Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Making up time

Saturday morning my eye was fine. I bought a pair of glasses as the Doctor advised against wearing contacts for a week. I hate wearing glasses...but it does fit the geek image.

My trip leaves my domicile on day 1 and doesn't return till day 4. Ironically my first trip out of my domicile cancelled due to weather. I kind of wasted a sick call. The rest of my crew was dead headed to the overnight.

Scheduling "fixed" my schedule for me to catch up with my trip. They had me dead heading to the overnight city Saturday morning and flying right away. I could have jumpseated to my overnight city Saturday morning bypassing the deadhead except for one minor detail. My kit bag was in my domicile crew room.

I jumpseated up on a 7:55AM flight. Delayed by an hour. I arrived with enough time to grab my kit bag, breakfast and run onto my deadhead. I would end up flying 2800 miles as a passenger.....7 1/2 hours before I started flying on the flight deck. My duty day started in my domicile and was scheduled for exactly 14 hours.

After arriving in the outstation my first real flight was delayed. I grabbed dinner. With the delay I was looking at a 15 hour duty day...being awake for 20 hours.

Blocked out 50 minutes late. Captain took the first leg and flew fast. He was able to shave 17 minutes off the block time. Scheduled ground time was 40 minutes. We did it in 26 minutes. My leg back. Flying fast, but we got slowed down due to traffic. After several turns we blocked in 7 minutes under block....but only 14 minutes late. Once again scheduled for 40 minutes ground time, we did it in 28 minutes thus blocking out just 2 minutes late. Between the three legs we made up 48 minutes of delays. We landed at the overnight 5 minutes early but waited 11 minutes for a gate due to a late arriving mainline flight at our gate. All in all I was only awake for 19 hours after we blocked in.

Sunday wasn't much better. We were given an aircraft with a MEL'd APU. It's worth mentioning the outstation was in the desert. Hot. Cabin temp reached 30 degrees Celsius, 86 degrees Fahrenheit, before we got an engine started.

Having to use an external air cart normally leads to delays. The inbound crew was late due to having to use an air cart, thus we blocked out 27 minutes late as well. Of course we worked hard to make it up.

Four leg day. Forty minute turns. By the third leg we were back on time. The 4th leg to the overnight was the longest. We were all a little worn from having to deal with no APU in hot climates. The ground air conditioning units were barely able to keep up with the outside temps during the turns. The plane has a recirculation mode which, when used, can be a double edged sword.

Using recirculation mode on the ground  increases the airflow coming out of the gaspers and vents so passengers "think" they are cooling off. In reality it's just recirculating the cabin air which is being warmed by all the 98.6 degree bodies. Turning off the fan reduces the airflow out of the vents making people "think" they aren't cooling off. Eh.

Day 2 done just past midnight. Day 3 was one leg in. Last week we only had 19 passengers. This week we were full, only because the earlier flight cancelled. Eh.

[caption id="attachment_1970" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Nice photo except for my water sweetener reflection...kind of makes sense though being a shot of the desert....maybe?"][/caption]


Blocked in at 6:05PM. Thirty minutes early. I debated rushing over to get a 6:45PM flight home. Just wasn't up to it. I took my time and took the 7:55PM flight instead.

I'm done cheating gravity for 3 days.


  1. Your sleep schedule is a recurring theme on this blog - and I understand why, since fatigue management is so important to the safety of regional flying.  What I'm wondering is, do you have trouble sleeping on your commute/deadhead flights?  It seems you could have caught up some sleep on those to reduce your total awake time?

  2. It's very difficult for me to sleep on deadhead flights. The only good thing
    about my line is it's all late afternoon starts so I can "catch" up on sleep
    the first night. I don't bid short overnights. My shortest overnight is 13
    hours and the longest is 17.5 hours.


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