I'm on day 5 of a 6 day reserve trip. Six days....longest trip of my 8 1/2 year career.
As a new Captain I have restrictions on what kind of weather I can land in. It's known as being a "baby" Captain. To keep it simple I can't land with less than 1 mile visibility and 300 foot ceilings. Most ILS approaches go down to 1/2 miles and 200 foot ceilings.
It's ironic that my First Officers can land at 1/2 and 200. When I was a First Officer I could land at 1/2 and 200, but because I'm new to the left seat it's now 1 and 300. This new restriction applies to me and thus my First Officer as well.
As luck would have it I have had low ceilings almost every approach. Last night was the lowest.
KHPN was reporting 1 and 400 when we left the hub. It was supposed to stay that way for our arrival.
About 45 minutes out the most recent ATIS reported 1 1/2 and 400. Good enough.
The runway at KHPN isn't terribly long at 6500 feet. It was raining. Our charts stated we needed 4000 feet of pavement to land (this included landing 1000 feet down said 4000 foot runway as airliners plan on).
My First Officer has been at the airline for 4 months. Very sharp.
As we were shooting down the ILS there was nothing but clouds. Passing 1000 feet...nothing. Passing 500 feet nothing. I expected him to say "approach lights in sight continue" shortly after 500. Instead I heard nothing. Passing 400 I got a little nervous, but the preceding CRJ landed fine.
Finally at 300 he said "approach lights in sight continue!". I clicked off the autopilot and then he said "runway in sight, 12 o'clock!". I looked up to see the runway lights on full intensity.
My eyes took a moment to adjust from the dark cockpit to these extremely bright runway lights. I gently kicked over the nose and planted the mains just past the 1000 foot markers. Max reverse and slight braking brought us to taxi speed with 1500 feet to spare. Exciting.
I'm glad it worked out as it would have been a little awkward (but the right thing to do) to divert because I'm a new Captain.
Beyond that this trip has been fine. I've had 4 different First Officers. All but one have been great. The one that wasn't was new and thought it was okay to recite checklist from memory. It's not. He missed things. I corrected him and asked him to read the physical checklist. He didn't. I corrected him again. No change. Eh.
Today is one flight to the hub then a ferry (no passengers, cargo or Flight Attendants) flight to an out station. Tomorrow morning is another ferry to the hub and I'm done.....for two days...then I'm back for 5 more days.
My baby Captain status goes away after 100 hours in the left seat. So far I have 30.
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