Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Just call me George

Day two was cold. Really cold.

Long ride to the airport. Small town, no highways....few "nice" hotels.

In bound was late. I sat in the operations room behind the counter.

We are the best airline at this airport....because we are the only airline at the airport. Two flights day to and from.

One of the agents handed me our flight release. I scanned it for fuel and weather information...and totally skipped the MEL section.

Day two was a 2 leg day. Both mine.

I handed the release to my Captain.

"Uh oh, no Autopilot or Yaw Damper." he said.

"Yeah right, Mr Funny guy!" I replied.

"No really look." he said as he handed me the release.

Sure enough both the autopilot system and yaw damper systems were out of service. I would be hand flying it all the way to base.

Without an autopilot we can't enter RVSM airspace (FL290-FL410).

I was not looking forward to hand flying for a 1 hour 40 minute flight, but it was what it was.

Most of the time planes without autopilots are put on super short legs (under 40 minutes), today was an anomaly.

My Captain offered to help out if I needed a break.

The lack of an autopilot had us both off a bit during the climb out, we got through it.

I trimmed the plane out at FL280 and there we were.

Even perfectly trimmed out I had to apply small corrections up and down.

I propped my right leg up to support my wrist a bit.

About an hour into the flight I took a minute or two break for water and handed the plane over to my Captain.

Without an autopilot I couldn't do much beyond stare at my PFD. A moment of distraction could mean traveling up or down a few hundred feet.

Wrist was getting tired. Decent landing at base. Plane swap.

The next plane had no MELs.

I called for the autopilot at minimum engagement height.

Very short 8 hour 45 minute overnight.

De-iced in the morning. With light snow we had 23 minutes to get off the ground with only being deiced and no anti-ice fluid applied.

During rotation the snow got much heavier. If we had been delayed a few minutes more we would have had to been deiced again.

One leg into base today and done.

I picked up a 4 1/2 hour turn tomorrow on overtime.

More later.

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