Friday, February 22, 2013

Familiar Faces and windy approaches

Busy week. Spent the Weekend visiting family near New York City. I finished my trip last Thursday, headed to NY Saturday, arrived home Tuesday afternoon and headed back to work Wednesday.

I traded my current trip so I could have Tuesday off. My original trip was easy. The new one...ugh.

Day one was 3 legs with the middle being a deadhead to another base. It was easy enough...just a long day.

Short 9 hour overnight.

Early start on day 2. Weather. We had to print 3 different releases due to weather. The last one had us topping off our tanks...and taking a passenger off as we were overweight.

Long flight around weather. My leg. Easy approach. Arrived an hour late. Quick turn.

The next outstation was surrounded by weather. We looked at the RADAR before we left. Looked decent.

Enroute we were given a short cut. We were above the weather so we took it. Well when we descended down, we were right in the middle of the crap.

Using the RADAR and our eyes we picked our way through. Lots of moderate bumps. I was pulled against my shoulder harness a few times.

Winds initially were 240@04. Raining over the field.  Runway 11 is 5500 feet long. Runway 4R is 8000 feet long. I requested runway 4R even though 11 was in use. Approved.

Vectored in my Captain checked the ATIS again. Winds were now 160@18G32. Runway 4R was no longer an option due to the tailwind. We were midfield downwind in the clouds when we advised we now wanted the GPS 22L approach. New vectors.

The winds at 4000 feet were over 60 knots. Lots of bumps. Finally vectored for final.

Descending down the autopilot was working extremely hard to keep the plane centered on the approach.

One thousand AGL the winds died down to 140@40 knots.

Picked up the runway around 800 feet. Autopilot off.

The wind gust really rocked the plane. Approach speed of 145 knots.

The nose of the plane was pointed far left to keep the plane down center line.

On days like this I don't care about smooth landings.

Rocking and rolling. Windy and moderate rain.

"You got it ?" Asked my Captain.

"Yep," I replied. I have flown with him before. He knows I can handle it, but I understood his questioning.

Around 10 feet I kicked the nose to the right and put in left aileron. I kept the power in till just a few feet above the ground.

Somehow greased it on. Full aileron and thrust reverse. Happy to be done. The next two were his.

Quick turn.

Several passengers "used" their air sickness bags. Even a flight attendant who has been flying for 10+ years got a little queasy.

The normal hour flight back would be doubled due to routing around the worst of the weather.

There was good news. Due to our delays we were taken off our overnight. We would all be going home.

Bumpy departure.

Arrived 90 minutes late....and we had a surprise waiting for us. We had all been reassigned to a different overnight. So much for going home.

We did have an hour of sit time which we needed after dealing with all the weather.

The overnight the middle of the same system. The system was supposed to be past the airport at our ETA.

It wasn't.

A few turns in a hold and we made our way in. Just light rain and low clouds. No bumps. Done.

Decent 11 hour overnight.

This morning I headed down for a 5:10AM van. While enjoying a cup of coffee a crew from another airline came down.

The First Officer didn't notice me, but I recognized him.

"Regional Pilots are dangerous and should all be grounded." I loudly said.

He looked my way quickly...then smiled.

When I was at ATP, before I was a CFI for them, I had to work in the "pit" answering phones. He was the manager of the pit.

We talked a bit and then we all hopped into the van.

It was nice to catch up and see how things were at another airline.

Two legs today. Both were mine.

The first was easy. The second one was long....and once again dealing with the same storm front from the day prior.

The longest runway (and only ILS) was closed. The shorter runway, 7000 feet long, was in use. Either a VOR/DME or GPS approach. I chose the later.

Heavy rain and winds. Decent landing. Full reverse. Anti-skid kicked in as I slowed the plane. Happy to be done at noon today.

I work on a Saturday tomorrow for the first time in a while. Three legs starting with a 5:00AM van. Ugh.

Nest month I work Mondays thru Thursdays. No more of this weekend stuff for me.

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