Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Approaching 6 years

Simple two day trip. Five legs on day one and 3 on day two.

I don't care for 5 leg days. The first turn was quick at just 90 NM each way. The second turn was about an hour each way with the final flight being a 2 hour flight.

Interesting crew. My Captain is new to me and is from France. My Flight Attendant is from the country formerly known as Yugoslavia.

Both have accents and know each other well. Both would joke to the other that the passengers have no idea what the other is saying when giving announcements.

My Captain did really up the French accent when giving his announcements. Quite a few passengers stopped by the flight deck and asked who the , and I quote, "sexy french voice" belonged to.

Day one was long. I left a portable battery on the first aircraft I flew. I didn't realize it until I was on the second aircraft. I looked up the aircraft routing and saw it was to arrive 30 minutes before my last flight of the night was to depart.

After the first 4 flights we were supposed to have a 50 minute break. Well we were delayed by an hour and the delayed departure time was 9:45 PM. During that now almost 2 hour sit I got a call from scheduling around 8:10 PM. They needed a First Officer to fly a 8:25 PM departure. They wanted to reassign me with the "dangling carrot" being I would be done an hour earlier and still get paid for my original sequence.

Rarely have reassignments gone my way. I declined as I wanted something to eat....and my original overnight had free breakfast while the reassignment hotel was in the middle of no where and no free breakfast.

The aircraft I left my battery on was running late with an ETA of 8:50PM. I hung out around the arrival gate. The First Officer saw me and asked if I left a battery on board. He didn't find it until they landed and heard it slide forward.

The battery is all black which looks nice, but way to easy to leave behind. I'm going to wrap it in neon green tape when I get home.

The flight to the overnight couldn't go fast enough.

The hotel is a Homewood Suites. They offer free dinner on weekdays (until 8PM) and free breakfast everyday. Our scheduled arrival time was 10:45PM. Our delayed arrival time was 11:25PM.

Being so late the tower was closed. We went back to basic traffic reports. No one was in the area. In and done.

The hotel van had stopped running for the night. We took a taxi...for the whole 1 minute and ten second drive.

The hotel employees were nice enough to box up some of the free dinner for each of us. Nice touch.

Decent nights rest.

We had a 12:30PM van. While waiting near the gate I saw my Captain and Flight Attendant talking to a grey haired lady that looked like a Grandmother. Things got a little odd when she whipped out a pad of paper and started writing down information.

Turns out she was with the FAA....and she'd be riding on our jump seat.

We weren't full, but whatever.

Due to weather we needed extra fuel. We were actually 160 pounds over max takeoff weight when we left the gate.

We were limited due to runway performance meaning the max weight to accelerate to V1, abort and stop on the remaining pavement.

I briefed the departure including a static power takeoff. With both engines running and the APU powering the packs we burned the extra fuel fairly quickly.

Cleared for takeoff. My Captain aligned the plane with runway 17 and said, "your aircraft". I replied "my aircraft".

With my feet firmly on the brake pedals I set takeoff power. Once the engines were stabilized I released the brakes and away we went.

Dodged a few towering clouds and made our way to base.

The FAA rep was on her way to training and just wanted to ride up front. Nice lady.

In and done. Almost a 3 hour sit laid ahead.

During that sit I took the opportunity to leave the airport for dinner. I then parked at the terminal versus in the employee lot. I'd have to pay to park, but I would save time getting home after my flight.

The inbound plane was late. My crew was motivated. We left one minute late. My leg. I flew fast.

We were full but the return flight was booked light. My Captain called ahead and told the station we wanted a quick turn. He planned on using the APU and asked that no power or air be connected to the plane. Additionally the Flight Attendant stated he needed nothing in the way of trash or ice.

Winds at the outstation were 090@13 with the active runway being runway 10. Coming in from the east runway 16R was easier and faster. I briefed it and we were cleared for the approach.

In the 2 years I've flown to this airport, I have never seen it in the day time until on a 5 mile final at best. The area is flat, sandy and featureless. My Captain picked up the airport 12 miles out.

"If you see if you can call it." I stated. He did so....he did.

My Captain hipped me to staying in between two roads to set up for a final. I had the GPS approach set up as a back up. Turning about a 6 mile final I finally saw the airport.

My fourth greaser of the trip.

Just fourteen minutes after opening the passenger door we were taxiing back out.

The FMS estimated we would be 35 minutes early. Not bad for a flight blocked at 55 minutes. Well a little congestion meant we were slowed and turned. We still blocked in 25 minutes early.

We were so early that I was able to hop in my car, drive at posted speed limits, and pull into my garage at 8:42PM.....two minutes after scheduled arrival time. Nice to live in base.

The end of October will mark my 6th year at my airline. I kinda thought I would at least be in Captain training by now.  Here's to hoping the "pilot shortage of 2013-2014" comes to fruition and I can upgrade or move up to mainline.


  1. A question from an outsider, can you move up to mainline without having been a captain first?

  2. Yes, lots of First Officers are doing just that. Mainline has dropped the turbine PIC requirement (normally accrued while Captain).

    Sent from my iPad.....

  3. Good to know! Is mainline dropping the turbine PIC requirement only for your regional airline or for any other regional pilots applying from any other regional? Thanks for the quick response, I love your blog. I'm hoping to follow in your footsteps some day soon.

  4. All regionals. I've seen First Officers go to United, Delta and US Airways all without TPIC.


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