Thursday, February 13, 2014

Long day

Day 2 of a 4 day.

Day 1 was long. I had a 7:15AM report time. Instead of driving myself to the airport and taking the employee bus, I had a beautiful woman drop me off right at the terminal. I love my wife.

I met the Captain in the crew room. He used to be in the training center. He trained me on my current aircraft 2 1/2 years ago.

The arrow (Flight Director position) was pointing to my side when we sat down on the flight the first leg was mine. Quick 50 minute block time.

On the way down the controller apparently forgot about us as we flew 15 miles past the airport before he turned us back for the approach. Easy ILS down to 1000 feet. In and done.

Quick turn and and we were back in base for a 2 hour 40 minute sit.

For leg 3 we had a delay. The aircraft had a previous write up for a failed fire test for the baggage compartment indicator. It was reported as repaired. Just to make sure we tested the fire system....and the baggage compartment failed. Another quick test to confirm.....failed.

Mechanics were called. We could go without the baggage compartment fire detector.....if we left all the baggage in base. Not very customer friendly.

The mechanic tested it and of course it failed. After about 45  minutes we were good to go. Bad relay.

Blocked out 45 minutes late. The out station is located in flat desert type area. I've never been able to find the airport more than 9 miles away. Yesterday was no different.

Cleared for a visual, but told to slow to approach speed. We were behind a Southwest 737, but the tower wanted to squeeze two departures between us and Southwest.

The Captain made a few 'S' turns for spacing, but the Southwest flight made a very un-Southwest like landing....meaning rolling out and taking their time clearing the runway. Just one regional jet took off before we arrived.

Once on the ground we were dealt another blow.

Another airline that flies for my mainline partner was having problems. They had a broken plane on the only gate we use...and another plane being fixed on a hard stand.

I tried calling operations...but they were too busy.

We parked about 50 yards behind the gate in a non-movement area and waited. The airport is set up for aircraft to taxi off the gate so they had no push back carts.

A few minutes later another flight from my airline arrived. They pulled in next to us.

After 20 minutes a set of stairs were rolled up to our plane. Finally hour and two minutes late.

It was a little nuts as passengers were walked across the ramp to the main terminal. A few minutes later the plane being fixed was ready.

They were loaded first. Then we were loaded. After we left the other flight from my airline was unloaded.

We left an hour and a half late. In fact we left 12 minutes before our final flight of the day was supposed to depart for the overnight.

Staffing is so tight there were no reserve pilots to staff the overnight flight. We were bumping up our maximum duty day under the new 117 rules.

Since we had a 7:15 AM report time and 5 legs we had to be finished with duty at 7:45 PM. We had to be off the gate by 6:15PM and in the air by 6:40PM.

Well we arrived in base at 5:15PM. We tried a quick turn but a passenger broke a piece of their seat. Another mechanic call. Thankfully it as a quick fix and we pushed back at 5:57PM and we left the ground at 6:09PM.

Decent 90 minute flight.

The out station was in Mississippi. Airports in the south tend to always have broken equipment. Sure enough the glideslope was out of service.

Weather wasn't horrible with a 700 foot overcast ceiling. I haven't shot a localizer approach in a real plane in years.

Vectored around a bit and put in the conga line. Around 700 feet AGL the Captain called the runway. From there it was an easy visual approach. In and done.

I may complain a bit every now and then on this blog, but understand this....I love what I do for a living. Flying isn't a's my passion. Even after the longest days with the worst weather and a grumpy crew....I still can't imagine doing anything else.

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