On day 2 of a 4 day. Yep.....four day trip. After months of flying two day trips and CDOs (Continuous Duty Overnights), I am back to four day trips. Four days. All to have Christmas off.
I wanted 3 day trips with Christmas off, but I couldn't hold them. What I have now isn't bad. It's just four days away from home.
The first two trips are highly unproductive trips worth just 17 hours each. By comparison I've done 20 hour 3 day trips and 14 hour 2 day trips in the past. I want to come to work and work, not sit in hotel rooms.
The overnights are 18 hours, 17 hours and 13 hours long. More annoyance is it's a 5-2-4-3 trip. I really don't like 5 leg days as it's tiring. Running checklist over and over again. First world problems I know.
The Captain is only the 5th female I've flown with in 7 years. First time flying with her but we've passed each other often to know the others face. We get along fine. Like most Captains I fly with she lets me do my thing and is fine as long as I stay within the guidelines of our ops specs and tell her anything I'm going that might be "technique". "Technique" would be doing something non-standard but still within the guidelines. For example some pilots like to climb in Vertical Speed mode vs Indicated Airspeed mode. Both are fine, just one is rarely used.
To start the trip she insisted we play rock, paper, scissors to see who got to pick to fly first. I won and decided to start the trip.
Over 5 legs we had 3 different aircraft. The first two each had issues we had to address one on each leg. The final aircraft was fine.
I've been blogging less over the last two months. I should say I've posted less in the last two months. I've written up a few things, but never hit the publish button. Reason being they were written out of emotion and somewhat irrational.
The regional industry has changed dramatically over the last 18 months. Thanks to airlines like PSA, Piedmont and Endeavor, airline management has lowered the value placed upon regional airlines. These airlines have stated they will do my job for less money in trade for new (or in the case of Piedmont well used) aircraft.
This has forced my management to threaten my livelihood unless I too agree to work for less money. My pilot group voted down concessions earlier this year. Then the beatings started. For 9 months nothing but bad news has come out to my pilot group. A base closure, aircraft being transferred to other carriers and cancelled upgrade classes among weekly other little punches to the group in the way of new procedures and restrictions.
The stress has taken a toll on many. One pilot had to be temporarily relieved of duty when he was caught pre-flighting the wrong plane. It wasn't even our airline, but a mainline aircraft. The stress had taken it's toll and he is getting the help he needs.
My own wife has noticed a change in me. I love what I do. As soon as the flight deck door closes I am a kid in a candy store. It's everything outside of the flight deck that bothers me.
Once again management is at our door demanding concessions. They aren't as deep as they were last time, but they are still concessions. I believe now they will get them. It's like we are in an abusive marriage and just want the beatings to stop. Just stop and let us do our jobs.
With that said I'm going to go get breakfast. I'm staying at a Hampton Inn. I've never been to the Hamptons....but I doubt it's anything like the Hampton Inn.