It's been almost a year since I changed aircraft. What happens to pilots at least once a year? Required training. For me though...this year....it's a bit more involved.
All pilots at US airlines must have an ATP by August 2013. My airline is doing this during the month pilots normally get annual training.
My "base" month was originally November....back in 2007. Then it was January as I took time off to spend time with my daughter back in 2011. Now it's September as that's when I changed aircraft.
I am scheduled to go to training starting September 1st. I will get a few days in ground school, a few sim sessions and then my ATP ride. Nervous ? Not really. Stressed? You bet!
I am scheduled to finish everything September 10th. I hit vacation September 15th.
My plan is to bid so I won't actually fly a flight until late September. This will be done by maximizing my vacation time.
My last 4 day was long. Twenty one hours. I did get to spend an extra night at home due to the overnight flight canceling.
Most of the airports I visit are small. I have to get ATIS and the clearance over the radio...the old fashioned way. One turn on this trip was to a "bigger" airport. I was pleasantly surprised by getting digital ATIS and a PDC! A PDC is a digital version of a flight clearance. It's all done through ACARS and the onboard FMS. Rather than call and scribble down the clearance, it's all printed on a piece of paper. Saves time and reduces the chance of making an error.
I finished the trip at 6PM Thursday. I'm off today (Friday), go back tomorrow morning for 6:55AM departure. Five legs later I finish the day. Sunday it's one leg into base and done at 11:40AM.
Off Monday...and another 4 day Tuesday....though I might trade for a trip leaving on Wednesday.