Flying Stories Pilot Lifestyle
Wrapping up 2015
December 31, 2015

The last trip of 2015 has been entered into the logbook:

Day One:
EWR-AUA (deadhead/not in logbook)

Day Two:

Day Three:

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!




About author

Renewed Pilot

I've endured a roller coaster career in the U.S. Aviation Industry. Currently flying the 737 on my third try with the same legacy carrier, I have also flown for a regional, fractional and start-up carrier. My piloting experience includes the 737, A320, 727, Citation Excel, Citation Bravo, Saab 340 and many light singles and twin engine aircraft. I reside in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee.

Related items

/ Other posts in this category:


Hurricane Harvey

Read more

Whoosh! (There It Is)

Read more

TIME to fly home

Read more

There are 3 comments

  • Cedarglen says:

    Thanks for the wonderful year-ending post, Brian. Your material is always worth my reading time. As for the the ‘worst’ landing of the year, park it and forget it; we both know that planting a -900 on 6800 feet has to be by the numbers, perhaps planting wheels on or near the painted ones. Being polite with the Capt., idiot of not, is never a bad choice, and you do not take it home with you. And again, a good, solid plant at the head of 6800′, may not be the most comfortable, but it IS the right way. Obviously, you got that memo. All walked off under their own power and the airplane, undamaged, could care less. Your goal remains the safe arrival of all, yourself included, at the intended point or reasonably close. as for the Capt. noted, what can one say? Despite several decades of constantly improving CRM education, there will always be a few who missed the memo. Some have waited decades to flaunt the fourth stripe and they will not be denied. Words like ‘cooperation,’ and ‘team,’ are not within their vocabulary. With 16 years behind you, you know the details far better than I do. Smile a lot, nod when appropriate and when ‘professional guidance’ is appropriate, perhaps even a spoken ‘thank you.’ And continue driving your own airplane, ’cause you DO know how to do so!
    2015 has been an interesting year for your profession. I suspect that you will see another stripe and a seat change, long before you see any more furlough time. Ahem… this is good. WTF? You know the rules and procedures as well or better than anyone, so use them to your advantage; it really IS your turn, Brian. As you also know, some airplane drivers actually pass on their first or second opportunity to upgrade, drivers actually pass on their first or second opportunity to upgrade, simply to preserve their Quality of Life. The role of a stable, Very Senior FO is not necessarily a bad as bad as many believe. While a seat change will net a few more dollars, it may not be the ideal change for some; sleeping at home almost every night may have even greater value, and only you can make that choice.
    Best wishes for 2016+ I hope you remain satisfied with your profession. When the time is right – For You – you will make one heck of a great Capt., but please, do so on your own schedule, not theirs.

  • Thank you for a year of great and interesting reading. Here’s hoping more success and good health for 2016 – and more columns from yo.

  • TotoNSha says:

    Thanks for a great year RP! Looking forward to reading more of your posts in the new year. All the best to you and your family.

  • Leave a Reply to Cedarglen Cancel reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *