Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I love what I do

Every now and then I get the question...."is it worth it?" It being giving up my high paying, 8-5 Monday thru Friday job for the exact opposite. Well for the most part for me....yes.

I had a great support system prior to starting down the journey of becoming an airline pilot. I had a stable work history, college degree, money in the bank and a extremely supporting wife. If I were single, just out of high school/college, living on my own....I would likely have a different answer.

I don't think I could have supported myself on what I made the first two years. Heck I know I couldn't have. My quality of life would have been much lower. Now that I am on third year pay I should pull down $35K next year before taxes and per diem. Not a lot of cash really. The Assistant Manager position of the gas station down from my house starts at $34K. All about perspective.

Today is my Monday. I work the next five days. Yep right through Thanksgiving. My wife is very understanding. We are penciling in a trip to Vegas in December to make up for Thanksgiving and Christmas. All about perspective.

My last trip Saturday was really nice. It was on overtime.

The flight left at 5:20PM. For reasons I still don't know my Captain didn't arrive to the plane until 5:10PM. By then I had the plane set up and he literally just had to sit down, sign for the plane, close the door and then collect 3X my pay.

I chose the leg out Mostly because I figured I set up the plane, I wanted to fly it. It has been a while since I flew a fully loaded plane. We took off just a few hundred pounds shy of MTOW. There is definitely a difference felt. The plane had one minor mechanical issue, the slats were only operating at 1/2 speed.

The winter jet stream hasn't arrived yet. At FL 370 we had just 10 knots of wind acting on the plane. Normally its over 80 knots this time of year.

The landing weight was also just shy of max landing weight. My plane seems to be "easier" to land when heavy. Sure enough I rolled it on nicely.

I haven't been to this airport or hotel in months. A lot has changed. The rooms are now all fancy which is nice....except for the thermostat.

When I walked in the room it showed 69 degrees. It felt much warmer. I turned it all the way down to 64...it ran for 5 minutes and shutoff...now showing 64 degrees. Liar. I turned the fan mode on. Warm all night.

It was a short overnight. Just 10 hours between arrival and departure. Of those 10 hours, 9 are considered to be rest. Of those 9 hours, 30 minutes were spent in the hotel van. Another 10 were spent talking to and from the room. So really just about 8 hours of rest. Of course I need at least 30 minutes to get ready...so 7 1/2 hours. Unfortunately I can't sleep on demand. I really got about 6 hours of sleep.

Due to the light winds the flight computer estimated we would be 45 minutes EARLY. Nice. I get the full scheduled flight pay or greater. Since we would be early I would end up getting paid for 45 minutes of work I didn't do.

The flight was fine. No issues. The previous MEL for the Slats 1/2 speed had been fixed by contract mechanics.

More photos to come. Recently reinstalled Mac OS X and Windows 7 on my Macbook Pro. Still getting all the regular programs back in place.

And yes I do love what I do and wouldn't change a thing.....well okay...more money....and longer overnights.....but that's about it.

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