Wednesday, September 10, 2014

One bird died in the making of this post

On day two for a four day....currently sitting on my couch....MY COUCH.

Day one was a very late start....6:20PM departure.

My I3 is currently in the shop for a software upgrade. I'm driving a 2014 BMW 320. Totally hate it. Makes noise, vibrates, I have to use the brake pedal (the I3 has heavy regenerative braking) and it shifts gears! The autrocity! I said that to say wife worked late and dropped me off at work in her Nissan Leaf. Peaceful.

When I sign in for a trip the computer tells me how many hours I have in the aircraft and how many hours the Captain has. Most of the time the Captain has much more time. Last night I saw I had 2161 hours in this particular aircraft. The Captain has 2448. Not much difference.

I arrived and met my Flight Attendant. She is a "senior mama" meaning she's been here a while. I've flown with her before. Nice lady.

The Captain arrived and right off the bat rubbed me the wrong way.

"I see you're pretty senior, I have problems with senior First Officers." was his opening remark.

He then went on to list all of his issues. Here's what I remember.

- Don't run the taxi or before takeoff checklist until I say to

- Don't memorize checklist

- Don't level off more than 2000 feet per minute in out of RVSM or 1500 feet per minute in RVSM

- When clearing the runway don't run the after landing checklist until I say so

There was more. I was a bit offended with his issues with Senior First Officers. He had been on military leave for 10 straight years which is why he had so few hours in the aircraft.

I was waiting to run the before start checklist. Ninety-nine point nine nine nine nine nine percent of Captains run the before start checklist before the main cabin door is closed. There are reasons for this, to catch issues before the door is closed.

"I like to run checklist when I'm on the clock." He said.

And that's what we did. Fine. His leg. Away we went.

Arrived to the overnight early. We had a celebrity onboard, Woody Harrelson. Unfortunetly he refused all autograph and photo request. Boo.

La Quinta for the overnight. No my favorite....but there are worse.

Van time was set for 7:30AM for an 8:35AM departure.

I wear the same belt every week. I bought it as it doesn't beep when going through TSA. This morning I beeped. Their scanners were turned up too high.

First two legs were mine.

Easy leg in. Quick turn. Leg 2 of 4 was to Colorado. Beautiful VFR day. Approach vectored us for a left downwind. The airport was in a valley. High terrain east of the runway.

It was odd descending below the terrain. Textbook pattern. I made a very nice landing.

On rollout...around 100 knots I looked out to see a flock of birds right over centerline.

I debated taking off again and pulling a "Sully"...but there's not much water in the area.


At least one bird hit my side of the nose.

I reported the strike to tower.

Once parked the Captain let the station know we would be down for a while.

During my post flight I expected to see blood and feathers. I saw nothing.

An airport operations vehicle approached and let me know they found a Swallow, dead....but intact, on the runway.

Company policy requires a full inspection. Contract mechanic called. Our 25 minute turn would not happen.

The mechanic completed the inspection and took the logbook to finish the paperwork. Boarding started. One of the last items on the before start checklist is verifying the logbook is on board. Remember this Captain doesn't run checklist until the door is closed.

Boarding completed, the Captain handed out the paperwork and advised to close up. Just then the mechanic tapped on his window holding the log book. He almost forgot it. Checklist. Sigh.

An hour and seventeen minutes after blocking in, we blocked out.

Because we were so late we were pulled from our overnight.

My wife is on top of things and was waiting on the curb with my daughter to pick me up.

I was able to go to my daughters swimming lessons, eat dinner with her and tuck her into bed....all because a swallow and my jet shared the same piece of land at the wrong time.



1 comment:

  1. To quote a column from Reader's Digest (is it still published?) "All in a Day's Work." you have flown with 'interesting' captains before. Perhaps this one believes that he is the world's only real pilot, that all others, including other captains, are his assistants? In fairness, he's got a point about Not memorizing the various checklists; reading and executing the script each time. That's a big part of why they exist! As for the timing of the list's use, I wonder. There are many reasons to be ahead of the curve and have the config's done before required, but when the time comes, most consider it wise to run the entire list, if only to validate and assure that nothing got missed.
    I think it not unfair to suggest that some of his attitude is related to the (recent) years of military service. I wonder what he flew while in-service; solo, or two++ crewed aircraft. (Teams need designated leaders, but TEAM implies using input from all, not an autocrat.) Look on the bright side: You've experienced yet another experienced captain's style. As a "Senior FO," perhaps about to shift into the left seat, thinking about what works - and what does not work, may help to guide your own transition. If a handful of "Command Behaviors," seriously annoyed you, you'll know not to use them when sit on the left side. If the numbers continue shifting as they have in recent months, perhaps your opportunity is close... By any measure, it is a substantial increase of **personal** responsibility and of course, I wish you the best.
    Frankly, I am still, if slightly, troubled by your continued use of first person terms of ownership: "My airplane, My flight attendant, My Captain," etc. That said, I can also, - easily - accept the idea that it is a part of your writing style, rather an a mind-set suggesting that all of those considerations, as well as basic Safety of Flight, are all centered on you. That's not the case - and you know it. The basic tenants of CRM, whether one calls it 'cockpit,' or 'crew,' strongly suggest a team effort, not a singular one. Again, perhaps writing style. With nearly every use of of "My," I have to wonder if substituting "Our," would more accurately reflect your thinking. When you become a captain, there will be some, measured entitlement for use of "My," and at the same time, thinking (and writing?) in terms of "We" and "Our" may serve you well. Best wishes and please fly safe, always!
    -addendum: Loved the quip about your overnight at a La Quinta hotel and observing that there are worse hotels... My empathy, sir! Your current 'regional - feeder,' sure does not waste any money on overnight expenses! Even when on personal road trips, using four wheels and no wings, and needing only a bed and a shower for 8-12 hours, I do a little better than La Quinta! If LQ is the only game in town at some of your outposts, so be it, but when there are options, I think your airline, with a little push from the crew's unions, should be offered a bit better. LQ is, IMO, the bottom of the barrel! -C.


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