Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Germs from the cabin

Exhausted. The last trip really wore me out. Partially due to flying 8 hours in one day and partially because I got sick on the trip.

I was supposed to fly the same sequence two times in a row. I traded the next one...and I am glad I did.

Days one and two were okay. Day three though was rough.

Started in cold and breezy Fargo, ND. One quick hop to base and we had an hour sit. During the taxi in I saw a 10+ line of aircraft waiting for takeoff. Hmmm.

Plane swap.

The next aircraft had a very recent windshield repair on both sides of the cockpit. This meant there was speed tape surrounding the edges of the windshield.

Speed tape looks like duct tape...but is many times more adhesive.

It did look odd during my pre-flight seeing all the speed tape around the windshield.

My leg. Cold and windy. I told my cabin crew that it might be a while before we takeoff due to the long line I saw on taxi in.

Wouldn't you know line. Caught the cabin a little off guard when I called back to tell them to prepare for takeoff.

Speaking of my cabin crew....they got me sick. On day one the lead flight attendant was sneezing, but stated it was allergies. Well she handled the galley and thus handled everything passed up to the cockpit (water, soft drinks, coffee...etc).

By day 3 I was starting to sneeze. I have allergies as well. Primarily to dogs (my wife has 2) dust, and pollen. I don't encounter much of my main allergans on the road so I don't always take my allergy medicine during trips.

Anyways low clouds and breezy takeoff on leg 2. During the climb out I heard a large "whack" on my right side. I looked over to see a stream of speed tape that had come off and was stuck on the side window.

"Nice," I said and pointed it out to my Captain. We both looked at the engine instruments. Both were still indicating normal so if any tape was ingested it didn't affect anything. Pressurization systems also indicated normal readings.

The tape was mostly to protect the liquid adhesive used to secure the windshield. The tape wasn't holding the glass in place.

Normal flight. Another bit of the tape flew off...again no issues.

On time arrival.

The plane was supposed to go right back out, but the tape needed to be repaired. The next crew wasn't upset about the delay as they might get out of their next turn.

We had another hour sit.

When we blocked out the plane we brought in was still being repaired. Due to lack of staffing that crew still had to do their turn...just 90 minutes delayed.

Long flight down to Florida.

Thankfully no delays. There was a storm just off Florida that caused moderate chop/turbulence during the flight.

While in cruise I attempted to listen to AM radio via our ADF radio for election updates. AM radio signals travel much further than FM. We would have a locked on signal only to have it fade as we were traveling 500+ MPH.

Also while in cruise I studied the airport diagram for the next airport. I had never been there before and it was a fairly large airport.

I studied the ramp area and copied down the frequencies I needed.

Normal landing. There is always a little stress when landing at an major International Airport for the first time. Add in night time....more stressful.

Clearing the runway we were headed straight toward a 747. Thankfully it was going to turn before taxiing over us. I was busy cleaning up the plane while contacting tower, ground then ramp.

The ramp area was very busy. Parked and done. Another plane swap and 80 minute sit. Getting tired...and a little more sneezy. By this point we had already flown 5 hours 40 minutes.

My leg out. A little easier time taxiing out as it was getting late and thus not very much traffic.

Same turbulence.

Once at cruise I really started to feel the wearing of a long day and possibly getting sick. I ordered up a coffee and Diet Coke from the cabin to help me perk up. Started to have body aches.

Being so late there wasn't much air or radio traffic. Long periods of darkness and hearing nothing. Caffeine helped keep me focused.

We were over fueled by 700 pounds. I took full advantage of the extra fuel to fly a little faster. Glad I did.

VFR at the out station. The runway had been retrofitted with the new LED runway lights. They are brighter than incandescent. They also look odd....kind of distracting.

Tired. Bordering on fatigued.

Decided to let the autopilot fly it down to 200 feet and then I took over. Firm landing. Happy to be done. We had flown 8 hours 5 minutes.

By the time we got to the van we were all worn out.

I walked into my hotel room and was in bed quickly.

Eleven hour thirty minute overnight.

Thankfully day 4 as just one leg into base.

We were all dragging getting back into the hotel van.

Easy leg.

My captain flew faster than planned. Arrived 35 minutes early. So early in fact that I walked in my front door at our scheduled arrival time!

I felt worse after getting home. Surely sick. Germs from the cabin. At least I am off for a week.

1 comment:

  1. Lucky there was not pax nearby with a camera phone - avoided another "plane held together by duct tape" incident!
    A friend of mine who used to work on Concorde gave me a small amount of unused speed tape - aluminium-like but quite pliable, I believe I still have it in an old toolbox somewhere.....
    Thanks for the post, hope you feel better soon and can enjoy your down time!
    All the best
    Dave from the UK


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