Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Thirty Seven Years later....

Day 4 of a 4 day. I began this posting sitting in a Townplace Suites somewhere in Indiana.

I was supposed to be sitting in a Hilton in Florida.

The trip was fine for the most part. The first Captain was a senior guy here for the paycheck.

The first flight out was telling for the rest of the trip. At 12 minutes to departure he was no where to be seen. The passengers were on board, fuel loaded, cargo loaded, flight plan loaded...but no Captain. I headed up to the gate and there he was chatting with the gate agent with a bag of food in his hand. He said he'd be down in a minute.

I assumed he was a commuter and running late. Nope. That was his style.

He sat down and took his time. When the door was closed we ran the checklists. He said he'd made an extra hour last week "without really trying."

I saw how he wasn't trying. He didn't run a checklist until the door was closed (not the norm), he taxied very slowly, climbed at a slow speed and flew slower than planned.

At each turn he'd leave the airplane and come back on board 10 minutes to push. I would do everything else.....until day 2.

I had had enough. Before leg 4 to the overnight the Flight Attendant and I needed food. I put my bags in the plane and headed out to get food for the two of us. We were already running late. This time I arrived back at the plane 15 minutes to push thinking he might be there. Nope.

When he arrived I had most thing done again. He took his time. The door closed then he read the MELs. We had two annoying MELs...one for an erratic low fuel caution sensor and one for a ram air valve not working.

"Did you stick the tanks to measure the fuel?" he asked.

"Nope....didn't know I had to." I replied.

"Crap, Hey (yelling to the flight attendant) we need to reopen the door." said the Captain.

"I don't think we need to do that." I replied.

"Oh wait, never mind." he said as he read the MEL requirements.

The ram air valve being inop meant we had to fly lower than normal. We had plenty of fuel on board.

My leg out. I climbed at normal profiles. At Top of Climb the fuel numbers were better than planned. The Captain insisted I fly a little slower than planned  to "save fuel."

Long flight. Landed 2 minutes late. Super slow taxi and we  blocked in 10 minutes late....with an extra 400 pounds over planned arrival fuel.

Day 3 started with a 4PM van. Captain was late getting to the van. A little annoying as there was another crew on board. He had vacation the next day. He had one leg to the hub and a deadhead home. He had a 40 minute connect time. The rest of us had a 40 minute connect time to the overnight.

The plane was late coming in. Instead of leaving at 5:05PM we left at 5:45PM. Scheduling had already pulled the rest of the crew from the overnight. We would be staying the night in the hub (not where we are based). Hotels were to be provided.

Suddenly the Captain was in a hurry. He ran checklist early and taxied faster than normal. He attempted to rush me through a checklist. I politely stated I was not ready and neither was the Flight Attendant.

"Shouldn't we hold short a bit of this taxiway to not block other flights since we aren't ready?" I asked.

"It'll be fine." he replied.

We only blocked traffic for about 90 seconds as we waited for the Flight Attendant to finish the safety briefing.

Up and away we went. He climbed very shallowly and at a much higher rate of speed than normal.

"Not worried about fuel today eh?" I asked.

"I've got to make my deadhead home, I have vacation tomorrow." he replied.

After copious amounts of Jet A being burned we arrived 20 minutes UNDER block time and burned 600 pounds more than planned.

The Captain packed his things and ran to make his dead head home.

For the rest of us things got crappy.

The plane we brought in was going to our ORIGINAL overnight. It was being re-crewed with reserves. For my Flight Attendant and I , we were assigned a different overnight leaving AT THE SAME TIME as our original overnight. The new overnight flight was twice as long. We'd stay the night and dead head home in the morning.

The overnight was fine. The next morning we hopped in the hotel van and headed to the airport. Neither one of us had overnighted there before. We actually got lot in the somewhat small airport.

Long 2 1/2 hour dead head. I arrived home at the time my original flight was supposed to arrive.

When I walked in the door my wife and daughter were sitting at the table wearing birthday party hats....I turned 37 the day prior.




  1. Happy Birthday! I've been reading your blog for a while, and now that I know you're the same age as me it's an interesting "what if I'd…" read.

  2. Cristian Iulian DragotaMarch 26, 2014 at 7:38 PM

    Happy Birthday! I read your blog for more than two years now and I simply love it! Keep up the good work!

  3. Belated Happy Birthday! Good luck with all the upcoming turmoil in your industry...looks like it may not be pretty :(

  4. Happy Birthday... Hope you enjoyed the rest of the day!


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