Monday, November 28, 2011

Being a senior First Officer has it's privileges

I'm on reserve until Friday. I've flown zero hours during my last 7 days of reserve thus far. Being senior has it's privileges.

I'm in the top 1% of the First Officer reserve list at my base. I'm the last person to get called when flight assignments need to be covered. My phone has never rung.

It's been nice. Kind of a paid vacation. Seven days on reserve....full pay. If only I were productive with my time.

With all the time off all I've done is play blocks with my daughter, play "weee" with my daughter (the sound she makes on the slide I bought for her), and mall walk with my daughter. Guess I have been productive eh? Way more fun than updating my logbook or manuals...both of which I broke down and did today. I only have about 5 more months and my logbook will be current. I save all the print outs of my flights digitally each month. I still use Logbook Pro. I might spring for the mobile service since I can use it on my Ipad, Kindle Fire or Thunderbolt phone.

I'm off tomorrow then two more days of reserve and then I have another day off. Due to short staffing my airline is paying a very high premium for pilots to pick up extra flying. I put in to fly a 7 hour day trip on Friday which would net me almost $500 after the premium pay. Would be nice.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

New headset on the way

So I have a few pilot headsets.

I have a Telex ANR 500, Bose Qc15/UflyMike and a Telex 750.

The one that got the most use is the Telex ANR 500. TSO'd, lightweight, great ANR and clear communications. The Bose QC15/UflyMike combo is great.super ANR, crystal clear communications and light weight. My issue was with the the whole TSO requirements.

In order to comply with TSO requirements I have to wear specific ear buds UNDER the QC15. The ear buds don't have to be in my ears, just under the Bose headset. Reason being if the batteries fail on the QC15 I won't be able to hear. Chances of that in flight are very low seeing as there is a long low battery warning light. But still a lot of cables. True I could "risk" it...but I'm a professional and don't take unnecessary risk.

The Telex 750 was used for 1 day. No where near enough ear protection for RJ's. I bought the 750 for $40 on eBay.

Where am I going with this? I got a new headset.

My new plane is a bit louder than the last. The Telex ANR 500 is no longer able to compete with the noise level in the cockpit.

I thought long and hard about going back to the Bose QC15/Uflymike....really long and hard. Decided to go full Bose.

Bose offers discounts to pilots who fly for my airline. Can't disclose the amount....but it's a good chunk of change. The discount brought the new Bose A20 within stones throw of the Bose QC15/UflyMike combo.

The Bose A20 is TSO approved and is the successor of the Bose Aviation X.

The Aviation X had issues of durability which were supposedly corrected with the A20. It arrives next Monday. I should have a review of the performance within sometime mid-December.

Careful what you ask for

Bids closed. I got what I asked for...but not what I wanted.

Everyone has priorities when bidding.

I wanted the following:

Maximum Days Off

No Two Day Trips

Monday and Tuesdays off

Maximum Pay (high hour line)

Christmas Off

Those were my prefernences in order....and that's where I screwed myself.

Because I weighted pay OVER Christmas off....I'm working Christmas. Additionally I weighted maximum days off over Monday and Tuesdays I'm working all weekends.

What I wanted was day trips...OR 3 or 4 day trips starting on Wednesdays. That way I would have Sunday, Monday and Tuesday off. What I got was a mix of 3 and 4 day trips working all full weekends except for one Saturday.

Pretty bummed. Going to see if I can trade trips around.

My line for December is worth 85 hours and I have 15 days off. Since I no longer commute I didn't care about start and finish times.

My schedule does work for day care which is nice.


Beyond that I'm on reserve till next month. The first 2 days I sat at home on long call. Never was called.

I was off today and yesterday, back on tomorrow....for 5 days.

I'm near the top of the reserve list, but because of so many sick calls there aren't too many pilots under me tomorrow. Hopefully I won't be called, but I will pack my suitcase to be gone for 5 days just in case.

Looking forward to being a line holder again.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Bidding closes soon. I am going to preference Day trips first....then weekends off.....then 3 day trips with weekends off....then four day trips working weekends. Lots of days off is important as well.

Day trips are horrible for commuters but great for those who live in base and want to be home every night. Day trips start in the morning in base, fly 2-4 legs and finish in base that night. No overnights. The bad part is it's like an office job in that you drive to and from work everyday. I set up my preferences to start the day trips after 7AM so that I can take my daughter to day care and my wife can pick her up.

Next up is 3 day trips. Three day trips are a normally non stop flying and short overnights. The idea is to get 4 days of flying done in 3 days. It's hard for a 3 day trip to be commuteable on both ends as the trip is designed to be nonstop flying. I was never able to bid 3 day trips when I commuted for the very reason that they start early and end somewhat late.

Four day trips are the norm for most pilots/flight attendants. These are the most flexible in construction as it can be designed to be late start on day one, heavy flying on days two and three and light flying on day four. Or the line could be light on all four days...or any mix. I did almost exclusively 4 day trips when I commuted.

There is one other type of trip that I thought I wanted, but maybe later when my daughter is in school. The 2 day back to back.

The 2 day back to back is like it sounds, two 2 day trips back to back. For example the first 2 day would start at 9AM on Monday and finish at 6PM on Tuesday. The pilot/flight attendant goes home for the night. They come back Wednesday at 11AM and start the next 2 day trip finishing Thursday at 8PM. The advantage is the pilot/flight attendant gets an extra night at home.

I'll know my fate on Monday.

I'm pretty sure I will hold Christmas off....which will be nice.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

RVR 6000, 2000,500....boooo

Last day of IOE. Three quick legs and done.

I walked down to the front desk at 4:50AM. The hotel gives breakfast bags for early departures. I made my choices of items the day prior and picked a muffin, banana and orange juice and that's exactly what was waiting with my name on it.

Van driver was 5 minutes late. Eh.

Dropped off at 5:25AM for a 5:55AM departure. Breezed thru TSA. New departure time...6:05AM due to flow. Grrr.


I called VR at 6:11AM. Away we went.

We were slowed almost immediately.

Smooth flight. About 20 minutes out I got the ATIS. Sure enough low ceilings and vis due to fog.

On final I could clearly see the runway 5 miles out. I also saw the 737 ahead we were told to follow...for a bit. Once the 737 landed it disappeared into a fog bank covering the last third of the runway.

Since we are smaller than a 737 we used less runway and thus avoided the fog bank. The visbility went down to 600 feet at the departure end of the runway.

Due to construction at the airport taxiing around is a mess. Normally there are inner and outer taxiways. Due to construction there was only an outer...that had to serve both directions.

We waited for 20 minutes as planes taxied toward us for the other side of the airport. Then it happened.

The fog got much worse. Visibility was down to 100 feet. The other side of the airport was closed. Gridlock. The radio was full of pilots requesting to move even though there was no where to move. In addition there were several mechanics in planes trying to move around...and talk on the radio.

The ground controller finally gave up and stated no one talk unless spoken to. The ATIS reflected the same as there was now metering in effect.

When metering is being used planes call metering. Metering instructs pilots to monitor ground and then the metering guy lets the ground guy know where you are and where you want to go.

Forty minutes after landing we pulled into the gate.

We were supposed to do a 35 minute turn. Blocked in 15 minutes late.

Thankfully we were light both ways and blocked BACK out 20 minutes after blocking in. Blocked out 1 minute early! That's pretty impressive to turn an airplane in 20 minutes. Yeah I know Southwest does it everyday....but I don't work for Southwest. Most of the time I'm surprised when we do a 30 minute turn.

I called metering and we waited. Thankfully just 5 minutes and we were taxiing. Number 12 for departure. Single engine taxi it was.

Finally our turn. Four hundred pounds to go before min takeoff. RVR was 6000, 1500 and 600. Away we went. We took off 38 minutes after blocking out.

Now it's time for me to step on my soapbox.

Southwest Airlines pilots normally fly fast. Really fast. While at 6000 feet doing 250 knots I've been PASSED by a Southwest 737 at 8000 feet. Kinda odd when the max speed below 10,000 feet is 250 knots. Guess the winds are different up there.

On the way to the out station we were behind Southwest. For whatever reason this crew was flying slow. We were slowed to 270 knots.....220 miles away!

Enroute there were several planes holding for airports in the area closed/delayed due to fog. I was hoping it would be gone soon as I had just an hour to connect to my deadhead...and we were already 20 minutes behind schedule.

Southwest finally sped up to 280. They were eventually 20 miles ahead. Fine.

Descending into the area I heard Southwest being vectored for 29R. The same runway I picked. Ugh.

Surely being 20 miles ahead they would be on short final by the time I was being given vectors.

For whatever reason they were going really slow as they were still on downwind when I was on downwind. Abeam the runway I slowed to 200 knots and prepared for the visual....thinking Southwest was on final. Nope. They were still on downwind!!!

They flew 10 miles past the airport and turned back. Not a busy airport normally. Ugh. Finally turned final.

The tower controller seemed new and unsure of themselves.

Southwest was 2 miles ahead When I turned final. I quickly began slowing. Tower advised we were overtaking by 40 knots. Ugh.

Then tower came back that a departure would occur between us and Southwest. WTF? There was only a 2 mile separation. At best Southwest would clear the runway while I was at 500 feet...and they wanted to stick a departure in the mix. I don't think so.

Thankfully they didn't stick a departure in the mix. Arrived and blocked in 19 minutes late.

Another airline works the ramp for us at the out station. They have different procedures than we use. Even after 2 months of providing ground services, they still have issues. Thankfully they were minimal.

Nineteen minutes after blocking in we were being pushed back. Flow time. 12 minute delay.

The tower controller once again made a questionable call.

We were holding short of the runway and were number one. Our wheels up time was 11 minutes past the hour. At 10 minutes past the hour they cleared a plane for a touch and go. Then while it was on short final the tower controller issued a hurried and confusing go around instruction, "Cougar 22 go around, traffic holding has a wheels up time. Do not overfly the runway. Go around."

The Captain and I looked at each other...we were confused by the instructions. Tower then cleared us for takeoff. We didn't move.

The inbound aircraft was confused and initiated the go around...but straight over the runway.

Tower came back with new go around procedures and the aircraft turned away from the runway.

Away we went. Minimal delays.

The fog had largely burned off. Landed and blocked in 4 minutes early.

The Captain said I did a great job and I was officially done with IOE. I shook his hand and we parted ways.

After my post flight I headed to my deadhead. A few hours later I was sitting in the back seat of our car next to my daughter.


Tomorrow I have off and I expect to be on reserve Saturday.

Treating myself to a visit to the LA Autoshow. Anyone in?


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It had to end at some point

Another early morning show. The Captain I am flying with bids early morning that's what I get.

No big deal as after a cup of coffee I'm good to go.

Full plane plus a jumpseater. The jumpseater was from mainline and agreed to take the jump versus a cabin seat so the gate agent could get her daughter on as a nonrev.

Normally not a big deal. However due to an alternate we had more fuel on board. It looked like it would work at first and we closed the door in preparation to push.

The station had a problem. We were 95 pounds over weight. We weren't over max takeoff weight, but max estimated landing weight. Ninety-six pounds over weight.

The Captain requested the ramp fuel weight being used to be dropped by 100 pounds as we would burn it during taxi. Fine....except our alternate weather dropped and the new alternate was closer...thus it needed less fuel. Ugh.

Ten minutes later we coordinated with dispatch and the station and were 5 pounds under....done.

Captains leg. During the climb we noticed the tailwind was greater than estimated and we would be 200 pounds over max landing. lower and climb at a lower rate.

Instead of flying at FL360 we leveled off at FL300. Instead of climbing at 290 knots we climbed at 310 knots. Lower cruising altitude + shallow climb rate = burning off the excess fuel.

Landed just under max weight.

We were supposed to have an hour sit. The next turn was delayed. The weather was 1/8SM visibility. No good.

We took that time to make sure all my IOE paperwork was in order. My Captain also confirmed I qualified for reduced IOE since I was transitioning and not a new hire. I only needed 15 hours and 4 landings. Once I heard that I said, "That's it I'm done flying. I'll swing the gear and talk on the radios."

I was joking of course. My Captain came back with, "You only have 14 hours 45 minutes." Doh!

Finally pushed an hour late. My leg. Interestingly high number of offline jumpseaters at 4.

Weather was up to 1/2 mile. By the time I was vectored for final it was up to 1SM and 2000 foot ceilings. Non-event.

Greased it on. Twenty-five minutes later we were headed back to the hub.

Busy approach. Afternoon rush in effect. Blocked in an hour late. Two hour sit.

Since I've flown through this hub a lot I know where the good food airport.

The Parking Spot has a location close to a place I really like to consume food. I took off my uniform pieces and headed out of the airport.

Ten minutes later I was eating lunch. Sufficiently full of grease I headed back.

I walked back into the crew room with an hour to spare.

New flight attendant. Nice lady who questioned me a bit as I was a new face (again small base) and had a SIDA badge from a different airport. She knew the Captain did IOE. "Please don't float me or jam the plane onto the runway."  she joked. I let her know I'd been around a while and would do my best to keep her happy.

Floating the flight attendant can be an issue. It happens when pilots abruptly level off curing a climb or go from level to a quick descent. Flight attendants have been injured from such, normally, unnecessary maneuvers.

My leg. A little windy.

The out station had clear skies and calm wind. Visual approach. I was enjoying the scenery a bit too is common when there are clear skies and calm winds.

My greaser landing streak ended. Not jarring, but I hopped at least once...maybe twice. Eh.

The overnight is in a business park. Across the street is a huge shopping center. Normally that means lots of food options. Not this time.

The shopping center is an Asian shopping center. REALLY Asian.

I love Asian food (Chinese, Thai and Indian are my favs). The problem is almost every sign is in Asian. Very few English signs. I tried Yelp to find food. No help. I walked around hoping to find something. It wasn't to be. Back to the hotel.

I paid $23 for a pizza and a coke. Eh. Per diem covers it.

Tomorrow I have 3 legs then dead head home. The legs are all non-stop (meaning same plane with 30 minute turns). Once I get home I plan on eating dinner with my family and hopefully hitting the LA Autoshow on Friday. After that.....reserve.

I'll be placed on reserve for the rest of the month. I will be in the top 1% so I shouldn't be abused too much.

I'm going over my bidding strategies for December. I am hoping for day trips, two day back to back trips or at worst three day trips. Getting Christmas off should be easy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Forgot how much walking was involved

Day 2 started early.

Six AM van ride.

Four leg day. I used to do 4 legs all the time. It's been a while though.

Captain's leg. Blocked out 2 minutes early at 7:03AM. Since it was still somewhat early we didn't have to deal with any flow restrictions.

Smooth ride. An hour later he greased it onto the runway. My after landing flow was much better, didn't forget anything as I ran the check list.

We were fortunate to keep the same plane all day. Blocked in 3 minutes early. Forty minutes later we were being pushed back for the next flight.

My leg. Severe turbulence was reported above FL240 so we were filed for FL230. Not too bad of a ride.

I'd been to the outstation on my previous aircraft. The airport is bordered by mountains/high terrain on two sides including the departure end of the runway I was to land on. The missed approach procedure is a climbing 180 degree turn for a downwind. It's easy to see why once you're there....planes and mountains don't mix.

Descending a jet aircraft is similar to a prop. Tip the nose over and reduce power. It takes some mental math to figure out how fast to descend including airspeed and descent rate. It takes experience to know where you should be. I'm pretty good at it.

Coming in from the west it was a fairly straight in approach to runway 8. We were number two behind Southwest who was on a base leg.

We saw them 3500 feet below. We were kept high for separation.

For some reason the 737 blew right through center line. Big time. Way out. They then came on the radio reporting the localizer wasn't working. Tower came back with, "Yes sir it is NOTAM'd to be out of service." Ooops. I was hand flying and thus had not tuned in the localizer. Of COURSE I read that NOTAM about the localizer as well....cough , cough.

The 737 corrected and we were told to follow him. Being very high I had to dirty up the plane in order to descend and land in the touchdown zone. The 737 was 5 miles ahead and 3000 feet below. Steep descent.

All the flaps were extended as was the gear. I made another greaser landing in the touchdown zone.

I'm really liking this new plane. It floats much less, easier to hand fly and much easier to grease it on without eating up a ton of runway. My last plane was a handful on landing. It was very hard to get a great landing without floating a while.

Quick turn. I did have time to buy a snack. It'd been 5 hours since I left the hotel. Hungry.

The severe turbulence was supposed to have dissipated and we were filed for FL240 for the return leg.

The ride sucked. Constant moderate chop. The ride above FL280 was supposed to be good. We climbed up to FL320 and it was like glass. Nice.

Back in base 20 minutes early.We then had an hour till the next flight. Grabbed lunch and relaxed.

My leg to the overnight. Starting to get a little tired. Short flight. Made a firmish but not hard landing. Off to the overnight.

This overnight was interesting. The hotel was across the street so we all walked. The rest of the crew had been there before and talked bad about the overnight all day. I saw why. No elevator and no food around.

Our contract states we can not stay on the first floor (security concerns). Thus we all had to lug our bags up the stairs. Annoying. My kit bag alone weighs 26 pounds. eh.

I opened up Google Maps to find food. Nothing close. A 15 minute walk later I was at a fast food place. I could have eaten in the hotel, but eh I needed to walk.

Today is day 3. Another early start. Departure was at 5:55AM. I walked over to the airport at 5AM. Grabbed coffee and a bagel and headed to the gate.

I saw the plane parked off to the side but didn't think much of it until the gate agent brought me through the boarding door....and to a flight of stairs. What's up with no elevators!?!?!?

Small out station. Only one gate for the airline and it was being used for mainline. Down the stairs I went again. Two trips to get all 3 of my bags (suitcase, kitbag, computer bag) since I had coffee.

The Captain was already on board. He let me know he did my pre-flight. Nice.

Full flight. Mainline jumpseater in the cockpit jumpseat. Short flight. My leg.

Slight delay for flow. Off we went.

An hour flight. During the arrival we were assigned one runway and I briefed for it. Just prior to getting vectors we were assigned a different runway which was closer to our gate.

Since I've been around for a bit it was a non-event. The Captain set up the plane and then I quickly briefed the differences. Greased it on and done.

After we parked the Captain said he was happy I'd been around a while. He stated with most of the new hires a runway change is a huge ordeal and he ends up having to deny the runway change or take the plane.

I understood. When I was new it took all of my brain cells to fly the approach I briefed. Changes?!?!!? Well crap. Again it all comes with time.

Plane swap. My leg again as I need X number of landings to finish IOE. Just one leg to the overnight.

My Captain is a great guy but very behind the times for technology. He doesn't own a cell phone, no IPAD, no netbook. Nada. Much the opposite of me.

He was annoyed that the company didn't have print outs available of something he wanted to review during the 19 hour overnight. I told him to use the hotel business center and print it out. He said it was too complicated. Hmm.

The outstation was busy with construction and military traffic. The runway was shortened by 1000 feet with construction being done on the arrival end. Kinda odd flying over people on short final. Once again no localizer/glideslope.

Beautiful day. I turned off the flight director and simply looked outside and flew the plane.

Nice landing. Done.

Staying at a DoubleTree for the night. After check in I went with my Captain to the business center and showed him how to print out the documents he wanted.

Nineteen hours long. Nice hotel but again food is a bit of a walk.

Tomorrow I have 3 legs, a 3 hour sit and then 1 leg to the overnight. The normal line is just 3 legs. My Captain picked up over time and the training department simply stuck it on to my schedule. Eh. More flying.

I'm not worried about being signed off from IOE......I'm certain my Captain knows how to send the message to the training department that I'm done.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day one....not too shabby

I had a 5:30AM report time. Left the hotel at 4:40AM as I wanted to eat breakfast first.

I've been to this airport several times so I know my way around. It helps reduce the stress factor. I remember my first day of IOE 4 years ago. New job + New airport + New airplane = major stress. This time it was just a new airplane.

I headed over to the crew room. The Captain was waiting at the door.

It's a very small crew base and I was easy to spot as the "new guy". He was happy to see I wasn't a new hire as it's much less work on him.

He went over my paperwork, license and medical and then we headed out for a preflight.

Detailed preflight done it was time to get started.

This plane is very different from my last but the operations from an airline stand point are the same. I had to do the same thing I did on the last plane, but just in a different way.

Since it's been 3 weeks since my last simulator session I was a bit rusty. I got through it.

First leg was mine. At 6:20AM I pushed the thrust levers up and away we went.

At VR I was very surprised at how much more effort was needed versus the simulator. Just different. Up, up and away.

Longish flight at 2 hours. Being winter we went through a good sized cloud layer that necessitated the need for anti-ice.

Smooth for the most part. My Captain pointed out a few things on the plane and taught a bit then he remembered I wasn't new. He relaxed. He's had nothing but new hires for a while so it was hard for him to shake the normal routine.

Landing north at the out station. I'd been there once before so I had an idea of the airport layout. ILS needed as it was 2SM and 1000 OVC.

Broke out at 1200 feet. Slight crosswind.

What came next was my best landing in any airplane. I was shocked. Nice way to start IOE.

My after landing flow was rusty but I worked through it. Thankfully the snow hasn't started yet and we were able to get back out in 30 minutes.

The Captain took the next leg. Gave me time to get more comfortable. He gave a few more tips and then we settled in with the normal pilot talk.

We pulled into the gate 10 minutes early. Nice as the turn was supposed to be 35 minutes with a plane swap. The extra time meant I had time for a snack.

My leg again. A few MEL's to deal with. Out on time. Slightly complicated departure. Away we went.

Short flight. Another greaser, but I floated more than I wanted to. Eh.

Overnighting where my sister in law lives. She's heading over now with her spouse to pick me up. Nice way to end a first day, being able to go out with family!


Saturday, November 12, 2011 there's that

I spent 2 days packing for my first trip in 2 months. I went over everything I thought I needed. Still forgot stuff.

My wife was driving me to the airport (great perk of being married!) when I realized I forgot to pack shorts. I get bored on overnights and exercise. Eh.

I stopped by the crew room to pick up some updates for my manuals when I realized I had left a charger behind. Doh!

It was 20 minutes till boarding started and my wife had just pulled into the garage with my cranky daughter. My daughter had not had a nap yet. I confirmed with my wife that my charger was where I left it. Crap. I'd have to buy one on the road.

My dead head flight was fine. I took some time to review flows and profiles.

I truly hate dead heading...or flying as a passenger at anytime. The average passenger is just rude and disrespectful. Many leave their phones on after being told repeatedly to turn them off. Others ignore the seat belt sign. I've noticed many will take off their seat belt the moment the plane turns off the runway after landing. These are the same idiots that will sue when they are injured if the plane makes a sudden stop or turns fast. Eh.

Because I'm not on a normal overnight I'm not staying at the normal overnight hotel.

I arrived and checked in. They were confused as I was in uniform but my airline doesn't have a contract. After explaining the reservation was likely in my name I had my key. Tons of teenagers here on some conference. I forgot how annoying I was when I was a teenager.

I tossed my stuff in my room and used Google maps to find an Office Depot. About 2 miles away. I then used Google Maps to get transit instructions. I love Android!

Forty bucks later I had my charger and found dinner.

It's 7:30PM now. I have a 5:30AM show time. I plan on arriving around 5AM to give myself a little extra time to get situated with the new plane.

Tomorrow is just 3 legs worth 5 1/2 hours of flying. Over night  near my in laws.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dusting off the eppalutes

In a few days a NOTAM will be issued.

NOTAM - Due to extensive flight training by a pilot who's been on the ground for more than two months, all pilots should use extreme caution in the vicinity of the following:



Finally had my schedule loaded into my profile today. I did have to remind the training center I was still waiting for IOE.

The group that schedules IOE is always busy and it's a small group thus it's easy for pilots to fall through the cracks. Sometimes pilots take advantage of this for the extra time off. I've been off for almost 3 weeks since I took my check ride....I'm ready to get back in the air.

I think.

I have no idea where my full uniform is. I know where pieces of it are.

My suitcase has been sitting in the guest bedroom for 2 months. I have to go back through it and think about what I need on the road.

I lost my windscreen for my headset (currently a Telex ANR 500). I bought a new generic one's really big. Eh.

My trip starts with a dead head on Saturday. Nice 12 hour overnight. It's a 5 day trip. Long. Rare.

The first true overnight is a city where my in laws live. With 17 hours of rest I told them they have to pick me up from my hotel.

All the overnights are decent length. Nothing less than 12 hours with the longest being 19 hours! Fairly unproductive.

I return home on Thursday and will have flown an estimated 23 hours in the cockpit. IOE should be done at that point.

Since I will be "working" for 6 days straight I have to be off Friday. My plan is to hit the LA Autoshow. I've gone every year for the last 3 years.

The blogs will soon be interesting again!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

IOE Scheduled....2 weeks away

Hanging out a lot with my daughter during my wait for IOE. While out and about today I got a phone call from the training department.

My daughter is 14 months old....almost 15 months. She has associated holding anything to your face with saying the word "Hi" over and over again.

Once I answered the phone she started in "Hi, Hi, Hi!" Cute...but it can make it a little difficult to have a conversation.

Thankfully the lady calling has kids and understood. She kept it short and to the point.

She asked if I minded completing my IOE from a base other than my own. I told her I didn't care where, just wanted to get done ASAP. She was happy with that answer. I can request to do IOE in my own base. There are advantages to it, but since I've been based here from day one, I know how things operate.

My IOE starts with a deadhead on the 12th. My actual trip starts on the 13th and finishes on the 17th. Appears to be a 5 day 24 hour trip. She stated I "should" be able to get back home on the 17th. I will have to wait till the trip is loaded into my profile to see the nitty, gritty.

Beyond that not a whole lot going on.

I did take a trip with my family over the weekend. Simple day trip.

Going through security I had a "discussion" with TSA.

I was wearing my crew ID but business casual clothes. My family travels light. Diaper backpack, adult backpack, and a car seat on wheels.....that's it.

My wife brought my daughter through and was sent through the metal detector. I put the items through the Xray machine and was directed to the body scanner. I asked if I could go through the metal detector as it was my understanding crew are exempt from the body scanner. The agent stated that's only if I was in uniform. I then stated I refuse to go through the body scanner.

I was then sent through the metal detector and told to wait. At first I was confused. Then I realized what was going on.

A agent directed me to the side and stated I would be patted down. In my head I yelled, "Cut!" (as in stop the show).

I stated I had no problem with their silly pat down (my words exactly), however I wanted all of my items (car seat and backpacks ) given to my wife.

My wife was about 20 feet away with a "WTF did you just do?" look on her face. She thought I was being detained.

I then stated I wanted my pat down to be a private pat down. The agents were now really confused.

Allegedly they were all new to THIS checkpoint and did not know where the private area was. I waited. They discussed in a huddle...literally.

Finally I was brought to their break room where I was patted down.

Once done I asked for the supervisor. There wasn't one available, but there was a "lead" (supervisors have 3 bars, leads have 2). I questioned her a bit on the whole screening. Her answers are inconsistent with what I've been told in the past. I will have to follow up with a supervisor next time I head up to the airport.

Pilots are extensively screened. There are so many checks and roadblocks to becoming an airline pilot that it becomes unnecessary for additional screening. I won't go into details about airport security and flight crews, but I feel changes are needed. There is so much inconsistency that it's frustrating.

And with that...I wait.