Sunday, August 31, 2014

Had a great trip to Norway and Denmark

The 7 hour difference was easy to adjust to while over there. Getting back my wife and I are tired...our four year old kiddo is wired.

I did ride on my first "Foreign" airline. I rode on British Airways for 3 of the 4 flights. The flight home was on a 747-400, my first time on such an airplane. It was interesting.

A Captains bid closed while I was on vacation. Missed it by exactly 30 numbers. If I had not given 2 weeks notice to my last employer I would have made the cut, but I am a man of my word. Hopefully next time.

Time to recover.

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Like clockwork

Relaxing at home after my 6th workday of the month. Last night I went to work for my 1st in a stint of 3 CDO's (Continuous Duty Overnights).

The Flight Attendant assigned to my line is very senior. He doesn't care to work much as I've only seen him once.

Sure enough last night a reserve Flight Attendant was assigned at the last minute.

Somehow we blocked out 7 minutes early. Captains leg.

Flight was planned at FL200. We stopped at 12,000 as it made little difference in fuel for climbing all the way up for a 90 NM flight.

Blocked in an astonishing 20 minutes early. This didn't hit me until I was filling out the paperwork at the hotel.

"Hey Jim, it's 9:50PM" I said.

"And? " asked my Captain.

"We're early...we weren't due to arrive until 9:50PM." I continued.

"Holy smokes you're right, first time all month we're at the hotel at our arrival time!" he said.

Same room 419.

Van scheduled for 5:20AM like always.

This cab driver is unique in many ways. One way is she bakes for flight crews. Sometimes a meal...often pastries. This morning she had fresh blueberry bread and chocolate bread.

I was sipping coffee and noticed it was 5:23AM.

"Hey guys, ya think we should head to the airport?" I said.

Off we went.

This station is very good. I was walking around for my preflight at 5:32 AM. Scheduled departure was 6AM.

At 5:50AM boarding was done, bags loaded, weight and balance computed....and away we went....10 minutes early. Well oiled machine...every now and then.

My leg airborne at 5:57 AM. Blasted off and immediately noticed lightening in the distance. The forecast was for scattered storms. I saw a thick line.

If the weather had not been there we would have been 35 minutes early (for a 50 minute blocked flight. With the weather we had a big detour.

We were vectored in between two minor weather systems. Heavy rain but a fairly smooth ride.


Wipers on high. We picked up the runway about 2 miles out. Lightening to the west of the runway. Lots of it. I mentioned if we went missed I would go north and then east. Thankfully an uneventful landing at 6:28AM.

With the lightening the ramp was closed meaning no one to park us. The rain and lightening got worse. Finally at 7AM a ramp manager guided us in and we parked.

After a quick bus ride I was eating donuts with my family at 7:50AM.

Done until tonight.



Monday, August 11, 2014

Room 419

It's been a while. I've been a little busy.

On June 30th I took the jump to electric and bought a BMW I3. It's my first BMW....first Electric car (my wife does have a Nissan Leaf). It's been exciting...I've been geeking out over it. My kiddo also turns 4 (FOUR!!!!) today.


As far as flying I've been a little busy....sorta. Here's how it's supposed to go:

Three nights a week I leave home at 7:30PM. I pull into the employee lot at 7:50PM, hop on the bus at 7:55PM and sign in to work at 8:10PM.

Ideally at 9PM the cabin door is closed and around 9:10PM my aircraft achieves flight.

A quick twenty five minutes later the aircraft settles down on a shortened 7000 foot runway.

At 9:55 PM I buckle into the front seat of a minivan and head off to the Comfort Inn and Suites.

At 10:10 PM I insert the key into room 419 and by 10:30PM I settle into bed.

Four fifty-five AM comes quickly and my alarm goes off.

A quick cup of coffee and an apple and I'm back in the same minivan (with the same driver!) departing the hotel at 5:20 AM.  In my bag is a freshly baked pastry as the van driver bakes overnight. I don't know when she sleeps.

I complete my detailed preflight and have everything set up by 5:45AM. The ground crew is really good and we are all buttoned up by 5:55AM.....five minutes early.

Being an uncontrolled airport I call for clearance while holding short of the runway. We blast off and are airborne at our departure time.

Not being very busy we get direct clearances and are back on the ground at 6:25AM.

By 7:10 AM I'm back in my car headed home.

All in all about 11 hours away from home. To do it all again the next night.

Now that's ideal. In reality of the 4 flights I've done only one has left the hub on time. Inbound aircraft delays, connecting baggage delays, passenger delays and weather delays. Sometimes all at once.

In the old days being late would affect the kick off flight as we needed a certain amount of rest. Seeing as my line is a continuous duty overnight there are no rest requirements. We've left the outstation on time every time.

The nights are short. I do take a nap in the middle of the day. By the third day I am quite worn out.

The Captain I'm flying with is very senior and fun to work with. Great sense of humor. We've had rotating Flight Attendants.

It is a little odd and at the same time comforting to stay in the same hotel room each 419.

I have vacation this month. Headed to Norway with the family. Any tips are greatly appreciated. I'll be flying through London Heathrow where I will have a nice 3 hour layover....great for plane spotting.

Time to take a nap.