Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Flying the Line

I have logged about 75 hours now since IOE, almost all of it in the 757. In fact, I have flown the 67 only once. I have been doing quite a few "transcons" (coast to coast) but have also seen some mid-continentent landings, at Denver and Chicago. I like the transcons, even though they are long (about 5 hours). Nothing exciting has happened, but a few glitches have popped up.

We taxied out in Boston and got an hour delay because of weather in Chicago. We shut the engines down in a very scenic spot beside the ship channel to Boston Harbor. It was neat watching the ships sail by right in front of us. We got the start-up call from the tower and started the engines but then a caution message popped up that said the left engine thrust reverser had a fault. We called SAMC (San Francisco Maintenance Center) and they told us to shut the engine down, cancel the fault messages, and restart it, which should clear the problem. We did all that and got the message again. They said go back to the gate, but all the gates were occupied. We waited another hour.

At the gate mechanics came aboard and said they could lock-out the reverser and defer the work to Chicago if I would agree. I had done this before many times on the 737, but precautions need to be taken. I called Dispatch and asked him about the conditions in Chicago. He said the runways had packed snow and the winds were gustng across the runway, portending a possible directional control problem. I considered I might need that thrust reverser. Considering that 

I was new to the 757 I told the mechanics I would not accept a deferment. I explained all this to the passengers in the simplest terms I could, but most of them I'm certain never understood. The flight canceled. 180 angry and frustrated people got off.

My F/O and I were told to deadhead to Chicago on the next scheduled flight, which we did (along with many of our previous passengers). I watched as we landed in Chicago: no packed snow. The runways were clean and the winds light. I could have made the landing easily with the thrust reverser locked-out. All I needed was accurate information.

Last week, you probably saw the news reports of the pilots who wen
t to sleep. It was a "GO Airlines" flight from Honolulu to Hilo. They missed Hilo and flew about 100 miles out into the Pacific before waking up. The flight was only about 45 minutes long. How then, you ask, can pilots get so tired on such a short trip? Consider that those commuter pilots commonly make 6-8 flights in a day. They work them hard and pay them peanuts. But you, the ticket buyer, get a great deal.  

Or, do you?

On that thought....


I took on a short walk from the hotel and snapped this pic. As you can see the 757 goes to some really boring places.

This is the view from my front office, at this point the California Sierras. This proves I was awake.

1 comment:

bradcockrell said...

way to stick it to the masses there at the end... love it! How did you take that photo... did you get a new camera?