Saturday, May 6, 2017

Bizzaro trip

I'm on day 3 of a 4 day.

I'm supposed to be a FL 360 headed to the hub. Instead I'm on my couch.

The unraveling of my trip started on day 1. It was supposed to be a quick 2 hour turn and a long flight to Canada.

Weather caused a huge reroute on the first leg. I flew this leg.  On final, about 700 feet AGL, to the out station I encountered a flock of birds. Several birds impacted the windshield. Crap. I glanced over at the engine gauges...all reading normal.

Landed uneventfully. This would normally have been a minimal delay. I called for a bird strike inspection to get the ball rolling. As time went on I could tell something was wrong. Sure enough the contract mechanics at the airport were no longer certified for the Embraer 175. The could take a computer based training course and be certified in 30 minutes. For whatever reason that didn't happen. My airline Maintenance Operations Control was not happy. Being late in the afternoon there wasn't time to fly mechanics down and get the flight out same day. Flight cancelled. 76 passengers would not be getting to where they wanted because of birds...and lack of the local mechanics to maintain their currency.

After about an hour we had hotel for the night.

Mechanics were flying down on the last flight of the night and the aircraft would be ready for the morning.

For reasons beyond me I was scheduled to ferry to plane back to base...without flight attendants or passengers. Bad choice in my opinion...but I don't run the airline.

The mechanics cleaned off the bird residue and the aircraft was ready at 9 AM. One of the two morning kick off flights cancelled. They are flown by a much less reliable feeder that is prone to cancellations. We should have flown the flight as an extra segment...but again I don't run the airline.

It was my First Officers leg. We decided to have fun and did a max power takeoff. The takeoff roll was under 1800 feet. From zero to 126 knots (145 MPH) in 1800 feet. Up, up and away we went. Sustained 5000 feet per minute through 15000 feet.

In and done. My First Officer picked up the first two days of my trip as overtime. It was scheduled for 10 hours but paid 20 (due to a shortage of pilots my airline is paying double for all extra flying!). Due to the cancellation all he did was one leg down and one leg up. He got home 8 hours earlier and only flew 2.4 hours...but paid for 20. He won that day.

I was scheduled to deadhead to my next overnight. I was originally supposed to fly to the overnight late that night on day 2. But the bird strike through everything off.

On the deadhead I caught up with a Flight Attendant I had not seen in two years. We were going to the same hotel.

Long overnight. The rest of my crew (original Flight Attendants and a new First Officer) flew in late on day 2 and were at a different hotel.

The morning of day 3 I woke up and, for reasons I can't explain, didn't check my schedule and just headed to the airport. The weather was nice all over.....why assume there would be an issue.

I was alone in the hotel van as the rest of the crew was at a different hotel. I got to the gate 50 minutes early. I relaxed and caught up on news. I saw my flight number on the departure board at the gate. All was well.

Out of the corner of my eye I see an aircraft approach my gate....but it's not a Embraer 175. Uh oh. I check my schedule. Equipment change. I assume I'm deadheading. Nope. I was reassigned to ferry another 175 to another hub later in the afternoon. Ugh.

I call and get a new hotel as the aircraft was down for maintenance and the flight was 7 hours away. I later learned the new First Officer did the same thing...arrived and saw the change.

At 1:45 PM the First Officer and I boarded the hotel van and headed back to the airport. Ferry was scheduled for 2:$5 PM.

At 2:30 PM we hopped in a rusty 1980s era Ford Van and rode to a hangar.

There was a major flight control computer issue after power up. Mechanics came on board....hit buttons...ran test...and cleared the error.

At 3:40 PM we taxi'd out. Ferry flights rarely go on time.

My leg. Another max power takeoff. Fun.

Landed and pulled into a gate at 5:37 PM. My First Officer (on overtime like the first one) ran to catch a commute flight at 6:10 PM . I had a deadhead back to base.

At the gate I met up with two recruiters for my airline. I got the skinny on just how bad the shortage is. The deadhead left over an hour late.

I walked into my backdoor at 10:45 PM. I have a, hope to be quick, 2 hour turn at noon. Should be home by 4 PM.

So far this is day 4 and I've flown ONE revenue flight...the first leg. If today goes well I will have flown 3.

Bizzaro trip indeed.