Planned and Unplanned Emergencies
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    Sunday
    Mar112012

    Back to work!

    It does seem a long time since my last post - however I have been dealing with a death in the family and all that entails so have been out of the air for quite a while.  As well as the bereavement, I have also had to take the vacation left over from last year - so consequently have done little since New Year!

    However, my simulator recurrent was at the end of February, so that bought me back up to speed, which was a good thing as my first tour back in the air sees me carrying out my company 'line check!'  This was eventful; after airlining into Amsterdam I switched on my phone to find lots of messages advising of a change of plan - one of our other aircraft had gone 'tech' and I was to carry out the recovery flight!  Still, a little bit of stress helps and I quickly prepped the aircraft whilst waiting for the rest of the crew to arrive.  We then carried out a flight to Florence, for a bumpy approach and night landing on a limiting runway! 

    After a good rest in a comfortable bed, we ferried to Barcelona.  Its beautiful weather here and it shows that spring is well established - hopefully no more snow for me!

    Saturday
    Jan212012

    Nice Nice!

    Back flying again after the Christmas and New Year quiet period and we flew into Nice from Madrid Torrejon.  It was good to get back in the air again and as pilot flying I was quite happy with taking off from a huge runway.  I was also looking forward to landing at Nice but as we got closer the weather was not as we expected.  The wind had picked up and was coming off the hills and it was very turbulent on approach, especially when flying at 3000 feet over the sea on the run in.  With warnings of severe turbulence and wind shear on approach we cautiously made our approach for runway 04 past the Cap Antibes.  It WAS bumpy! After fighting the controls all the way down it was a relief to finally touchdown!  I looked back at the passenger to ensure they were okay but he had slept through the whole thing!  So, we packed up the aircraft and went to the hotel - its looks like we will have 2 nights here so there will be time to enjoy ourselves!

    Thursday
    Jan052012

    Christmas Stand-down

    Not much has been happening as we went through Christmas and New Year - so consequently the posts have been few!  I seem to have had a lot of time in hotels waiting to fly, but not doing so, and now I am having a few weeks at home whilst I take all the vacation owing from last year.  I'll be back to update the site soon!

    Thursday
    Nov242011

    Standby Moscow!

    You can always tell winter has arrived in Europe by going to Moscow! Even though the UK is still mild (suggesting Autumn), Moscow is -5 degrees celcius!  So, I need to remember to pack a hat and gloves because after we arrived yesterday I nearly got frostbite from trying to put the engine covers on!  Flying in the cold is no problem, but the work starts after you have landed - we had to pack up all the drinks from the aircraft and put them in a warm room so they don't freeze, and we do the same with the chocolate too!  Then the aircraft water systems have to be completely drained so the pipes don't burst, which includes the toilet.  Then all the covers go on outside, so snow doesn't get into anywhere it shouldn't.  So, after landing, it's a good hour before you can be on your way to the hotel.  And in Moscow, that means joining the traffic jam and spending one and a half hours in a taxi to the hotel!  Thankfully, we have a days standby here before we fly back to warmer climes.  Hopefully, the aircraft will still be working when we return to it!!

    Monday
    Nov142011

    Flying Again!

    After my last post, and spending the day in Basel relaxing in the hotel, I did get called to perform a couple of flights!  Firstly, we ferried to Geneva but we were late off because the refuellers seemed to be suffering from 'weekend-itus', which meant that it took an age for them to arrive and even longer before they worked out how we could pay for the fuel!  Still, we eventually got off and climbed above the low cloud that seemed to be covering the country.  It was good to see blue again after a few days under the gloomy skies.  We broke cloud at about 500 feet on the approach to Geneva, and a leisurely turnround saw us enroute to Paris with passengers.  It was the easterly approach into a CAVOK Paris Le Bourget, at night, so we had a great view of 'Paris by night' as we flew at relatively low level past the Eiffel Tower.  My first night landing in a long time was very smooth, which is very unlike me so something must have gone wrong!  That's it for this tour - I have my airline home already booked!  Next tour in a week, and judging by the way the temperature is starting to drop over Europe, real winter operations will be starting soon!