Friday, December 25, 2015

a Flying Update

I have been told that my blog doesn't have any recent flying updates on it.  This is a terrible state of affairs.  I've now been in the left seat for six months, and it's beginning to feel normal.  I did my first recurrent sim about a month ago, although it wasn't really a normal sim.  Over the last few months we have been transitioning to a different AOC (Air Operators Certificate) which involved an Entry Proficiency Check into the new company's training program.  So my first recurrent check was actually an initial check.  

Just to make it a little more complicated, we had to change all of our SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) at the same time, and familiarise ourselves with multiple new manuals and checklists, even though we are still flying the exact same aircraft.  First we had a week's ground school, then two days in the sim, then two days' line training, topped off with a line check.  

Now about a month in to the new procedures I think I've worked most of them out - although I still lapse on the phraseology occasionally! 

My flying schedule seems to be all over the place at the moment : no two duties are the same, with random flights tacked on to the front and back of overnights and sometimes none at all.  I'm making some easy extra money working days off, as crewing seems to be very disorganised.  I find it hard to understand why they need to call people in when they have other pilots either just passing or operating one sector in an entire day!  (Ours is not to reason why, etc.)

Kurt is going away for two weeks in February on a boys' trip to Japan snowboarding, like he did last year, so I've applied last minute for a week's leave during that time so that I can a) be home to take care of Lily and b) just have a week doing nothing!  (Beach, anyone?)

In general, it's pretty good being a Captain now - and although occasionally I do have trouble with FOs, most of them are great.  There is one in particular who goes out of his way to make things difficult, which can be quite hard to deal with.  He thinks he knows much more than I do, (maybe he does!) and likes to voice his opinion on this even when it is not related to flying - I think his favourite phrase is 'well actually...'

However, thankfully this is not the norm, and most people are pretty chilled.  I've only had a couple of minor abnormal situations and plan to keep it that way!  Last week I had a pressurisation issue (it's OK Mum, it wasn't a big deal) - and Kurt happened to be at work at the time - and it was a bit weird knowing that he was following everything that was going on from the other side!

Kurt is finding Air Traffic Control quite uninspiring.  He now holds all the ratings for his group and is therefore doing shift work.  It is quite hard because he will do lates, earlies and full night shifts in succession which means his body clock is permanently messed up, and getting enough sleep becomes difficult.  Even napping for a couple of hours either side of a shift doesn't make up for being up all night.

Add to that my doing opposing shifts and sometimes we hardly see each other.  We were lucky enough to be off on Christmas Day, although he didn't finish work until 5am which meant he was pretty exhausted all day.  I am back at work now (Boxing Day) and currently sitting in the cruise, writing a blog update to stave off the boredom!  

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