The last trip of 2015 has been entered into the logbook:
EWR-AUA (deadhead/not in logbook)
The pairing finished a few days before Christmas. After a challenging commute home to Nashville, I began a stretch of eighteen days off. Being a senior first officer after sixteen years has some advantages.
Here are some logbook stats from 2015:
Total flights flown: 200
Total hours flown: 687.1
Legs I flew/landed: 103
Worst landing of the year: RTB on this last trip.
On the way to Roatan, the captain felt the need to give some unsolicited advice on landing a 900-ER on a shorter runway. Honestly, I found it a little amusing since we were hired in the same year at our respective sides of the merger.
No, I wasn’t going to get slow on the approach.
No, I wasn’t going to push the nose down “like some new guys do” if I started to float.
He suggested that I land with the flaps at 40 degrees and the auto-brakes set to MAX.
Uh, who was flying the jet?
I knew it was overkill, but it was my first leg as the “flying pilot” with him and he seemed a little edgy about the 6,800′ runway.
We broke out of the clouds as I turned final on the RNAV approach south of the island.
Click, click… autopilot off.
Click, click… auto-thrust off.
I flew the final approach dividing my scan between the runway, airspeed and tropical scenery of the island.
We crossed the threshold on-speed and stable.
SLAM. Crunch. Thump. The landing was firm, but safe.
The MAX auto-brakes activated about the time I was pulling the thrust levers into reverse. As my upper torso was restrained by the shoulder harness, I wondered what the people in the back were thinking.
At sixty knots, the captain took over the jet.
“Wow. Look how much runway you have remaining,” he said as we were instructed to continue to the end, turn around and back-taxi back to the terminal.
“It was flaps 40, auto-brakes MAX. What were you expecting?” I asked as I laughed to add some levity to the moment.
“I still think it was the safest plan. I’ve seen too many people float on these short runways.” He was sticking with his narrative.
I just nodded and smiled.
It WAS total overkill… but, I gave him exactly what he wanted.
I just wish I could have explained myself to the folks staring up at us as they walked into the terminal.
As 2015 comes to an end, I want to thank all of you for reading this blog. I appreciate the comments, emails and sharing of the posts on social media. Time permitting, I will continue to post in 2016.
Have a safe and prosperous New Year!