Saturday, June 14, 2014


Two day Mexico trip was mostly uneventful.

Day one was uneventful. I took the leg down. Even though it was VFR they were advertising a VOR/DME approach with an arc. I haven't done one in a while and did the full approach. In and done.

At lunch at the same place as last week. Used up the rest of my Pesos.

One quick shot I took while down south. I like to blend in to the area and avoid taking photos as that screams "tourist."


Early morning van ride back. The hotel had amazing coffee in the lobby. I love black coffee and this stuff was awesome.

Easy leg back. Arrived 25 minutes early. Breezed through customs and stopped by the crew room to pickup a new checklist. Mine was becoming worn.

For the outbound leg for the last turn I arrived at the aircraft early. Hot. I started the APU and setup the aircraft. The Captain arrived 25 minutes to push. Just as he sat down I heard a clicking noise coming through the overhead speaker. The thing was it wasn't selected to be on. I then saw four caution messages on the EICAS. Rut row.

I advised him first of the call I made for a taxi light to be repaired (it had a cracked lens). I then told him about the clicking noise and caution messages.

We did a CTRL-ALT-DEL by powering down the aircraft and then back up. All back to normal. Just needed the taxi light fixed.

Mechanic arrived. He signaled to turn on the taxi lights. We did. He signaled again. We cycled them. Nothing.

He came up to the flight deck to troubleshoot. I waited in the jet bridge.

Just inside the aircraft above the Flight Attendant jump seat is an emergency flashlight. Normally when the aircraft is powered the flashlight is charging. This one wasn't. I asked the Flight Attendant if the rear flashlight was charging. It wasn't.

I poked my head into the flight deck and asked if any of those flashlights were charging. Nope. Something electrical was going on.

After about 10 minutes he headed out to take a look at the lights. We had to call a different mechanic to checkout the flashlight issue.

The first mechanic MEL'd (put out of service) the taxi lights since they weren't needed for flight.

When he left we noticed he had turned a switch that , among other things, charges the flashlights. Once it was back on....the flashlights charged again.

Away we went.

Long flight south of the border again.

The airport was advertising visual approaches. We have to cross a mountainous area on the arrival. One thing about Mexico....stay on the airway unless it's VFR. Controllers will approve ANYTHING you ask, even if it means flying into a mountain. A few places we go are in a non-RADAR environment.

Descending from FL360 there was a clear overcast layer below. We were on the airway.

The controller asked if we could fly direct to the final approach fix. Because we had not yet cross the terrain below the clouds we declined.

This seemed to annoy him.

We were out of RADAR contact. Told to report 40 DME. We did. He again asked if we could fly direct to the final approach fix. Still above the clouds we declined.

At this point he cleared us for the VOR/DME approach. The approach was based on the airway we were on during the arrival portion (we were using the FMS, but it was using GPS/VORDME for location and navigation).

We stepped down per the altitudes listed on the approach plate.

Clearing 11,000 feet we were below the clouds and could see the airport and terrain. The airport was straight ahead.

I advised we could see the airport and could proceed to the final approach fix.

Denied. The Captain remarked that we were being punished for not going direct earlier.

In and done.

My leg back.

The clicking in the speakers came back as did the caution messages, but only for 10 seconds. Gremlins. We looked further back in the had been "fixed" last week.

Being the last leg we were motivated to arrive early. Tailwinds and a few short cuts and we pulled into the gate 30 minutes early, I was in my car at arrival time. The Captain wrote up the clicking and messages again.

Tonight I do my first CDO. Monday I have an interesting trip. More on that later.


  1. Looks like tourist shots will be the only ones allowed going forward looking at the updated PED regulations coming out of the FAA..

    Thanks for posting - always a nice 5 minute distraction from this desk I fly..

    All the best


  2. Yes in flight photos will be a thing of the past.


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