Wednesday, July 1, 2020

A whole lot of Anchorage

So I got to fly again.....crazy long legs.

For June I bid a line and was given 3 Anchorage, Alaska trips and 5 other "hybrid" days.

A hybrid day is a day where they will find flying for me. If they can't find flying for me then I get paid anyway. It's a pretty good deal as I pick the days to be available.

I thought I was ready for a long flight. For a year I have been flying to South America regularly. I was wrong...Alaska is the OTHER direction.

Flying up to Anchorage is easy. The flight leaves at 2:50 PM and arrives around 7PM Alaska time. The flight is almost 7 hours but it's daytime. The aircraft is the new Airbus 321 NEO.

The NEO has new engines and a slightly different flight deck. There's new technology and a few new buttons. The thing that took time to learn was CPDLC. In short it allows pilots and ATC to communicate via text message. It's neat...but takes time to learn.

The overnight is about 27 hours long. Do the math and back. The return flight leaves at 11:50 PM Alaska time...or 2:50 AM Dallas time. Big difference. When I left South America I would leave between 11 PM and 12:30 AM Dallas time depending on the overnight.

For South America Overnights I would take a nap around 5 PM...get a good 5 hour rest...waking up around 10 PM well before deep sleep.

For Alaska when I got to bed at 5 PM it's really 8 PM.....I get 5 hours sleep and I am in deep sleep when I wake up at 10 PM which is really 1 AM. I am groggy and irritable.

But enough complaining. Alaska is a beautiful. Sad I can take/post photos of the approach into the Ted Stephens Airport. The view is breathtaking. Arriving flights land on 15 or  25 L/R. I flew the first trip up there and landed on 25 R. On final there's a long mountain chain to the east of the airport....or right in front of you on landing. Quite the sight.

Almost every airline stays at the same hotel. Nice but vacant with the current stuff going on.

On my first trip I just stayed in the area on foot. Enough to see.

On my second trip.....well on the way we lost a lot of oil in the number 2 engine and had to divert to Seattle for the night. We arrived in Anchorage at 11 AM the next day and still left at 11:50 PM that night...I didn't do much.

On my third trip I decided to explore.

I rented a car for the day from Enterprise. The agent said normally the cheapest car is over $110 a day. I paid $32 all in...because of the current conditions

They opened at 7:30 AM. I was in the car by 7:33 AM.

I drove south to Seward. Amazing drive. I've never seen so many signs alerting of photo opportunities.

 After lunch in Seward I headed back. The drive was 250 miles total and filled up most of my day.

Back in my hotel room by 4 PM. I tried to sleep and got maybe 4 hours sleep. Rough.

The sun is still up at departure time. If we take the northern track back the sun sets for about 30 minutes then continually rises on the Captains side for hours.

Each time I get back I am a zombie most of the day. As beautiful as Alaska is....I don't want those trips in the future. The trip back is horrible on the body.

Next month I have my first trip back to South America....headed to Ecuador thru Miami.

As far as my position goes...I am safe for now. I think I am safe thru July 2021. Beyond idea...but no one really knows.

As far as my hybrid days I was used for 4 out of 5. I did 2 LAX turns where I flew there and deadheaded back. I also had one STL overnight. Not bad. I get a total of 84 hours pay this month.