Sunday, June 15, 2014

CDO...not so bad

Completed my first CDO of the month this morning.Interesting as my line was full of CDOs.

My duty started last night at 7:30PM. My wife and daughter dropped me off at the curb at 7:20PM.

After signing in for my trip I made my was down to the aircraft. It was cold and dark. No power. The GPU cable was plugged in, but the power wasn't turned on. I went down to the ramp and asked two different rampers to turn the power on, both said they were to busy. Fine, APU it was.

By 7:45 PM I had completed my preflight checks completed, FMS set up and had my bottle of water. The Flight Attendant arrived. She mentioned that our crew was the same one that got stuck in an outstation last December for 5 days.

The Captain arrived while boarding had started. He was part of the other crew stuck with me in December. We've flown together a few times. He's a no BS Captain. Nice as long as you do your job, if you mess around there will be words. I've never had words.

Departure was supposed to be 8:15PM. Boarding was complete at 8:10PM and the boarding door was closed. Then the hilarity began.

A flight to the same outstation had cancelled earlier. The airline operating the flight (operated by another regional for my mainline partner) had a mechanical issue. There were more passengers than seats for my flight. Many of their bags were set to go and were on board my aircraft. Problem was we were to 40 pounds. Forty pounds over Zero Fuel Weight. Funny math. I didn't bring my suitcase since it was just a CDO so in theory the 40 pounds didn't matter. I packed everything I needed into my kitbag. Whatever.

The rampers had to remove 2 bags. Done. Next issue was finding a slot to push.

Controlling the area from the taxiway to the gate at most Hubs is a ramp controller. The ramp controller has to monitor inbound flights, outbound flights, gate space and maintenance movements. There are defined positions called "spots" where aircraft transition from the ramp to taxiways. An aircraft will leave gate 5 under guidance from the ramp. They will taxi to spot 19 where the ground controller will give instructions to get to the runway. An inbound flight first calls the ramp for a "spot". They then till ground which "spot" they are going to. From the "spot" the ramp controller guides the flight to the gate. There are fewer "spots" than gates.

The ramp controller last night was new. He was flustered. He kept allowing mainline to push before RJs. It takes much longer for a 777 to push than a ERJ-175.

It took 20 minutes to push. Ridiculous. Several times the ramp controller ignored or didn't reply to multiple request from aircraft.

Captains leg out. He likes to "fly it like he stole it", meaning at the limits of the aircraft envelope. We got a few short cuts by leveling off at FL230 vs the planned FL270. By staying lower we got more direct routing so the extra fuel burn was a wash. We made up 16 of the 20 minutes lost.

We had 9 hours between flights. Blocked in at 9:24PM. By 9:55PM I was walking into the hotel.

The 5:00AM wakeup call came early. At 5:30AM we climbed into the van headed for the airport.

My leg back. We blocked out 8 minutes early and arrived 12 minutes early at 7:18AM. Total duty time was 12 hours and 3 minutes.

The remainder of my CDO's are much shorter.

Tomorrow I have an interesting situation.

I traded my original CDO worth 1 hour 35 minutes for a 2 day trip worth 8 hours. The Captain of that trip is an IOE Captain. Another pilot needed IOE so I was displaced off the trip. I was reassigned a trip worth 9 hours. I then added on a 3 hour turn on premium pay that pays 4.5 hours. I will be paid for 13.5 hours to fly 12 hours in just 2 days. Not too shabby.


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