Thursday, January 17, 2013

Abort! Abort! Abort!....ok a little over dramatic eh?

Day 4...go home day. Just three flights between me and going home.

Day 3 was easy, three legs. Got to the overnight at 2:30PM. After an early dinner I went to bed a 6PM. I wanted a GREAT night of rest, not just a good one.

Hopped in the hotel van at 5:30AM.

By 5:50AM I was pre-flighting a glycol soaked airplane.

Except for a missing static wick (which was already noted), everything was in order.

We boarded up 39 passengers and closed the door. I then over heard a flight attendant make the following announcement:

"Welcome aboard our flight this morning. Your Captains name is Michael, your First Officers name is Jon and my name is Henry. Now that you know our names, let's take a moment and go down the aisle and state your name so we all get to know each other."

I literally laughed out loud. I love working with people who love their jobs.

My leg. Uncontrolled airport.

I made all the normal position announcements. Nearing the runway I called center to get our clearance.

Clearance copied we were released.

My Captain turned the corner and I finished up the checklist.

"Your aircraft" he stated.

"My aircraft." I replied.

The nose was slightly off center so I applied left rudder pressure (I have 7 degrees each side of center for nose wheel steering with rudder pedals) to steer the plane toward center while bringing the power towards takeoff thrust. I've done this countless times.

I'm pretty sure I had released rudder pressure when I said, "Set thrust."

Right then the dark serene flight deck was interrupted with a Master Caution light flashing right in front of me. A rudder fault had been detected.

"Abort! Abort! Abort! Traffic 9830 is aborting on the runway."

We were only going maybe 20 knots. The airspeed had not registered yet.

When the power was brought down the message went away, too late it was already recorded.

Back to the gate.

This airport only has two departures per day. The employees are all contract. I imagine a few were on their way out the door when I called them on the radio.

Parked. Deplaned. Frustrated.

We figured we were dead until the next flight came 2:30PM. This was a very small airport where we are the only airline. We would have to wait for a company mechanic to be flown in or hope for a local mechanic. What are the odds of a local mechanic being available and have the know how?

Odds are great actually.

The local mechanic used to work for a regional airline as a mechanic. It took a few minutes for things to be done and people to be called.

Mechanic was on board at 7:45AM. He found the error in the diagnostic computer. His diagnosis was it was a timing issue with a sensor that could be related to the plane having been bathed in glycol. Next step was to do a high speed taxi run.

Being a small airport the passengers were just a few feet away inside the terminal. Many watched as we closed the boarding door, turned on the lights and taxied away.

We lined up on the runway and my Captain set the takeoff power....albeit slowly. No errors. Away we went. He briefed me on a new 50 knot call as that's when he wanted to abort.

I called it, he aborted and we were both happy with the plane again.

All the passenger bags were still on board. We boarded up the passengers,  fueled up the tanks (My Captain asked for 800 pounds over the original release), got a new flight release and left the gate again at 8:28AM.

I took control of the aircraft and slowly added takeoff power. Away we went.

I felt bad having the passengers so delayed so I flew a good deal faster than planned.

The flight was blocked for 1 hour 40 minutes. We blocked into the gate in 1 hour 15 minutes. Not too shabby.

Since we were so late we lost our last turn.

My 4 day trip was originally worth 19 hours 10 minutes. With the weather cancellations and mechanical issues I only flew 9 hours....over 4 days. Once again I'm happy for cancellation pay!

Off for 3 whole days. I planned on hitting the autoshow in Detroit...but the kiddo is sick. Maybe next weekend.

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