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.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Way of the World

Flying in the North has been great. I love the cooler temperatures during these past few weeks. The only thing that I don't like is how hectic my schedule has been during IOE. The schedule will be much easier once I get on reserve because I won't have so many back-to-back reduced rest periods. I have a few days off right now because of two reasons... One is that I have hit my limit of 30 hours within 7 consecutive days. There were days where I was pretty tired, but I made sure to go and work out in some way. Staying active is very helpful for days of long flights and quick turns.

My line check is scheduled for the 9th on a flight from Boston to Augusta Main and back. I have 30 hours of IOE, and only need 35 total. To finish up those last few hours I have an overnight that I am going to be doing in Binghamton (KBGM) on the 7th. The next day I wake up at oh dark thirty (4:00am) to make a 5:00am show time. We fly back from Binghamton, and everyone else is done but me. I fly two more legs going to Allentown (KABE)and back finishing at 3:30pm. The next day I take a "limo" to Washington Regan airport (KDCA), and catch a flight to Boston so that I can complete my line check at 11:00am. Once I complete my line check, I will be all finished with my training and on my way to find a small efficiency apartment in the Houston area. I will be semi-commuting while I sit on reserve. I will come home when I can, but when I have early morning flights or several days in a row with tight schedules then I will at least be able to make sure that I have a place to sleep and remain well rested for each day. Once I am able to hold a line then commuting will be much easier. There are about 8 direct flights a day between Houston and Little Rock. As a result, when I hold a line I will definitely be able to commute much more easily. With all of the overnights that are done in the Houston system it will also be easy to commute and have limited expenses while doing that.

You know how pilot's can go years and years without ever having any kind of problem occur? I think with these SAAB's the saying is that you can go days and days without a problem. On one of my legs we had a master warning, then on another the prop sync didn't , and another the autopilot switch (electromagnet) lost it's magnetic field. Also had some problems on another flight with the PGB oil pressure. It looked like it was one of the old paddle wheel transducer type of sensors that was running the gauge .

I am almost all finished though. I am on my way home for one day before I come back up to Dulles again. I have a huge layover here in Charlotte, NC. When I get back, I have a fun but red-eye kind of schedule. I do a Binghamton run with an overnight there (basically a stand-up, or high speed as some guys call them). Gotta be up at 4am for a 5am show time, and then off to a 6am flight.... but, since I'm finishing IOE I keep going on an Allentown run and one other leg before I finish at 8pm that night. They give me the next day off, but conveniently I have a 6am flight to Boston scheduled to take me up to Boston for my line check. I get to make a round-trip flight from Boston to Augusta.

At least this time I come back on the 6th and travel home on the 10th. Right now I have three days off because of my 30 hrs in 7 days limit, and we are so understaffed with Captains in Dulles that the checkairmen are full with getting the upgrades their 50hrs of IOE and getting the Fed rides done.

I did get to do my first visual approach yesterday. They are fun, but definitely a challenge. You get used to flying a pattern at 120kts and slowing to 80 or so on final. This plane we are usually slowing through 200kts on downwind and just keep the throttles at flight idle as we work our way down to Vfa. Judging the point to start down is a bit trickier too, because with the extra speed there is a tendency to be just behind the plane enough that you are 3 whites on final. The nice part about the SAAB is that the 11ft props do a great job of pouring the drag on. My visual approach was pretty good, my checkairmen didn't say a word to me.... and his critique was that being close to the end of IOE I handled it just like he would expect.... but he told me to be a bit more confident in myself and to relax . The relax part is easy, but I think until I get done with "firsts" and start getting into the "experienced" bracket I may second guess myself for a bit. That seems normal from my past experiences with most things.... you just need to get a few things under your belt before you really get into a groove.
I am having a blast up here at Dulles! The SAAB lands so much different from anything else I've ever flown. Take out the speed and "feel" differences of the Cessna's and other models I flew, and as far as sight picture and pitch requirements for landing go.... it is way different. The pitch attitude looks like a low pass... in a G/A tric gear plane, if you used the same pitch attitude it would look like you were going to wheelbarrow the nose. After you touch down, though, you can tell that it takes a few seconds for the nose to touch.... when it looked otherwise until that point. All of my landings have been something I have been doing well with. My checkairman told me that I am squared away with those and that he and the previous checkairman gave me 1's for them. We get graded on a daily basis. 1-3 is the scale system they use, where 1 means proficient, 2 means requires additional training but has normal progress, and 3 means you need more training but lack normal progress. There isn't any sugar coating, but they don't bull$hit you with your progress... No harsh words or anything demeaning, they work more like the military... The checkairmen will say you are squared away or you don't meet the standards. No extraneous stuff... probably to just limit their liability in case someone accidentally says something that walks the line.

My last landing of the day at Allentown was kind of a plop, LOL. The two prop systems we have on our planes actually do cause performance differences as far as power reductions go. One drops quick when you pull the power lever and the other will keep coasting on in. No one ever mentioned that in ground school, but the class was taught by someone who never flew a SAAB.

This part of the world is beautiful .... We did have to pick our way around buildups this afternoon. That is definitely different than G/A flying, because we keep it tight to the cloud. In G/A you try to get some distance between yourself and a cell or TCU. I do have my line check on Tuesday... that is where you fly a normal day (in my case several legs and not just one out-and-back), and after the checkairman is satisfied with my performance then I get signed off as having all my training completed and I can begin normal ops at my base. I'm looking forward to it. You all have a great evening.