Friday, October 19, 2012

Things not to do when I'm a Captain

I'm happy this trip is over. I can't wait to be with my line Captain again next week.

The guy I flew with was nice....and he mostly meant well...but more often than not....things didn't go well.

I won't go into full detail....just going to cover the icing on the cake.

The last day was a 5 leg day. Longest day of the trip.

The first 3 legs the last day were full of just inconsideration on his part. One of my pet peeves is guys who get a new frequency, swap and IMMEDIATLEY broadcast instead of waiting to see if someone is already talking. My Captain swapped and broadcast IMMEDIATELY every time...stepping on someone else 1/3rd of the time. He would then get annoyed that he had to repeat himself.

The Captain is a commuter.

We were scheduled to arrive back in base and be done at 4:45PM. His commute flight home was at 5:05PM. If he missed it the next flight wasn't until 9PM.

I took leg 4. We had swapped planes right before this leg. I quickly set up my side and we were ready to push 7 minutes early.

The main door was closed and I realized I had not plugged in my headset.

I plugged it in and could not hear myself. I checked the plug and hot mic switch. Nothing. Crap.

My Captain wasn't happy...he wanted to hurry up as he wanted to make his 5:05PM flight home.

I quickly grabbed the company headset....nothing. I tried mine again...then the company. Suddenly I could hear myself...with the company David Clarks....ugh.

"Fine I will wear the David Clamps." I said. I then called for pushback clearance and away we went.

Normal takeoff.

Company policy states I must wear a headset with a boom microphone below FL180.

At 18,200 feet I swapped back into my Bose A20s. I still couldn't talk through my microphone, but I was much more comfortable.

The Captain was the non-flying pilot so he was on the radio with ATC, If I had to talk to ATC I could use the hand mic. I could talk to my Captain reasonably well by just looking at him.

Filed for FL330. Climbed to FL370 and flew faster. Scheduled to arrive 20 minutes early.

Very gusty winds down low. Winds were 300@25G35. Landing runway 35.

Once again I swapped into the David Clarks...err David Clamps before going below FL180.

I picked up the runway 30 miles out.

I briefed my approach as always. My every briefing before...heard none of it. The proof was always a few minutes after my brief he would ask, "What runway are you landing on again?"


Bumpy approach.

I don't like to "hot rod" it in. Some guys, this Captain being one of them, like to fly as fast as possible  and attempt to slow down at the last possible moment while on final approach. This often results in :

1. Being unstabilized per company ops

2. Eating up a lot of runway

3. Slamming on the brakes due to eating up a lot of runway

4. A rough and noisy ride for the passengers

5. All of the above

I will keep the speed around 200 knots max until 7 miles away or  2500 AGL for a STRAIGHT in approach at an outstation with no other traffic around....that's my comfort zone.

On this approach I slowed a little early as I was a little high. I called for the first setting of flaps and for the gear to be lowered.This annoyed him.

"It sure seems far out to put the gear down." he said.

Decent landing. Blocked in 10 minutes early.

It was all about him as he tried to rush everyone to leave early.

Blocked out 5 minutes early.

Only plane departing.

We were holding short waiting for the cabin to call up stating they were ready.

"Go ahead and tell tower we are ready." said my Captain.

"I'm still waiting for the cabin to call." I said.

"It's fine we will just roll up slow." he replied.

I was not comfortable with it.

"She should be ready in a minute." I replied.

He then keyed the mic and told tower we were ready.

Right then the cabin called up. Done.

He made a shallow climb above 10,000 feet. He flew at a much higher speed than normal...because he wanted to get in early.

This ate up a lot of fuel. This also caused us to not reach FL230 , a normal transition from low altitude controllers to high altitude controllers, until way past our normal point.

ATC advised we would have to level off at FL230 for a few minutes due to crossing traffic. If we had been on climb profile I know we would have been well above FL230 and likely clear of traffic.

This annoyed my Captain and he keyed the mic and said, "We can't be down here for to long as we don't have to fuel for it."

I just rolled my eyes.

Eventually we climbed to our filed altitude.

I compared our actual fuel burn to the planned fuel burn...we were about 400 pounds short. This is partially due to the shallow climb and partially due to being stuck at FL230 for a while.

Planned to arrive 30 minutes early. My Captain called the cabin and let them know HE would be the first person out the door when we arrived.

Again we would be arriving at 4:15PM instead of 4:45PM. His commute flight was at 5:05PM. More than enough time for him to make his commute flight home that was on OUR airline and from OUR terminal.

Visual approaches. Cleared to land on the outboard runway, normal ops for my home airport. He asked me to ask for the inboard. I did. Approved and we were recleared to land on the inboard.

He hot rodded it. Landed almost 4000 feet down the is an extremely long runway...but still.

Blocked in at 4:20PM. He tried to rush out the door but in doing so shutdown the plane incorrectly and had to turn it back on.

He then quickly left he cockpit around 4:25PM and stopped passengers so he could get off...for a 5:05PM commute fight....2 gates down.

I finished up my duties including the post flight.

The employee bus stop was 9 gates away toward his commute flight.

I walked past his gate...he wasn't there. Down by my exit to the employee bus I saw him walking toward me....big drink he just bought in hand.

I learned a lot from him as I learn from every Captain. Most of what I learned is what not to do when I am a Captain.

I look forward to having my regular line Captain next week. He is much older than me and his 5X my flight hours. He does things slow and methodically. This is fine with me as I can always tell what's next. I don't have to worry about what's next.

Happy to be off for a few days.


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