Sunday, January 1, 2012

"I flew with a bunch of nut jobs"

Felt better on Friday afternoon so I figured I could fly my 2 day trip on Saturday. Saturday morning I was good to go.

This was originally a 4 day. Due to scheduling changes by my mainline partner every flight after the overnight changed. I get paid for it all, but don't have to fly it. Nice eh?

My report time was 4:30PM. My wife dropped me off at the curb and I signed in a few minutes early.

On the way to the crew room I passed the Captain who I flew with at the beginning of the month. We have the same line, but I traded 2 out of the 4 trips.

He said ,"Glad to see you're back, I can't believe you traded all those trips. You stuck me with a bunch of nut jobs!" I laughed and told him I'd see him at the plane.

Normal flight out. He said they put new hire reserves with him for all of the trips I traded out of. Most were okay , but a few were still new to the game and downright strange.

We were headed to a small airport where my airline is the only carrier. First time for me.

Night time. We spotted a beacon that we thought might be the airport. The controller vectored us off course for the descent. I had already briefed the approach. I assumed I would get another vector before getting a visual clearance. Nope.

"Airport 3 o'clock 5 miles report it in sight." was what we were told.

"I believe that's it...gonna be tight." I told the Captain.

We were on a heading of 300 for runway 14. The airport being 90 degrees to the right meant a quick chop and drop or a long turn to the left.

Chop and drop it was.

Steep right turn while I called for flaps to be lowered. I would never have tried this when I was new to the airline or the plane. I have 104 hours in the new plane and feel pretty comfy with it.

I was on centerline and stabilized by 1000 feet AGL. Firm but not harsh landing.

The terminal is at the far end of runway 14 so I just used light braking and no thrust reverse to let it roll near the end.

We blocked in 20 minutes early. Now an 11 hour overnight.

Hotel van was late. The driver got stopped by a police checkpoint looking for drunk drivers. She apologized. Not a big deal since we were early.

Nice hotel. Six o'clock van for the next day.

It took a while for me to be able to force myself to go to bed early...especially when different time zones come into play. Went to bed at 9:15PM.

For whatever reason I woke up at 3:45AM....and couldn't go back to sleep. Annoying.

Arrived at the airport at 6:20AM. TSA has an agreement to let flight crews bypass security. Nice.

Very windy outside...and cold...and rainy.

Preflight done....ears freezing. Note to self...pack ear muffs again.

Initial winds were 250@20G30.

The longest runway is runway 32. The next longest was runway 22. Problem...wet runway + crosswind + the need for anti-icing meant performance penalties.

Runway 22 had a 15 knot crosswind. Runway 32 had a 28 knot crosswind. Thankfully the performance data supported runway 22. The Captain briefed the takeoff. If we had to return (in case of an engine failure, fire or other emergency) we'd use runway 22 instead of runway 32. Even though 32 was the longest, it had the most crosswind component.

On the taxi out the winds 270@27G36. About equal crosswind but more favoring 22 still.

Holding short of winds....280@30G37.

Now runway 22 had a 32 knot crosswind while runway 32 had just 24 knots.

We taxied across 22 and then over to runway 32. Gusty takeoff and we were off.

Turbulent climb out but we broke out of the clouds at 10,000 feet. Smooth after that for a while.

The Captain was a bit worried we'd be extended once we got into base. Lots of "sick" calls on Holidays. I thought positive.

Arriving into base I pulled up the weather, gate assignment and crew assignment. Great weather, decent gate and no crew assignments. We were done.

Blocked in 12 minutes early. I headed outside and waited for my wife. While waiting my phone was scheduling. I didn't answer. Not required to since I'm not a reserve.

They left a voicemail stating they needed to cover a "quick turn" and if I didn't call back it would cancel. I didn't even consider calling back.

Lack of staffing on scheduling's part does not constitute an emergency on my part.

My wife arrived and I was home a few minutes later.

I'm off till Saturday when I start my January line. Simple 3 day trip.

My line for January was 4 three day trips. It's a 3-4-3 trip. Three legs on day one, four on day two and three on day three. Just 3 different cities. Not bad at all.

Because I have vacation I'm only doing 3 of the 4 trips.

Time for a nap, that early self induced wake up is catching up to me. If I had done that "quick" turn I would still be flying right now.

Oh and that flight didn't cancel.....they put a reserve on it.


  1. I have a question for you.  Are you required to maintain a cell phone and if so, are you given an allowance for that?

    Just curious.  thanks!

  2. I am not required to keep a cell phone. Reserves have to have some phone number on file for communication. It can be a cell phone, home phone or even a pager. Funny story, a few years ago a pilot bought a 1-900 number and used it for his contact. He MADE quite a bit of money from the company as there was no restriction in the contract stating he couldn't do it. He changed it after repeated request from the Union. 

    The company does not help pay for cell phones and thus I see them calling me (especially as a line holder) as a luxury for them. I use Google Voice to screen their calls anyway.


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