Saturday, September 28, 2013

Comeback kid!

I had a very good day today. It started with my Sausage Egg and Cheese McGriddle of course.

My oral exam went very well and my flying was even better.

It feels great to do so well after the problems I had last year. Made me think of a great Brett Dennen song....The Comeback Kid. Time to celebrate. More later. It's Beer-Thirty


Friday, September 27, 2013

Guinea pig

In the school house for annual training. I volunteered for a new training program. Part of being a volunteer is having the FAA present at every training session and event. Doesn't really make me nervous, but in the back of my head I know the "man" is here.

Going well. Better than last year for sure.

Pretty brain dead. Spent 4 hours in the sim in the most unreliable airplane (because off all the emergency drills). Tired.

An oral and four more hours tomorrow.

Side note. Really disappointed in PSA pilots lowering the bar with their vote today.

More later. Gotta relax.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Lightening Strikes...again



Remember how I said it was an easy 3 day trip? Yeah about that.


Day 3 started with an 11 AM van. Inbound was on time. The First Officer of the inbound flight is a good friend of mine I Flight Instructed with. Once I saw him I gasped and said ,” Awe I'm really going to have to do a detailed preflight after you landed!” He quickly replied with, “Well if I knew it was you I would have left instructions on how to fly in the cockpit.” Nice!


Easy flight. Once in base we had an hour sit. I grabbed one of the best deals in the airport, a chicken breast sandwich and fries for $4.86 with the employee discount. Normally it takes 10 minutes. The lady in front of me at the "to go" station was ordering while on the phone READING the menu to someone else. Six minutes later she was done. Bleh.


Blocked out on time. Weather moving toward the out station so we had an alternate. Captains leg.


About 100 miles out I pulled up the ATIS. No bueno. Wind and rain. We could see the storm out in front of us. The storm was moving west and we were coming in from the south. The storm was about 20 miles west of the airport.


We decided to head east and beat it in. Our RADAR isn't the showed a good size gap north of the airport. We had the Flight Attendant get the cabin ready early.

SAM_0511 SAM_0510


Center set us free for deviations...with a precaution that we might want to get in from the west. Once on the east side the RADAR showed the complete picture....the gap wasn't really there. We turned toward the airport (for a RADAR image) to see if there was any way of getting through. Nothing....solid wall.


“Tell Center we're going to Milwaukee,” the Captain told me.


“Center we'd like to change our destination to Milwaukee.” I said.


“Turn right heading 090 maintain flight level 200” replied center.


While in the right turn it hit...... a big down draft. I tried to key the mike but my hand slipped off as my body was pushed upwards against the shoulder harness.


Finally got the words out. The next 40 seconds or so were rough. Heavy rain, turbulence....and then a lightening flash.


I've been hit by lightening before. Normally we can tell by an electrical surge in the displays and/or a smell in the air.


“Did we get hit?” I asked.


“I don't think” the Captain replied.


“Descend and maintain 17000 for traffic.” stated Center.


Engines were idled during the low 1000 foot per minute descent. A downdraft pushed us down and the airspeed increased rapidly....enough to almost cause an overspeed.


I communicated to our dispatcher the plan of heading to MKE.


They replied back they would prefer another airport as the weather was due to hit MKE. Fine we went with their plan.


Once in smooth air we made sure the cabin was fine.


The Flight Attendant was warned of the impending weather. Well right before it hit the ride was smooth. A passenger decided to turn on his cell phone. The Flight Attendant stood up to tell him to turn it off....just before the rough stuff started. With a full flight her only option was to duck and cover in the aisle. Thankfully she wasn't injured....I would have simply used the PA to tell the passenger....but I'm not a Flight Attendant.


It was VFR to the new alternate. It was a “gas and go” meaning they brought the paperwork out to the plane while we fueled up on a remote pad.


Normally whomever is flying will keep flying until we reach the destination. The Captain had enough and gave me the leg. Fine.


The weather had passed our original destination. The ATIS was advertising thunderstorms still. Approach assured the field was VFR. We were coming in from the south and told to expect runway 18. I planned my descent for that approach.


Well the approach controller offered up runway 36. I could see the airport and thought it might work.


I called for flaps and tossed out the speed brakes.


“Ya know what, it's going to be too steep, the passengers have had enough of a wild ride, ask for 18 instead.” I told my Captain.




While on final, another flight called tower.


“We are currently holding about 20 miles west, how are the field conditions?” they asked


“Absolutely great now. VFR. An aircraft is currently rolling out on final. Winds calm” tower replied.


“Great we will see you soon.” the flight responded.


The runway was quite wet. Slight hydroplaning as we were the first flight in after the storm.


We hoped for a quick turn and started the APU. This was our go home leg.


“Operations we are going to try for a quick turn. The APU is running we won't need any power or air” I advised.


As the passengers left I headed out for a post flight. Rounding the nose my hopes of going home faded. The nose was missing paint....a few charred marks. I tapped on the side of the plane and motioned for the Captain to come down.


“Think we got hit?” I asked.


“Not sure, let's look for an exit point.” he stated.


Normally when hit by lightening the strike exits through a static wick on the wings.


We looked all over the exit point. Odd.


Regardless we had to have an inspection. The passengers waiting to board could clearly see us inspecting the nose and plane. The station manager came down and assumed the worst.




I called my wife and let her know the situation. We had plans to fly out the next morning to visit family. She and my daughter would still go.


My wife didn't like the news, but she knows it's always a possibility that I could be delayed.


While talking to her the flight canceled all together. Scheduling had my crew deadheading home the next morning. The flight would arrive well after my family was leaving. Time for a plan B.


I went to and looked for a way out west. As luck would have it there was a Frontier flight leaving at 6AM for Denver. From there I could hop on any number of airlines to meet my family.


We headed to the hotel van. A little awkward as the van was full of passengers from our cancelled flight.


Once at the hotel I called my wife again. If everything worked out I would arrive just minutes after them.


I planned a 4:30AM van to make sure I had time to clear security and list for the jump seat.


Arrived and done. It was supposed to be a full flight. When I listed I asked if they could check me through to my final destination. This would prove critical later.

A few passengers were no shows so I got a whole row to myself.

Once in Denver I had just an hour till the next flight.

I arrived at the next gate and went through the check in process with the agent (I'm not posting exactly what to do as to avoid tipping off folks who want to attempt to bypass security). The agent looked up my name and said I was number on for the jump seat. I looked to my right and noticed two Virgin America pilots sitting down.

They had check in just before I arrived. Since I was check thru I was ahead of them. If I had waited until I arrived in Denver I would have been below them.

Right before boarding a United pilot arrived looking for a ride as well.

The plane was totally full. The Airbus 319 has two jump seats. I got one and one of the Virgin America pilots got the other.

I was tired. After being showed how to use the jump seat I locked in and tried to stay awake.

We all talked about typical pilot stuff for about 40 minutes....then it got quiet.

A little over two hours later "Retard! Retard!" came over the speakers. We were on the ground.

My wife and daughter arrived 10 minutes prior.

Time to rest up and enjoy time with my family.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"My First Wife".....something I hear often

On an easy 3 day trip. This trip is all late flying with the day starting after noon and finishing around 9 at night. I haven't landed at night in a while. Captain took the first leg which was daytime. I took the next two.

During the 2nd leg we were heading west into the sunset. Sunglasses and the tinted sunshade didn't help. The sun was just blinding me so, while in cruise, I lowered my seat to the lowest level so my eyes were below the brow of the dashboard. Problem solved....until it came time to land.

After the sun was set I raised my seat. Problem was it was higher than I normally set the seat. I thought it felt odd and tried adjusting it up and down. There is a set of 3 balls in the middle of the flight deck that can help pilots assure themselves that they are at the correct seat height. It's a good starter, but every pilot sits differently. Some with long legs will have to pedals full forward, while some have them full aft. Some sit really high...some sit really low. Once a pilot gets the "sight picture" right...they sit the same every time.

Since I moved my seat...and it was dark out....I couldn't set a sight picture. I guessed it.

Well I guessed high. The sight picture never looked right so I flared where I thought I should. Well because my seat was high...I flared high...I realized it and worked it down to the ground and made a decent, albeit firm, landing.

Now for something completely different.

I've noticed over the years many pilots I fly with and meet use the term , "My First Wife." The trend has been that most of these pilots commute.

We had a jump seater last week from JetBlue. Every week he makes a two leg commute home to Des Moines. Every week.

Des Moines has limited mainline service so it's mostly regional jets. The JetBlue pilot is based in JFK. I asked him why not move to New York or somewhere closer. He replied that he's waiting for his first kid with his first wife to turn 18, then he will move. Ouch.

The Captain I was flying with later said he almost got a divorce due to commuting. He had just upgraded to Captain but wasn't able to hold his home base, instead he had to commute. Reserve Captains only get 11 days off. During the winter he had problems getting home due to full flights and cancellations. He would be home just 5-6 days a month. His wife asked for a separation. He replied, "What would it change as I'm not there anyway."

Thankfully his marriage survived.

This career takes a very strong marriage. Any weakness present beforehand will just expand. If you plan on jumping into this career, take a long hard look at your life, family and finances.

That got me thinking. My wife and I discussed the possibility of me commuting before I started flight training as it was a possibility. Lucky for me I got based at my home airport from day one.

Long time readers will know that back in 2010 and 2011  I was temporarily based at another airport...right when my daughter was born.

It was rough. Especially when I was based elsewhere for 5 months in a row. I was a line holder then and able to hold 16+ days off, but it still wasn't ideal.

That experience taught me I am a bad commuter. This is another reason why I am not applying to a few major airlines as I would be forced to commute forever. We just bought a new house, my wife has a very good job (her only job out of college...been there 13 years!) and we like where we live. I'm not going to move my family around the country for this job. We live a nice life and are not money hungry. Do I want to fly a bigger plane...yes....but it's not paramount.

When the time comes for me to upgrade I will have to really ponder if it's worth commuting for as my current base is VERY senior for pilots. I'm currently in the top 33% of First Officers in my base. The most junior Captain in my base has been here 10 years. In the most junior base the most junior Captain has been here 8 years.

Kind of rambling post. Once I'm done with this trip we are taking a weekend getaway trip to visit family....then my annual trip to the simulator.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Everybody off.....

Currently sitting in an airport terminal in the mid-west on a 3 hour scheduled sit. One leg left of my 20 hour 3 day trip.

Here's the view out the window.

photo (4)

Day one was pretty easy. The Captain I'm flying with used to be in the training center. Nice guy, but doesn't seem to really enjoy flying.

The first overnight as mentioned in another post was in Sioux Falls. Day 2 was 4 legs long worth 6 hours and 20 minutes of pay.

The first 2 legs were mine. Fairly standard except a really bowed runway got  the best of me and I planted it on the runway.

For the hotel leg things got odd. Crazy weather all along the east coast caused delays. We thought we were fine as we were headed to a tiny airport vs a large hub.

Boarding started. I pulled up our clearance on the ACARs and the letters EDCT caught my eye. EDCT stands for Expect Departure Clearance Time. Our scheduled departure time was 1:30PM. Our EDCT was for 3:12PM. The reason was flow. Even though we were going to a small airport, the airway we would be using was clogged with aircraft headed to larger airports.


I told the Captain and he asked for me to call operations. They stated to halt boarding and have everyone deplane. Before the Passenger Bill of Rights we would have boarded up and sat in a holding pad hoping for an earlier EDCT. That's potentially too costly now.

Once they were all off I decided to stretch my legs. When I walked into the boarding area I was "greeted" with a bunch of angry eyed passengers. The didn't understand an ATC weather delay as the weather outside was beautiful. Severe VFR.

The gate agent motioned me over and asked if the "new" 1:55PM departure time would work. Apparently no one told her about our EDCT. I told her at best we would board at 2:40PM. She then asked if we would cancel just loud enough so passengers nearby could hear. "Mam I only fly the planes, I have no authority on if it cancels. I want to go just as bad as the passengers." I replied.

As I predicted we boarded up at 2:40PM. No further delays. Getting into the airport was interesting. The small airport is located near a few fairly tall hills. They were high enough to cause a 3 degree offset localizer for the ILS. The terrain, nearby thunderstorm and haze required the use of the ILS to start the approach. About 4 miles out we picked up the runway.

Being so late the overnight was 12 hours instead of 14. Enough, but I was fairly beat.

I had what qualified as food in the hotel cafe and hit the bed. Alarm set for 5:20AM. I woke up at 4:40AM as my body is paranoid about oversleeping even though I've never overslept.

Fairly standard day. There was a little excitement during leg 3. While on a visual approach the tower advised us of two large flocks of large birds flying over the runway. We were already on short final. One flock was coming at us high and the other was crossing the runway.

The Captain saw both and simply said, "don't go around."

Enough for me. Light airplane plus light winds meant the plane really didn't want to settle. One main....then the other....then the nose. I get paid the same for greasers and plants.

Once I'm done today I have 3 days off before starting another 3 day. After that my family is taking a 4 day weekend to visit my sister in law who's expecting a baby. I think it will be my daughters 56th flight.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Questions Answered: Making the jump

I'm 29 myself, with about 106 hours, and thinking about banging out the rest of my ratings locally (FBO) while staying out of debt.. One of the biggest hurdles for me is wondering whether or not I'd fit in, or get bored.. Do you feel like you are home often enough? I mean at my office job, I leave the house at 8 and am home by 6 usually.. so that's 50 hours away from home per week. So that's about 217.5 waking hours away from home in a month.. I feel like "awake" hours away from home would be similar if I worked a typical regional airline schedule.. (3.5 days per week away, 56 hours per week) I don't care about being home all the time, I just don't want to feel like I have no home, ya know? Would you recommend it to someone in my position? Decent but boring and at times annoying unfulfilling job (upper level IT Help desk/Network Admin.. 60k a yr about), unmarried, no kids.. I love to fly and travel, but also like my life at home too..(but many of my friends are getting married and having kids which means I'll only ever see them when they need something, or a wedding gift - we know how that goes.. so being home is less of a desire than it was before, my girlfriend is a nurse and she works long and odd hours too so that could be a good match up if anything) Anyway I do appreciate this blog.. It gives a good feel of what life is like as an Airline guy.. I know I have 1200 hours of instructing and/or some other poor paying job now until then, but that's ok as long as I have 0 debt, and if the shortage is real, that will improve the future career prospects... hopefully making it worth the massive investment. I've been on the fence about this for a while, but just couldn't make the leap.. I think the time to finally do it is here.. Advice?


You may think you might not like being gone all the times, but six days on the road living in hotels can get old.

I was 28 while I sitting in a cubicle at an IT company troubleshooting log files when I decided I'd had enough. It was only my second day at the job. Prior I spent 5 years working in the field fixing hardware. I realized I wasn't made for office work. I had weekends and holidays off...making good money....but I wasn't happy.

Getting your training done at an FBO is an excellent choice. Chances are training cost are lower and likely more relaxed than "big flight schools". Being more relaxed has its pros and cons though.

I'm going to assume you don't live near a major airport. Living "in base" increases your quality of life 100%, especially starting out. My airline gives reserves 11 days off a month. Just assume you will have to be in base all but 11 days. If you commute you could easily be down to just 8 days at home. This could go on for years.

Since your girlfriend is a nurse...and you have nothing tying you down....I would strongly suggest moving to base. Nurses can work just about anywhere. Bigger cities (where bases are) likely pay more for nurses. One thing to watch out for is airlines that use "out station" bases. This means being based in Louisville, Columbus, or Dayton. Cities where you would have to two leg commute to get in. Additionally out station bases are much more likely to close than say Chicago, Miami, Atlanta or New York.

Speaking of pay, I left a decent paying IT job. I'm approaching year 7 pay at my airline and will still not make more than when I left my IT job (excluding per diem). When I made the jump to flying I did so with a level head and we prepared for it financially. This year I should clear about $43,000 excluding per diem.

My first two years or so I was on reserve. Since I lived in base I was home a lot. There were times where I was gone for 5 days, but then I was home for 3 to 4 afterwards.

Now in my 6th year I'm home a lot more. For the most part I have 14-15 days off a month. Every now and then I hold 18 days off. It's very nice being able to work when I want to. I've been able to take a week long vacation without using any vacation time by working with my schedule.  I'm also able to spend several days in a row being Mr. Mom with my daughter.

As far as the pilot shortage I will say this. There are more pilots leaving my airline than coming in the front door. My airline is a great place to work, but pilots are finding flying jobs at the Majors and elsewhere. Word is 30 are going out the back door and just 6-7 are coming in the front door...every month.

This career is one that, if you stick around long enough, you can make six figures (even at the regionals) and work when you want to.

Additionally you get to travel for free or next to free on just about every airline. I travel standby, but I'm able to see exactly how many paying passengers are on each flight.  Before my daughter came along my wife and I would travel almost every week. We'd take day trips to Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington D.C, Minneapolis and more. We took long trips to Cabo San Lucas, Tokyo, Toronto, and Frankfurt. My wife has taken trips by herself to visit family a lot while I was on reserve. Even now with my daughter we travel about once a month.

I think I hit all your questions. If you have any more feel free to comment or shoot me an email at Geek at I don't use the @ symbol as bots pick it up and I get spam.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Getting out on overnights

Most of the time I am a "slam clicker" on overnights. What's a "slam clicker" you ask? Well it's a name given to crew members who go to their hotel room, close the door and click the security latch....and never go out.

On an overnight in Sioux Falls. I've been here a few times. Last time was Christmas 2012. I got stuck here for a few days. There was no way I was going out in the freezing, snowy weather.

Right now it's nice out so I ventured out to the falls. It's a short walk from the hotel. Nearly every airline crew stays at the same hotel.


After the visit I ventured downtown and ate at a local diner. Very nice to get out.

On a 20 hour 3 day trip. That's a lot of flying as I typically have 19 hour 4 day trips. Today was long with 7 hours of flying over 3 legs. The next two days I transit another base before heading home on the last leg of 5 leg day on Friday.

It's nice to get out....hope to do it more....before winter....

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Two cats....for when I really can't see outside....

Most of the time I land in VFR conditions.

Every now and then...maybe once or twice a month I have to land via an ILS (more often in winter than summer). Most of the time those are flown to a visual.

Even more rarely things are just bad....and I get to fly and approach....but the Captain has to land.....a Category II approach.

Things happen fast during an approach. With a Category II approach things can get messy fast.

At MY company this is how we fly Cat II approaches (Cat short for Category).

The Captain briefs the approach and the First Officer flies the approach. The Captain is looking outside from 500 feet down to (hopefully) the runway. The First Officer is looking inside the entire time.

The decision height for MOST Cat II approaches is 100 feet above the runway.  If the RUNWAY is not visible at 100 feet a missed approach much be executed.

Things happen fast.

In the simulator during training (the only place I've shot a Category II approach to mins), a moments hesitation can really mess things up.

The time is takes the plane to descend from 100 feet to the runway is 5 seconds. When I'm flying the approach and I hear "Approaching Minimums!" my fingers are positioned right over the Go Around buttons.

Once I hear "Minimums! Minimums!" I take a breathe and, if I don't hear "landing" from my Captain, I push the Go Around buttons and execute a missed approach.

The first time my Captain and I shot a Cat II approach he hesitated for a moment at minimums. That hesitation caused me to go missed approach when in reality he had the runway in sight.

After going missed we were vectored back around. This time he was ready and said "landing". Up until that point the autopilot was engaged. I had my hands on the thrust levers and yoke as a backup. The autopilot MUST fly the entire approach. Once I heard "landing" I immediately put my hands in my lap and looked outside.

I can only imagine how difficult it is to take over the controls of an airplane with just 5 seconds until landing.

Another scenario is a balked landing during a Cat II approach. This is where the Captain takes over but right before touchdown tower calls a go around. Things are really busy as now the Captain is flying and I am the pilot monitoring. So he flies the missed while I push the buttons. Once level I take over the controls again.

At "mainline" and newer regional jets a Heads Up Device is used on the Captains side so they can scan the instruments and look  outside the entire time.

Also more common at mainline are aircraft setup for Cat III approaches. A Cat III approach is one where the autopilot flies the approach and lands the aircraft.

One day I will get to experience the pure terror excitement of watching an autopilot land my plane.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Approaching 6 years

Simple two day trip. Five legs on day one and 3 on day two.

I don't care for 5 leg days. The first turn was quick at just 90 NM each way. The second turn was about an hour each way with the final flight being a 2 hour flight.

Interesting crew. My Captain is new to me and is from France. My Flight Attendant is from the country formerly known as Yugoslavia.

Both have accents and know each other well. Both would joke to the other that the passengers have no idea what the other is saying when giving announcements.

My Captain did really up the French accent when giving his announcements. Quite a few passengers stopped by the flight deck and asked who the , and I quote, "sexy french voice" belonged to.

Day one was long. I left a portable battery on the first aircraft I flew. I didn't realize it until I was on the second aircraft. I looked up the aircraft routing and saw it was to arrive 30 minutes before my last flight of the night was to depart.

After the first 4 flights we were supposed to have a 50 minute break. Well we were delayed by an hour and the delayed departure time was 9:45 PM. During that now almost 2 hour sit I got a call from scheduling around 8:10 PM. They needed a First Officer to fly a 8:25 PM departure. They wanted to reassign me with the "dangling carrot" being I would be done an hour earlier and still get paid for my original sequence.

Rarely have reassignments gone my way. I declined as I wanted something to eat....and my original overnight had free breakfast while the reassignment hotel was in the middle of no where and no free breakfast.

The aircraft I left my battery on was running late with an ETA of 8:50PM. I hung out around the arrival gate. The First Officer saw me and asked if I left a battery on board. He didn't find it until they landed and heard it slide forward.

The battery is all black which looks nice, but way to easy to leave behind. I'm going to wrap it in neon green tape when I get home.

The flight to the overnight couldn't go fast enough.

The hotel is a Homewood Suites. They offer free dinner on weekdays (until 8PM) and free breakfast everyday. Our scheduled arrival time was 10:45PM. Our delayed arrival time was 11:25PM.

Being so late the tower was closed. We went back to basic traffic reports. No one was in the area. In and done.

The hotel van had stopped running for the night. We took a taxi...for the whole 1 minute and ten second drive.

The hotel employees were nice enough to box up some of the free dinner for each of us. Nice touch.

Decent nights rest.

We had a 12:30PM van. While waiting near the gate I saw my Captain and Flight Attendant talking to a grey haired lady that looked like a Grandmother. Things got a little odd when she whipped out a pad of paper and started writing down information.

Turns out she was with the FAA....and she'd be riding on our jump seat.

We weren't full, but whatever.

Due to weather we needed extra fuel. We were actually 160 pounds over max takeoff weight when we left the gate.

We were limited due to runway performance meaning the max weight to accelerate to V1, abort and stop on the remaining pavement.

I briefed the departure including a static power takeoff. With both engines running and the APU powering the packs we burned the extra fuel fairly quickly.

Cleared for takeoff. My Captain aligned the plane with runway 17 and said, "your aircraft". I replied "my aircraft".

With my feet firmly on the brake pedals I set takeoff power. Once the engines were stabilized I released the brakes and away we went.

Dodged a few towering clouds and made our way to base.

The FAA rep was on her way to training and just wanted to ride up front. Nice lady.

In and done. Almost a 3 hour sit laid ahead.

During that sit I took the opportunity to leave the airport for dinner. I then parked at the terminal versus in the employee lot. I'd have to pay to park, but I would save time getting home after my flight.

The inbound plane was late. My crew was motivated. We left one minute late. My leg. I flew fast.

We were full but the return flight was booked light. My Captain called ahead and told the station we wanted a quick turn. He planned on using the APU and asked that no power or air be connected to the plane. Additionally the Flight Attendant stated he needed nothing in the way of trash or ice.

Winds at the outstation were 090@13 with the active runway being runway 10. Coming in from the east runway 16R was easier and faster. I briefed it and we were cleared for the approach.

In the 2 years I've flown to this airport, I have never seen it in the day time until on a 5 mile final at best. The area is flat, sandy and featureless. My Captain picked up the airport 12 miles out.

"If you see if you can call it." I stated. He did so....he did.

My Captain hipped me to staying in between two roads to set up for a final. I had the GPS approach set up as a back up. Turning about a 6 mile final I finally saw the airport.

My fourth greaser of the trip.

Just fourteen minutes after opening the passenger door we were taxiing back out.

The FMS estimated we would be 35 minutes early. Not bad for a flight blocked at 55 minutes. Well a little congestion meant we were slowed and turned. We still blocked in 25 minutes early.

We were so early that I was able to hop in my car, drive at posted speed limits, and pull into my garage at 8:42PM.....two minutes after scheduled arrival time. Nice to live in base.

The end of October will mark my 6th year at my airline. I kinda thought I would at least be in Captain training by now.  Here's to hoping the "pilot shortage of 2013-2014" comes to fruition and I can upgrade or move up to mainline.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Me, Flat Stanley....and "that guy"

First four day trip in months. I tried to get out of it.....not luck.

The original Captain was a guy I've only heard great things about. I was looking forward to flying with him as he was new to me.

Well the day before the trip the original Captain was pulled off the trip. He is the new Chairman of our Union and was removed for Union work. In his place I was assigned a guy I've flown with once before. The most non-interesting man in the world.

The trip was absolutely boring. Eighteen hours of flight with only the checklist read out loud. The rest of the time was spent in complete silence.

The quietness of the guy didn't bother me, but his "all about himself" attitude did.

Most crews will leave the airplane or jet-bridge at the same time when swapping planes or headed to the hotel. It's common courtesy in case the cabin crew needs help or the First Officer is still outside doing the post-flight and finds an issue.

This Captain always headed right up the jet bridge and waited either in the terminal or walked to the hotel van each time. I always waited with the cabin crew. Thankfully I didn't find an issue during my post-flights that required him to write it up.

Another annoyance was at the hotel.

We have a sign in sheet made by our company. It's basic stuff like name, employee number, room number, wake up call excetera.

Most crews take turns filling it out. On the first night I simply asked the other crew members to spell their last names and their employee numbers. Takes 2 minutes.

The second night my Flight Attendant did the writing.

On the third night I thought for sure the Captain would do the job. Well he grabbed the sign in sheet and started writing. He had a piece of paper in his hand I thought had our names and employee numbers (some people print them out for each trip. I was wrong.

He just filled in his information and the flight information and walked away. Ah....that guy.

I did have some fun on the trip.

A friend of mine is home schooling her kid and is working on a project with "Flat Stanley". I offered up my services to take some photos of Flat Stanley during my trip. At each stop I took a photo of Flat Stanley at the terminal. I also took a few photos in flight. Happy to help out.

I finished my trip early Saturday morning. I go back Monday afternoon for a two day trip.

After that I have a one day simulator session Thursday and go back to the line next week on Wednesday.

I don't want to ever be referred to as "that guy".