Friday, March 6, 2015

Well isn't that special

Day 3 of a 4 day. So far I've only done one of my original flights. Weather has dessemated my schedule.

My original trip was decent but got back at 9PM on Saturday. It was just a single leg in. I had no desire to sit in a hotel all day on a weekend. I traded into a new trip that finishes at 3:30 PM Saturday. It was a 3-4-2-5 trip. Better.

This winter has been brutal.

My trip started on Wednesday. On Tuesday my trip started to fall apart. I had just one leg to the overnight.

Twenty minutes to departure and there was no Captain. I saw him name on when I signed in and know who he is....he just wasn't here. Ten minutes to go he arrived. There was an issue with him signing in.

Blocked out 20 minutes late. After deicing we took off 50 minutes late. My leg.

The outstation was reporting heavy snow, 1000 foot ceilings and 1/2 mile visibility, gusting winds and they were using the 7000 foot runway instead of the 8000 foot runway as the shorter runway had an ILS. We had two alternates.

The plane I was flying had no APU and only one operable thrust reverser.

I haven't flown much this year. The aircraft I fly is authorized to land with full or reduced flaps. I prefer reduced flaps as it uses less fuel, quieter and is easier to grease on.

With the inoperable thrust reverser, snow/ice covered runway and gusting winds I elected to use full flaps.

The performance chart for reduced flaps showed needing 5000 feet while full flaps needed just 3850 feet. Both figures excluded the use of thrust reverse and were for a wet runway with good braking.

If braking action was reported "fair" we needed 7620 feet for reduced flaps and 5830 feet for full flaps. The penalty for no thrust reverse was 2238 feet for reduced flaps (a total of 9858 feet) and 1350 for full flaps ( a total of 7180).  Basically if braking action wasn't good....we couldn't land.

I had not had a full flaps landing in months. I also haven't landed on snow in months. Good times.

By the time we arrived the snow was now light and the winds had died down. I still kept the full flaps.

The runway was not plowed well and still covered in patchy ice. The Captain called the runway 2 miles out. I looked up to see a sea of white. I faintly saw the runway lights and outline.

Ice and snow obscured most runway markings. Braking action reported good.

The full flaps made for a heavy feeling yoke.

I made a slightly firm touchdown with the mains and slowly lowered the nose on the pavement and began braking. I opened the one good thrust reverser just in case. We came to taxi speed with 3000 feet left.

Long overnight. My schedule on day 2 changed a few times. Finally settled with a 6:30 PM departure for me. The Captain I flew with was reassigned and earlier departure.

The snow had stopped. Left a few minutes early. My leg again. Arrived early. I was reassigned to a different overnight.

I met crew number 3 for the week. Very Junior Captain....barely senior to me.

In order to keep the streak of good landings going I took the outbound leg again.

During my preflight I found very thin frost on the left wing. The aircraft would have easily taken off with the frost....but regulations state the top of the wing must be free of frost.

The deicing team was no where to be found. We waited 20 minutes for them to drive out to the de-ice pad. We took off over an hour late.

The next outstation was bitterly cold. Just 2 degrees Fahrenheit! They had previously had heavy snow. The ATIS reported just the approach and departures end taxiways were open. Everything in between was closed. The runway was reported as having snow and ice again.

This plane had both thrust reversers. I planned another full flap landing. In and almost done. The parking area had over a foot of snow. The ground crew never cleared it. It made for an "interesting" post flight.

As my crew walked up the jetbridge  (at 12:40 AM!) I noticed I had two voicemails from Crew Scheduling. I use Google Voice and have all Crew Scheduling calls go directly to's part of my strategy. They don't pay my phone bill so there is no reason for them to call me.

The transcription showed they wanted me to have exactly 10 hours of rest and come back to fly another flight back to base. The contract states they must have positive contact meaning two way communication.

I was already tired. The drive to the hotel took 20 minutes due to snow. At best I would have 8 hours of rest. I declined to call them back. I knew it would not be just one flight back but another series of flights.

They called twice more...straight to voicemail. I got to my hotel room and was exhausted. As I laid down my HOTEL phone rang. I just picked it up and set it back down. I knew who it was. I wasn't interested. If I spoke to them there would be no negotiating, I would have to do the assignment they had.

I slept well. I woke up and felt great. The flight they wanted me to fly was staffed with a reserve flown in from another base. It would actually leave at the same time they wanted to fly it. No loss.

So far I am supposed to fly one leg into base, go home and come back tomorrow to finish my trip.

So far.

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