Monday, October 4, 2010

I just walked out of the airport....

First day of me flying an actual hard line in almost 3 years. I held a line one month right after I was hired...then never again.

Everyday I sign in at 5:30AM. The hotel vans run every 15 minutes on the hour. I could take a 5:15AM van...but that's cutting it too close. Instead I took a 5 AM van which worked out perfectly.

Since I am living in a hotel, most of my clothes are unpacked. I packed just a nights worth of clothes in my suitcase (loving my Strongbag!) and headed out.

Cleared security at 5:20AM and was at my gate minutes later.

Met the Captain I would be flying with for the month at the plane around 5:50AM. He is new to the plane. I have more than 10X the time in the plane than he does. Of course he has 10X my total time. Together we are good. Things were looking good...until we looked back in the cabin...we needed a flight attendant.

Time 6:05AM. Another Captain came down to our flight deck. He was to have left at 6AM. He also needed a flight attendant. Yadda, yadda, yadda, we pushed out at 6:40AM.

The Captain said yesterday they pushed on time and took off right away. With our late push we were number 9 for departure. High winds and rain. Not a great way to start a day.

I'd only flown out of this airport once before. I was a little slower than normal as I had to look up frequencies for Ramp, Ground, Tower and then interpret the instructions from each.

Thirty minutes after we pushed I lifted the nose into the air. The New York area airspace is tight. The departure procedure is a little more complicated than I am used to. Worked out fine.

The flight time was padded quite a bit. Even with a 20 minute late departure we blocked in to the out station 4 minutes late...which is "on time" according to the DOT.

The weather at the out station was VFR. Weather back at base was getting worse. Due to the weather we had 40 minutes added to our departure time in the form of an EDCT.

Captains leg back. The closer we get, the more we are slowed. Slowest was 180 knots while still 50 miles away. Lots of RADAR vectors. In the clouds the entire time.

As we started the ILS approach I realized it was my first "real" ILS in several months. I had briefed and flown ILS approaches weekly, but all were done in VFR conditions.

Once with tower we were advised of a gain/loss of 10 knots at 300 feet. Sure enough the speed was up and down between 500 feet and 300 feet.

We blocked in 15 minutes late. That's even with the 40 minute delay. Again padded times.

It was an odd feeling once I was done today. I just walked out of the airport. No need to call scheduling. Odd feeling indeed.

Tomorrow...the same...but hopefully with a flight attendant.

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