Wednesday, June 19, 2019

My schedule is just a proposal

I am 3 for 3 having my schedule majorly disrupted.

Last week I was supposed to fly to Bogota from Miami. After arriving and being delayed scheduling wanted me to fly to Manaus, Brazil instead getting in 3 hours 3:30 AM central. I was supposed to arrive in Bogota at 12:20 AM central. I had to do a self assessment and call in fatigued. From my years of experience I predicted being fatigued a few hours into the Brazil flight. It wasn't safe for me to accept the flight.

Then earlier this week I picked up a Nashville overnight on overtime. It paid 10 1/2 hours for a simple 1-1 flight with just 2 hours and change flight time. Delayed for weather. By the time the plane came in I was reassigned without my knowledge (I left my phone at home). Ended up going home as they put a new crew on Nashville. The union is working with the company to get me paid since I wasn't aware of the reassignment and followed all the rules in the contract.

Last night I picked up a Las Vegas turn. It was a dead head there and fly back arriving at midnight. Due to a lack of pilots they were paying 150% to do that flight. I would be paid 7 hours or just over $ fly as a passenger and then one leg back. Easy right?

On the way back from Vegas the flight deck printer began printing a message I didn't request. It stated the Captain and I were to fly to Austin upon arrival in DFW. I wasn't expecting this. Austin is a short hour flight. I had a bunch of coffee on the way to Vegas to make sure I'd be fully alert for the flight to DFW. I decided I would do a self assessment on arrival in DFW.

Once on the ground I felt okay to continue as did the Captain. The passengers had been waiting for 3 hours and we were their last hope. I don't let outside influences affect my decision making concerning if I will complete a flight or not. That's an easy way to make a mistake. Last night I felt okay before knowing that we were their last hope.

Quick flight down. I rotated the nose into the air at 1:17 AM and smoothly touched the runway at 1:50 AM. If it weren't for Southwest and United ahead of us I would have landed at 1:40 AM.

Scheduling gave me 11 hours of rest in Austin before deadheading back that afternoon. I decided I didn't want to rest in Austin as I was still hopped up on coffee.

I arranged with scheduling to take the first flight out at 5 AM....which was the same aircraft I flew in.

I checked into the hotel at 2:40 AM. I cleaned up and rested in the bed until 3:40 AM. I then took the 4 AM shuttle back to the airport.

Since I live close to DFW I was at my kitchen table with donuts for the kids at 6:35 AM.

Due to extra Austin turn my pay jumped to Just over $2170...for one night of work. That used to take me almost a month to earn back when I first started at American Eagle back in 2007.

Off for a while now. I've flown A LOT recently.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Every year the flights get longer

First...I really enjoy my career.

I've been flying commercially for 12 years. Every year it seems my flights get longer and longer. Last night I flew the longest flight of my career....2228 Nautical Miles. I flew DFW to Bogota, Columbia.

This flight is on day 2 of a 3ish day trip. The first day was an afternoon start. I had been in Sacramento, California visiting family. I took at 7 AM flight to DFW...on the jump seat.

Landed in DFW just before 1 PM. I had a 1:47 PM report time. My inbound aircraft was running late so my first flight was already delayed.

Day one was DFW-DEN-DFW-MCO. I was scheduled to arrive at MCO at 12:28 AM. Due to weather and delays we didn't arrive until 1:18 AM. Walked into the hotel at 2:10 AM.

I met the Captain in the lobby for a 12:30 PM van. Day 2 was MCO-DFW-BOG. Weather in MCO caused a delay. Weather in DFW caused another delay leaving to BOG. It all began to pile on.

Bogota is a special qualification airport. The airport sits at 8360 feet MSL. The airport is surrounded by very high terrain. This time of year the area is known for tremendous thunderstorms. I decided to take the leg down.

I spent a good amount of time last week reviewing the charts and documentation for arriving and departing BOG. Scheduled block time was 5 1/2 hours. Plenty of time to review the charts further.

Sure enough there were gigantic storms all around the area. Unlike the United States, the controllers down south make no mention of the storms. It was up to us.

It took a lot of coordination and situational awareness to navigate the storms while descending into high terrain. We were off the RNAV arrival for large portions of the final segment.

On an extended base we were finally in the clear. I haven't flown the 319 since early May. It's much shorter than the 321...handles a little differently. Slight crosswind landing. Average landing. Due to higher altitude our true airspeed was much higher than indicated. Even with my normal braking and thrust reverse the rollout was longer and the brakes got much warmer than normal. I turned the brake fans on the taxi in.

Exhausted. I mostly remember the walk thru the airport and into the van for the hotel.

Twenty -two hour overnight. I head back to DFW tonight arriving tomorrow morning at 5:20 AM.