Friday, September 28, 2012

Welcome back the line Kotter...err...Geek

My last flight on a real plane prior to yesterday was in August. Of course it's almost October.

I spent the morning packing my bag and checking my kit bag. Took me a while to remember how to pack.

Whenever I go out on a trip I pack the exact same clothes every week. Same shirts, jeans, least until the seasons change.  This makes it easy for packing and washing. I get home and wash everything in one load together. When done it all goes back in the suitcase. I keep it simple.

Problem was I had been off so normal clothes were spread about. I think I packed it all again.

Since I knew the first hotel was in the middle of nowhere I packed food. Thankfully it has a fridge and microwave in the room so I can have warm food. There is ONE Chinese food place nearby and that's it.

My flight WAS to leave at 1:35PM. I arrived early and headed to the crew room. Chatted up with a few guys before heading to the plane.

The First Officer who brought it in advised there was a write up on the main cabin door seal squealing. Hmm k.

The gate agent then advised my Captain was on his way. His commute flight was late and he was rushing over.

I assumed it would be a quick fix. Ahhh assumptions.

I stowed my bags and did my pre-flight. On my way back up two mechanics were coming down.

"We should be done with the work in an hour to an hour and a half. We have to replace the main door seal," one of them told me.

Hmmm k.

I thought a plane swap was coming. A quick call to operations and our fate was sealed (pun intended). No plane swap.....we would have to wait it out.

To add insult to injury the ARINC radio system for ACARS was for my airline. ACARS is a very nice tool to have on the line as it automates the sending of data and information from the plane to operations and back. Since it was down we'd have to go back to the old fashioned way of using voice and paper.

My Captain arrived and I let him know about the delay. He was happy and upset. Happy to have time to relax. Upset that he just rushed through the airport for no reason.

About 40 minutes in the mechanics had replaced the main cabin door seal. Now they needed to test it by pressurizing the plane to 8000 feet. Out I went.

Thirty minutes later they were done.

Blocked out at 3:18PM.

Captains leg. Two hours later we blocked in to the outstation.

Next two were mine.

Quick turn. Just 17 minutes after blocking in, we blocked out. Full load both ways.

Moderate chop with occasional moderate turbulence in route while at FL360. The center controller stated the ride was the same higher and lower. Ugh.

A little tired. There was a can of Diet Coke next to me...closed...wanting to be opened. I dare not open it while in moderate.

About 25 minutes from landing the ride smoothed out.

I blindly opened the can then POW. Something metallic scrapped my fingers. It was the lid of the can. The part that was supposed to be inside the can was vertical. No cola spilled out. I guess all the turbulence shook it up just enough to cause the lid to explode out, but that's it. Bleh.

Visual approaches. At 1500 feet I had a 12 knot tailwind. The surface winds were reported to be a quartering headwind. Wind shear was coming up.

The preceding aircraft reported a 15 knot gain followed by a 15 knot loss at 500 feet.

My first landing in a month and I get to deal with this.

I briefed I would add 10 knots in case the shear got worse.

Sure enough around 600 feet I got a big burst of airspeed. The plane wiggled around a bit. A few seconds later the speed died off.

I kept it under control and set the mains down with about 1000 feet left of the touchdown zone.

Thirty minute turn. Originally it was a 2 and a half hour sit.

I did my post flight, called my wife, grabbed dinner and set up the plane all in that time frame.

Quick flight to the overnight.

The airport is fairly small and we were the only airline. Tower closes early.

Thankfully there were no other planes to worry about and we blocked in on time.

Today it's just two legs. Both will be flown by my Captain. I will take the first two legs tomorrow.

Happy to be'd be nice to be on time today though.

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