 18 hour overnight.

Day 2 was 4 legs. First two were mine. I couldn't get a decent landing even if I tried to pay for it. I should really buy stock in Goodyear as I'm really abusing some tires.

During the 1st turn the boys in black were waiting for us. The Feds. An inspector asked for my credentials then accompanied me on my post flight. Non issue, just a ramp check, but unexpected.

After the second "controlled impact" with the ground I was happy to hit the button on the flight control panel that indicates my Captain is now flying.

Quick turn. Also a Lifeguard flight.

It's standard to taxi out on the #1 engine and the APU running (during the summer to keep the cabin cool). About 2 minutes before reaching the end of the runway I start the #2 engine and shut the APU down.

I started the number 2 engine and all was well. I then shut the APU down and got a master caution that the APU had failed along with an associated message that there was a problem with the APU bleed duct. Boooo.

Of course I second guessed myself on what I had done. It's all muscle memory, though I do watch my fingers dance across the control panel.

I retraced my steps and was positive I had pressed the right buttons in the right order.

Pulled over to the "run up" area for props. Not a busy airport. We ran the checklist, contacted operations, wrote up the issue in the logbook and complied with the MEL. APU was no longer an available for use.

Left the ground 20  minutes late. Thankfully we had Lifeguard priority and got several short cuts.

Back on the ground 1 minute late, into the gate just 4 minutes late. We had just 31 minutes to swap planes.

I learned long ago to take care of me and not rush to be on time. If I don't take care of myself, then I won't be able to take care of my passengers. Hungry. I needed food.

Grabbed a quick bite...kinda. I bought a hot snack, but I knew by the time I had time to eat it, the food would be cold.

I quickly, but diligently preflighted my plane, ran my flows, set up the FMS and ran the checklist.

Pushed out 4 minutes late. Ate my luke warm food in flight.

Very small airport for the overnight. So small in fact there is only room for ONE plane larger than 30 seats on the ramp at a time. Notes on the airport diagram state we can't be more than 15 minutes early or late without approval from the airport manager.

As we descended I began looking for the airport. My first time here. Sure enough it was small. Narrow 100 foot wide runway (150 is what I normally land on).

In and done.

Arrived 6 minutes early.

Small town. Only one hotel with more than one story in town...and that's where we stayed.

Thirteen hour overnight.

Right now I am supposed to be sitting the back of a hotel van (a brand new Honda Oddessy EX....which is NOT the norm) headed to the airport.

I was downstairs at 5:20AM for a 5:30AM van. The front desk clerk let me know the flight last night never made it in, they diverted due to weather. She apologized for not calling us (at 11PM). I thanked her for NOT calling me and whipped out my Ipad to check my schedule. Sure enough we were now leaving at 8AM. The good news was that I have just one leg into base and I am done. Originally I had 5 legs. I still get paid for all 5, which is the most important detail.

The reason my airline didn't call me is due to rest requirements. If they interrupted my rest then the rest clock would restart. Not a big deal at 11PM for a 8AM departure, but I am glad they didn't call as I would have been up for a while.

Next month I have most weekends off. I originally had all weekends off.

I had my preferences set for 3 day trips, weekends off and work Monday to Wednesday. After that I had max days off set.

The first few months of the year I held what I requested. Not this month.

I was awarded a line with 4 day trips, working Tuesday to Friday, weekends off, and just 13 days off.

I was not happy.

I'm still not happy.

I am getting over it.

There is a period where line holders can rework their schedule by trading trips with other crew members and uncovered trips.

I moved a single 2 day trip on August 3rd and August 4th to another 2 day trip on August 18th and 19th. I'm now working a weekend.

I moved it as to travel with my family for a mini-vacation.

Hopefully things will get better for September. Not terribly concerned though as I'm headed to Europe for a week or so anyway during my scheduled vacation.


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