April is here! Time flies.
On a two day trip. Flying with a Captain I have not flown with in 4 years. Back then we were both on a larger, more powerful, all together better aircraft. Now we are both flying another plane solely due to quality of life. To fly the better plane we'd have to commute.
We both talked about how much we truly despised the current plane. When you've had the best.....it sucks to go down 5 levels.
The first day was three legs. He's an old school guy and always takes the leg out. No biggie. I took the next two. The first two flights were uneventful. The last was normal except for the last 5 minutes.
Headed to HPN...White Plains, New York....filled with uppity folks who despise regional jets but don't want to drive to JFK/LGA to fly a "big plane".
With a 130 knot tailwind we were projected to arrive 50 minutes early. The flight is a bit overblocked as the NY airspace can be congested.
The reported winds favored a straight in landing to runway 16. As we got closer the ATIS stated runway 16 was in use. There was a light 5 knot direct crosswind.
I briefed and setup my descent for a straight in approach. Passing 11,000 feet we were told the airport was being turned around and now runway 34 was in use.
This would add 5-7 minutes to the flight, but still early.
On the downwind the approach controller stated we were number 3 and would be following a Gulfstream at 12 o'clock, 4 miles and 1000 feet below.
The NY airspace is busy. It was a clear night but with all the ground lights we did not feel confident following the aircraft we thought SHOULD be the Gulfstream. We advised we were looking for it.
On base I saw the airport and felt confident I could keep it in sight. Cleared for the visual and assigned 170 knots.
The Gulfstream was in clear view 3 miles ahead.
Once we switched to tower frequency we heard our flight and told to slow down as there would be a departure between the Gulfstream landing and our landing. We had not been cleared to land, only to "continue".
At 1000 feet AGL the Gulfstream was still rolling out. I told the Captain that I didn't think this was going to work. I mentally went through the go around profile. With the departing aircraft I included the possibility for the instructions to include a turn.
At 700 feet the Gulfstream was just still clearing the runway when Tower cleared the aircraft holding in position to takeoff.
The Gulfstream cleared by the time the departing aircraft started rolling.
At 500 feet the aircraft ahead was airborne.
Nice and soft landing followed by moderate braking and done. So I thought.
The HPN airport only has 4 gates. They will not assign a gate to a flight until they land. A bit odd. We were assigned gate 2. In and done. So I thought.
We were still 40 minutes early. We walked out to the curb to wait for the van. Being so early there was no van waiting. We saw another crew and asked where they were headed, happened to be the same hotel. They were concerned if we would all fit (7 total crew members between us). I called the hotel and asked if the vehicle was large enough. The hotel insured it was.
We talked a bit and watched a JetBlue crew walk past. I told the other crew they should all get in first since they arrived first.
The van arrived. We walked out to see Jetblue hopping in. We told them that we had all been waiting and both of us had called. They didn't care. We let the other crew hop in and we had to get a cab. We thought we were almost done.
We walked over to a cab and hopped in. We told the driver where we were going. He started shaking his head and took our bags out....not telling us why. He said we had to call our own cab as cabs are prearranged.
It took 4 minutes to get through as the line was constantly busy. I was told I had to pay via credit card and over the phone. Fine.
30 minutes after landing we were in the cab. The 7 mile drive cost $33! The hotel paid me back in cash on check in. Finally done.
Today is 3 legs with a deadhead on mainline home.