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.


  1. It's nice to hear that you are having a relatively easy IOE.  I enjoy the stories and am looking forward to more.

  2. Hi there,

    I've only recently found your blog and am enjoying your detailed descriptions of life on the line and in the cockpit!

    I am a simmer and enjoy all the detail regarding altitudes, fuel and speeds etc - I have a question about your adjustment in altitude to bring the fuel/weight down to landing max, are you watching the forecast weight on the flight computer to know when you are on the money, is dispatch advising you or do you just make a best guess with paper and pencil?

    As said, great blog...

    Dave from the UK

  3. Hi Dave,
    I started on Microsoft Flight Simulator 4.0 when I was just 12 years old. I've been simming ever since. Love it!
    Yes we use the onboard FMS/FMC to ESTIMATE landing weight. It's somewhat accurate, but we have to use real world/seat of the pants calculations as well. We might be assigned a specific arrival procedure but know we won't do the entire thing which affects fuel burn. I've had to put out the flaps and flight spoilers 100 miles out and descend early to burn off excess fuel. Sometimes being "green" and saving fuel hurts way more than helps. 
    Dispatch only gets involved when planning the flight. Once we are off the gate it's all up to us.

  4. Yesterday I was on a flight from Houston to Omaha and apparently the ground crew loaded too much fuel.  Consequently, we taxied out to the end of the runway, but then sat off to the side while the captain ran the engines up to burn off the excess.  We probably sat there about 15 minutes, and I couldn't help wonder why on earth didn't he simply fly lower or climb at a slower rate instead of making us sit there.  Is this technique normal???


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