Both pairs of eyes glanced at the master caution light and then to the lower ECAM screen. Once my brain took a quarter second to process the malfunction, I knew what was about to happen.
We had departed Los Angeles ninety minutes earlier. On a nice day, the flight from LAX to San Francisco runs about fifty five minutes in the air. That morning, the weather on the west coast was beautiful… except for the few square miles encompassing SFO. About forty five minutes after takeoff, the NORCAL controller starting issuing delay vectors. The visibility on 28R had dropped to 500′ RVR. To conduct a Cat IIIb approach and auto-land, we needed 600′ RVR.
Recently, I stumbled upon an unopened packet of paper Airbus A320 cockpit panels. These panels are used by pilots during initial training. When unfolded and setup correctly, the panels help new pilots memorize switch locations and “cockpit flows.” (If you’re not familiar with the term, a flow is a memorized series of steps that are performed in the same order each time and usually followed up with a check-list.)
I have no use for these panels. So, I thought it would be fun to give them away to a blog reader.
Pilots and flight attendants spend an abundance of time in hotels. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed the benefits of spending half my nights in hotels and resorts. I’ve also learned most of the pitfalls.
Therefore, without further hesitation, here is my list and some accompanying stories of sixteen things that can go wrong during a hotel stay…
The first three weeks of December were a challenge. I intentionally stacked my schedule heavy at the beginning of the month so I wouldn’t have to fly over the holidays. Three weeks in a row, I worked the same high time four day trip that finished late on the last day. After a redeye commute, I was home two and a half days between trips. While I’m thankful my seniority allowed me to bid the schedule, flying it took an enormous toll on my body. In the future, I will spread my trips more evenly throughout the month.
With the third trip complete, I’m enjoying Christmas and New Year’s Eve with my family in Tennessee.
My work for 2013 is complete.
I am not a fan of waking early. But, I will admit there’s a certain appeal to flying early in the morning. Without the normal daytime background noises, airports are quiet at the break of day. Every once in awhile, the calm is disrupted by a departing or arriving aircraft. Jets sound better slicing through clear, quiet air.
We were the ones making some noise at 5:00am on an April morning in Austin, Texas. As the Citation 560XL reached takeoff speed, I rotated into the smooth air. An initial heading from the departure controller pointed us in the general direction of Montego Bay in Jamaica.
The call had come the night before while we enjoyed some barbecue at a hole in the wall in downtown Austin. We were instructed to ferry our aircraft to Montego Bay, pick up two passengers and fly them to Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos.
That’s how that job went… I never knew where I was flying until the call came in the evening. It seemed a little silly to be flying an empty positioning flight four hours down to Jamaica. It was also a little frustrating that it was my “go home” day. They were going to make me earn my seventh day of pay before airlining me home to Nashville.
Regardless of the circumstances, it’s hard to complain too much about flying around the Caribbean.