Sunday, April 6, 2014

Got to the overnight 4 hours early!

Day 1 of a 4 day. It's the same trip all month. It's a 3-2-2-3 worth 19 hours 40 minutes.

Today started with me leaving the house at 7:15AM. I pulled into the employee lot and was on the bus at 7:30AM.

Departure was 8:40AM...left one minute early. I'm paired with a different Captain each week as the line Captain retired on the 1st but was still awarded a line.

The Captain I'm paired with this week is a nice enough guy. I've flown with him in the past. Not a great stick in rudder, but nice enough guy otherwise.

My leg out. Long 2.5 hour flight. Lots of weather. Choppy most of the way. Cloudy but marginal VFR at the out station. I picked up the airport on the downwind. A few turns and done.

For the flight back we had the fuel tanks topped off. We had headwinds and weather to contend with.

About halfway into 3 hour leg we finally got smooth weather. I made a PA and turned the seat belt sign off. Like clock work ATC gave use revised routing. I popped it into the FMS and just shook my head....we didn't have enough fuel for the reroute.

The Captain and Dispatcher agreed to make a fuel stop at an airport just 60 miles away...that happened to be our overnight destination.

Seat belt sign turned back on along with another PA about our change of plans.

The Captain landed on runway 14. We were the only airline on the ground at the time. This tiny airport doesn't see much mid day airline traffic.

It took a few minutes for our air line ground crew to come out.

The aircraft we were in had an MEL'd APU. The APU could produce air but not power. Not a big deal but it meant we needed a GPU.

It was a little ironic we were at the overnight 4 hours early. It would be so much easier to just go to the hotel. If only we could have.

A fairly quick 34 minutes later we were being pushed back out with enough fuel for the reroute. I decided to take the next leg.

An hour an thirty three minutes later we were in the hub.

I was supposed to have a 2 hour 20 minute sit. That was gone. Thankfully we were keeping the same aircraft to the overnight.

Quick run for food.

Blocked out 1 minute late. Rampers wanted to disconnect power early even though we told them we needed it for an engine start. Bleh.

Captains leg again. Back through the weather. Weather was IFR when we left with 1000 foot ceilings and winds favoring ILS 14.

It was worse now.

Ceilings were 400 overcast, 1 3/4 SM visibility  and  winds 330@9G25 in rain. There was only a GPS approach to runway 32. Mins were  400 feet and 1 1/4 mile visibility. Ugh.

Heavy returns on the weather RADAR 5 miles outside of the final approach fix. The Captain requested tight vectors. Well we got them...too tight. Blew right through the approach course.  We were then given a 360 degree turn to get back on course.


700 AGL I saw nothing. 500 AGL I saw nothing. Right at 400 feet I barely saw the VASI and runway lights. There was no approach lighting system.

"Runway in sight, 12 o'clock" I stated.

"You got it  for sure ?" asked the Captain.


Even travelling 150 MPH with the wipers on high, it was difficult to see outside.

Firm but fine landing.

Blocked in one minute late.

Eleven hour overnight.

Here's to hoping the rest of the trip is easier.

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