Planned and Unplanned Emergencies
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    Saturday
    Nov122011

    Ground Happy?

    Sonce my last post, I have flown....twice!  I did manage to get a flight from Moscow, bringing passengers to Paris which was a pleasant trip.  Since then I conducted a flight from Madeira to the UK, but that is it.  The rest of the time inbetween has been spent either off duty or doing some 'safety teaching' at the company headquarters.  At the moment, I have just come from there and I am sitting on standby in the Airport Hotel at Basel.  Our planned flight this morning was cancelled by the passenger, so we are waiting to see what the company will come up with next.  It is fairly certain we won't get to fly today, but I am hopeful that they can come up with a plan for tomorrow.  In the meantime, I can add some more content to the side tabs - checkout 'First Aid Oxygen' where I will be writing about the Puritan Bennet bottle.

    Monday
    Oct102011

    Moscow Madness!

    So, there I was, sitting at home on Day one of a six day tour on standby with nothing much on the horizon, when the phone goes and I am called out to go to Moscow!  Great, I think, at least some flying!  However, after airlining through Frankfurt and landing at UUDD after midnight to be met by a wall of people trying to get through the new electronic immigration control the airport now has, and after the long drive through pouring rain to the hotel, it would appear that I will be on standby for a few days!  Its raining constantly so not much to see out walking, and there is only a very limited gym, so it looks like I will go mad slowly.  The only bright point is that the rest of the crew have arrived and we have arranged to eat for dinner tonight.  Joy!

    Wednesday
    Sep212011

    Madeira LPMA

    We flew some passengers into Madeira yesterday morning and got to stay the whole day before flying them home again late evening.  I have been to Madeira three times now and it never ceases to amaze me!  Not for the stunning view on approach, but for many ways that the island will try to kill you!!  Looking in the Jepps, you will see that if your aircraft has more than 10 seats then you have to complete a full simulator training course and carry out famil training at the airport itself.  However, as we only have 10 seats, we can just go in with no training or briefing!  The reason for all the training requirements is that the runway is on stilts, and is set right next to the mountain, and has a curving approach to final, and has severe downdraughts and windshear!  It's like landing on a carrier!  And the take off at night was tricky too - once at 300' you have to turn right immediately to avoid the mountain, and that takes you away from all your visual cues into a black hole!  It's not as if you can divert to anywhere else either, as that puts you on a different island with grumpy passengers!

    But it is a great place to visit, providing the wind is calm and the weather is nice!

    Thursday
    Sep082011

    Zurich rest home for pilots!

    On day 2 of a nice, relaxing tour - just one flight from Biggin Hill to Paris yesterday.  I say relaxing, but we did have a small fault to work through in the short flight.  The 'pitch feel' cation came on just after takeoff and although it was not a big deal it did mean we were limited in what speed we could fly.  Luckily we had no passengers to take care of, but it meant that the Flight Attendant had to stay seated, so we couldn't have any coffee!  On landing,  I did find that when the autopilot came out on approach the controls were a little stiff, so I presume the 'feel' unit failed towards the high speed position.

    Day 2 is starting to be a very relaxed day as well.  A reasonably early flight to Zurich and then we wait for 6 hours before going to Munich.  Very short flights today, which I don't mind but it does seem a waste for a jet like the Falcon 2000 EX EASy.  The 6 hours we have are being spent in the pilots lounge - I'm typing quietly as there are quite a few crews here from different companies and most of the pilots are asleep!  It looks like a rest home!  Most of them are just here for the day like us, and taking passengers out this evening.  I may join them for a snooze a little later!

    Monday
    Aug292011

    Post Vacation!

    And so I'm back at work!  It does feel good to be flying again but I do feel a bit blunt!  It seems like ages since I have been in the air, as before vacation I was in the simulator and after vacation I was teaching some safety equipment recurrent courses.  Its been a good tour though, with plenty of flying and all good weather!  We started in Geneva where we picked the aircraft up and flew to Athens empty, which is a good thing because strong winds gave us a rough ride on the way in!  We picked up the passengers and flew them to Cannes - I love the approach into Cannes as you actually get to fly it instead of the autopilot, and it can be challenging.  Also had a fantastic meal out on the tip that we received! We stayed the night there before taking going to Eindhoven and then on to Le Havre for the night - another great meal was had, but the weather was a bit cooler after what we had experienced in Geneva, Athens and Cannes!  From Le Havre we had our busy day - four flights taking us back to Geneva, then to Calabria in southern Italy, on to Milan Linate and finally ending up in Barcelona!  This was to be our last day, so we shared some tapas and wine in a restaurant just down from the hotel and woke up this morning to find the hotel was right on the beach!  I am finishing a day early, with an airline home in the late afternoon, which allows me some beach time!  I love my job!