Welcome to my Blog

I am starting this blog just as I am starting my airline career. Feel free to ask any questions, or if you are in need of any help related to seeking employment with an airline then just let me know. I really enjoy helping others in any way that I can.

This is my blog with a name that stems from a long standing joke. Damnit Bobby was a term thrown out during a fun family sports match. Damnit Bobby Airlines was destined to be a loving name given to any flight I conduct which has passengers on board

I was a flight instructor and a part 91 (private carriage) pilot prior to becoming employed with an airline. Please enjoy the blog, and feel free to comment about anything and everything.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

This is long, but it is my update of all the stuff that happened on my first day... :D

Started off great. We flew out to State College, PA., and back without a hitch. The only catch was a fed decided to jumpseat with us... Great, so my first flight EVER and I have a fed breathing down my neck, LOL. My checkairmen made sure to inform the guy, but the Fed, being a Fed, kept telling me wrong things to do, LOL. I wasn't about to go talk to center before I turned on a bleed valve. It takes two seconds and is part of my climb flow to open one Low pressure bleed valve at a time. As quick as the cabin heated up, I think center/departure can wait for 2 seconds while I keep people in the back from having heat stroke.

Next out and back trip: There was a Captain doing IOE with another checkairmen, and the plane they were scheduled to use had a problem with the tiller. The SAAB does not have any interconnect unit for the rudder pedals and nosewheel steering. So the only way to move the nosewheel is with the tiller or using differential power. Because the Captain was doing IOE, the checkairmen requested a plane swap. So they took our plane... I went to preflight their plane and guess what? I discovered a leak coming from the PGB (Prop Gear Box). So, we got swapped for a broken plane, and a full load of passengers had to wait over 3
hours. What we did is take the first plane into a gate... Remember when I talked about wanting to try and do a REPO flight from IAH to ALB? That was the plane we ended up getting. So our 12:28 scheduled departure was really 4:00 ish. We did that out and back to a place called Charlestown,PA..

I was feeling good on that out and back. My Checkairmen was really pushing me to be quick, and I did it (yeah I was kinda surprised myself, LOL). We made up so much time that we got back in time to make the last out and back of the day on the scheduled time. That was quite a feat, because we had about 2 hours of block time for the trip, and we did it in just under an hour. That is where I learned about having 3/4 of the next leg's weight and balance form filled out. I also had experience getting a clearance through an RCO, so that made the inbound (to Dulles) leg go a bit quicker.

We got back, went inside for the release papers (yeah Internet was down too so we had to get it from the gate agent). As we went out the Captain told the gate agent we could only take 31 (my w&B figures, and he calculated the CG... that is how we normally do it - he uses a whiz wheel for the W&B). We got the paperwork ready and I looked back to tell the F/A we were ready to board (Capt.'s Blessing). She wasn't there, so I told the Capt. that she must have gone to smoke a cigarette. So the Captain got off the plane and told the gate agents that as soon as they see the flight attendant to start boarding behind her. That is when the flight attendant came back on board and the Captain found out she was gone calling S.O.C. with a fatigued call. Well, guess who was behind her? LOL, 31 people who had to be told to go back inside. The pax were very nice throughout everything. Fast Forward just a tad over an hour, and the reserve Flight Attendant gets there. She was very pretty, so my Captain had to remind me that we were there to fly and not talk, LOL. We got ready fast enough, but that is when they loaded up 34 people, 30 checked bags and 27 carry-ons. The Captain was ****ed... The gate agent didn't believe the Captain was right. So I took the prerogative to do the W&B form with our load.... Specifically to have a paper trail showing that we were not gonna be legal to depart... seeing as how we were almost 1,000lbs over max ramp weight. So, that paperwork and a very smart Captain made the gate agents start working on deplaning passengers. The problem was that everyone was apparently holding out for higher dollar amounts and more vouchers. They were up to $400 and a free round trip (and the pax tickets didn't cost that much either). No one budged. We had the right engine running because they had removed the A/C cart and we were planing on hauling *** out of there. So we sat for over 1/2 hour with the engine running and HP Bleed Air going through the A/C (it is a trick we can use to increase the amount of cool air entering the cabin). I asked the Captain a question about our 16 hour duty limit, and that ended with him calling in and talking with the dispatcher. Because no one budged, we ended up timing out.

.... And that was my "operational" experience for my first day. I was really excited about my landings though. They were all "greasers", and mostly on the centerline, LOL. I don't mind being hard on myself though. The SAAB is pitch sensitive and roll is like a 747. I over did the pitch and wanted to have the sight picture of a Cessna. We land at about 3* nose up pitch, so I ballooned on my second landing... The first one was great, but I think that was purely luck LOL. My visual approaches were not great by any means. You don't realize how far out you do have to start planing the descent. I tried to fly my first approach like a Cessna, and that won't cut it. You can't drop a SAAB out of the sky. Each of my first three landings were back at Dulles, and a little difference was that Dulles is a high speed place. They barked at us because we slowed to 190 during some massive turbulence on our way in. We had no speed restrictions, yet as soon as we hit 190 the controller asked what our speed was. Capt. told him. The Controller was definitely upset when he told us to let him know first next time. I had to shrug my shoulders... no speed restrictions right? The arrival we were on required 160kts or greater... 190 covers the "or greater" part, LOL. What made judging my visuals hard was that I had to slow down and go down. The SAAB is slippery when clean, and a drag bucket when configured. We can't get the gear down till 200KIAS. But, the good Captain help talk me back onto a nice approach. I wanted to beat myself up over my judgment errors on those approaches, but he kept telling me... Hey man, it's your first day of IOE you can't expect yourself to go from a Cessna to a SAAB and start off perfect. I just expect better of myself and approaches... but, I did at least joke with him that it doesn't take a good approach to make a good landing hehe.

Sorry that was so long, but my first day was a bit more memorable then some from what a lot of the guys told me, LOL.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What an awesome day! I flew a lot in the SAAB today, and got to try my hand at integrating sim training to line ops.. There were as many operational problems as legs that we flew. Just to summarize my day:

We had a show time of 6:39am. I got the dispatch release and weather then I started to fill out what I could from our W&B sheet. Next thing you know, there is a maintenance issue with another plane so we did a plane swop. We had to do that because the steering wheel tiller was busted on the plane we were gonna take. After going over there to start over at the top. On my walk around I discovered where the PGB (prop gear box)had a leak. That caused us to push the scheduled departure time back 2 hours until another plane came in that we could use. We finally got under way about 2.2 hours later. We made our out-and-back with so much efficiency that we blocked in 10 minutes ahead of our planned ETA from our original flight. As we prepared for another flight, our flight attendant decided to call in fatigued. So we waited another 90 minutes for a reserve flight attendant. After she arrived, we booked it out to the flightline and were ready to go in about 10 minutes. The problem was that the gate agent didn't listen to the Captain when he told him we could only take 31 pax. We had just finished boarding 34 passengers and then the fun began. No irrate passengers, but no volunteers to give up their seat. Cutting right to the chase, we had to cancel the flight due to several things which caused us to time out.

The plane is so fun to fly. It is very sensitive on ptich control inputs, and very slow on roll. I had a great first landing in the SAAB, but my second one was not as good. ATC slam dunked us, and as a result I was about 15 knots fast over the threshold. We didn't go to the UK, bu we made it within our company's policy for speed limits on final and within the company's policy for max distance from the threshold that we may land. All of the flying was very fun, and I can't wait till tomorrow to do it all again, but with a few more destinations thrown in there. I will add more details about the flight later, but for now I need to get some sleep.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How to become Current with one Landing

After a long two month 1 week hiatus from flying, today I was able to get back into the air. The now ever increasing pace of training brought me to Dulles Airport last Sunday. The intent was to do orientation training (how to conduct line business) with the hope that they would get us scheduled for some extra duties. As comes standard with any job of this nature, I was prepared for the complete revamp of my schedule issued to me on Monday. I will say, if you are a person set in your ways, then you shouldn't bother. Schedules change faster then the best mom can change a diaper.

My Tuesday started off as planned, an observation flight where I sat in the Jumpseat and... well... observed. Not too much demanding tasks to complete there, but a lot of great information to be missed if you just sit there with your jaw open and eyes filled with dreams. Normal ops vary greatly from things done in the simulator. The pace of things is greatly sped up, and there is definitely a noticeable difference between crews. Most all crews follow the procedures to a "T", but how they conduct the flight can vary greatly.

My fun started when I was able to take the last leg of a flight because the Captain was a Checkairmen and the F/O was a past Captain (rehired after a furlough from a Major, but he gave up his seniority to go to the major). After I filled out our standard paperwork (completed our TOLD card and W&B sheet) the F/O asked if I wanted to take the leg. I told him that I wouldn't mind, but he was in my seat =). So I got to fly the leg from Charlie West (Charleston West Virginia) back to Dulles (KIAD) airport. The flight was fun, and pretty standard. My approach to the landing was great, right on speed and on sink rate. My landing, however left a little to desire. Naw, LOL I'm just kidding... It was actually very good for my first ever landing in an airplane with 34 passengers on board (a full house). I was surprised by the actual affect of going to flight idle compared to that of anything before. The plane slows down in a big hurry when it produces no thrust, LOL.

In case you were wondering about the title.... Imagine a great approach that ends up in a bounce, then another bounce, and on the last time you stick the landing. Yeah, that's three landings isn't it, LOL. A joke I used to play on some of my friends was if they bounced a landing twice I would tell them one more and you'll be current.

Have a great one,

Friday, July 16, 2010

I recieved a phone call that I have been waiting for. I get to fly to Dulles Airport in D.C.. I will be finishing up my training, and the things left to complete are:

1) Orientation - Company check-in policies, general operations, ect...
2) Observation - There are two flights that me must observe from the jump seat. The purpose is to allow the new hires (me) to see and learn how flights are managed. This includes everything from doing the preflight inspection to securing the plane after the last flight of the day.
3) IOE - This stands for, Initial Operating Experience. We take on our roll as a first officer on passenger carrying flights. During IOE, pilots are paired with very experienced and specifically trained Captains. The Captain helps ensure the flight is conducted safely while teaching us about flying the real plane, and ensuring we conduct the flight according to company policies and procedures.

Once I finish those three things, I will earn my wings as a new airline pilot. It has been a fun process, and it seems like we just started training a few days ago. It's been nearly 10 weeks to the day from the date of our first class. The group of pilots I enjoyed ground school with have all done well. There have been a few hard times along the way, like trying to study all 40 pages of our study guide... while studying for our company procedures and systems tests.

We took a total of 3 written tests during the entire process. The first test was administered during our interview. The test was a 50 question test based off of ATP written test questions. The questions and answers had been changed enough that attention to detail is the only way to ensure a passing score. They did not rearrange the answer order or copy every question verbatim. Some questions had two right answers, however only one was more correct than the other.

I think I am very fortunate to have an opportunity like this. There are a lot of pilots and flight attendants that go to class with big eyes and huge excitement about being at an airline. For so many of those pilots the shiny jet syndrome kept them from researching day-to-day life. For those who ignore any information about the life on an airline pilot.... they eventually hate the job. I tried to do all the research I could. Learning about schedules, time away from home, stress, and pay. In the end, I definitely made the right choice for myself. This is the kind of stuff that I love to do, and I was able to start with the knowledge of things to come. Going into this industry with limited knowledge about it is very tough on the person. Homesick? Don't fly for the airlines! Need a set schedule to be your most productive? Same thing!!

I can't wait to start flying the SAAB! It is almost surreal at this point!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

First Post

Well, I finally decided to make my own blog. I enjoy flying so much that I worked hard to earn an opportunity to make aviation my career. I hope to join the CHIPs committee within ALPA soon. The CHIPs committee is the Charting and Instrument Procedures committee. They are a part of a several different organizations within the aviation profession that develop instrument approaches among a host of other responsibilities.

This is a short blog entry, but keep checking back as I will update this as frequently as I can.

Safe Skies, and remember to always stay in the books!