Sunday, March 3, 2013

Gonna break in a new Captain next week

February is done. With the end of the month ends my two months with the same Captain (except for one trip).

It was nice flying with the same guy. As a First Officer I have to play a chameleon with each new Captain. The Captain runs the flight. He sets the tone. Though we have procedures and policies we all must follow, every Captain is different. Some Captains like to have the clearance printed out, folded and placed between two EICAS screens so we can all see it. Others don't care. Some Captains will push back and start the engine during the push and then shutdown the APU. Others will push back, have me start the engine and leave the APU running. Some insist on a full departure briefing on every departure even though the book says I can use an abbreviated briefing after the first full briefing. I take mental notes on the first two legs with each Captain so I can get a feel for him/her.

My last trip was fine. My Captain recently got an Ipad and had a lot of questions on how it worked. I helped him out. I showed him some short cuts and tips. I couldn't resist having some fun.

"Kurt, now shake it up and down quickly." I said.

"What does this do?" he asked.

"Nothing, but it looks funny." I replied.If you can't have fun at work, then you're doing it wrong.

It was day four. Three legs for me, but just one for him.

My Captain has a check ride coming up next week. We had been discussing systems, profiles and company ops questions the entire trip. We both learned a few things as we bounced questions off each other. We would be in cruise and I'd ask.

"So Kurt, what happens when this button is pressed." I would ask pointing to the overhead panel. He would do the same for me.

About an hour out this morning I mentioned my next Captain (for the two remaining legs) name was Courtney. My Captain asked about the last name and I confirmed it.

"Oh man you are going to like flying with her. She is a five foot nine blonde from Norway. Young, fit and really fun to fly with." said my Captain.

We blocked in a few minutes early  and he headed home to study a bit more.

My next Captain arrived. HE was a six foot five black guy, I started laughing.

"Man Kurt told me you were a five foot nine blonde lady." I said.

"Oh you flew with Kurt, that guy is funny. He got ya didn't he." He replied.

This Captain is very junior. I like flying with junior Captains as they know what it's like as a First Officer. My job is very busy on the ground as I have to set up and configure the plane while the Captain is taxiing.

We had a good time.

During the flight down I joked about the crew chaser tracking my down a few months ago.

The crew chaser works with crew scheduling to track down pilots for reassignments and junior manning. He also works with management to hand out terms of service pins/awards...and random drug test.

Several months ago he was waiting on the jet bridge as my flight pulled in. The rest of my crew were all reserve, but were illegal for any additional flying due rest requirements. I was still fresh.

I got really worked up as I didn't feel like being reassigned.

After the passengers were deplaned I walked out ready to be junior manned. I was wrong...he was there to give me my five year pin...two months early.

I jinxed myself.

As we pulled in on day four, I once again saw the crew chaser. After we blocked in my Captain and I both checked our schedules on our phones. Nothing new.....he was there for a randoom drug test.

As luck would have it, the test was for me.

Ten minutes later I was blowing into a breathalyzer and given a pee test. I blew a 0.0. I have nothing to worry about as I don't take any drugs beyond allergy medicine and avoid poppy seed muffins (after seeing a Seinfeld Episode!). I also respect my airlines alcohol policy which is much more restrictive than the FAA policy.

Last week a Skywest pilot was pulled from flying after the hotel turned him in to the authorities. That pilot blew a .035. Anything below a .04 is legal per the FAA. Still he could be fired from his airline.

I have two whole days off before heading back to work on Monday. I work the same 20 hour trip Mondays thru Thursdays in March. Hope the breaking in the new Captain goes well. ;-)


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