Thursday, September 4, 2014

Welcome back geek

Currently sitting in a (surprisingly) nice Holiday Inn on day 3 of a 4 day.

This month I couldn't hold the 3 day trips I wanted (basically 3 day trips weekends off). So I have 4 day trips with late starts. Fits with only paying for daycare 3 days a week.

Tuesday morning I played with my daughter, ran a few errands and relaxed before passing the torch to my wife. She arrived home at 2 PM and I left for work at 2:20 PM.

Day 1 was 3 legs.  The first turn was short and the last leg was fairly long.


I arrived at the aircraft 40 minutes prior. Hot. The aircraft pre-conditioned air hose from the jet bridge had a nice 90 degree crease in it...blocking air flow. No rampers around. I learned long ago to take care of me first. Sadly the some ramp personnel at my airline have started to give up doing a good job. As long as the air hose is connected and the GPU cable is connected they feel they have done their job. Many times the air isn't turned on and/or the GPU isn't turned on. Their supervisors drive around in trucks and look for the air and power being connected. So from their eyes things are okay.

I do send emails and electronic ACARs messages that the power and/or air aren't working. Nothing changes.

I started the APU then turned on the packs.

Preflight done.  I began setting up the aircraft and reviewing the maintenance logbook. I noticed a history of issues with the emergency lighting system. In fact the aircraft was just returned to service after having the emergency lighting system repaired.

My crew arrived and boarding began soon after. One of the last items done by the Captain before closing the boarding door is arming the emergency lights. They armed fine. He then deselected the GPU and that's when we got a caution that the emergency lights weren't armed....even though they were.

Emergency lights are required and can not be deferred. Deplaned. Lucky for us there was an aircraft at the next gate ready to go.

Departed 36 minutes late, which isn't bad considering swapping aircraft, moving cargo, passengers, new flight release and everything else.

I had not flown in almost two naturally I picked the leg outbound. Quick 35 minute flight. Stiff 25 knot direct crosswind complicated with hilly terrain around the airport. Not my best landing....but the aircraft would fly again....right away....with no inspections required.

Quick 19 minute turn. Captain had the next two legs.

The Captain is on his way out. He is an IOE Captain but is giving it up as he got a job at a Major and wants to leave cleanly.

Arrived at the overnight 5 minutes early.

This overnight used to have an awesome hotel and an amazing breakfast. Well the hotel transformed into a DoubleTree...and abruptly cancelled the contract with my airline.

The hotel agreed to continue to provided transportation to a different hotel while we find a new location. Recipe for disaster.

My crew was out on the van. We called the Doubletree and they stated we had a 10:50PM pick up. We arrived at 10:25PM and hotels are supposed to monitor our flights to adjust their pick up times.

The time was 10:35PM.

We waited.

At 10:50PM no van. We called both hotels and stated we would be taking a taxi (that they pay for). Both stated the van was indeed almost there.

Finally at 11:02PM the van arrived. We were at the hotel at 11:07PM. Short ride. Someone was fibbing.

Average hotel. We were all happy to leave.

Four leg day on day 2. First two were mine.

During the first leg the Captain told me he was getting a line check today. Even though it's his line check I'm also being watched.

Better landing in base. I actually had two landings as I greased it on...went up...then rolled it on again.  Ninety minute sit. I headed to another terminal for veggie burrito.

Next flight is about an hour. Line Check Airmen met us at the gate. Really nice guy.

In the past the line check would be the outbound leg and on the inbound leg the Check Airmen would sit in the back. A problem arose that crews would make mistakes that warrant pulling them from flying status...stranding the aircraft and passengers (and the Check Airmen!). Solution was to reverse it. Only do line checks on the inbound leg.

I had the outbound leg. Easy flight. Another gusty approach. I started my descent a little late from altitude so I had to pop the spoilers and put out the flaps a little early. Worked out fine. I had to work a bit but managed another butter smooth landing.

Quick turn. Check Airman was now in the jumpseat. He did ask who was the show off who rolled it on. Nice to get a compliment.

Normal flight. In cruise the Check Airman mentioned his upcoming trip to Vegas. He BOUGHT first class tickets, a suite at MGM for a week and planning on blowing $2000 a day gambling. He's in a whole different world than the world I live in.

Line check complete. No issues.

Plane swap and off to the overnight.

Neither the Captain or I had ever been to this airport. We studied the low en-route for terrain and the airport diagram. Two runways, one 4100 feet and the other 6500 feet.

Surprisingly they had a control tower...and it was still open at 8:30 PM! We are the only airline servicing the airport.

Out in the darkness we saw a green and white beacon. There were no city lights nearby. Middle of nowhere.

Easy approach.

We walked out to see an old Holiday Inn van. Our expectations were low.

We were happily surprised with a very nice Holiday Inn. They did have the standard crappy small square pillows (WHO LIKES THESE?!?!?!?) and no regular pillows. Eh.

Had the nice and free breakfast buffet with my Captain. Now 10 AM....1:30 PM van. Gonna explore a bit.

It's great to be back.


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