Monday, July 22, 2013

Appreciate the forgettable flight

I was reading this article called The Demise of the Airline Pilot and it got me thinking about a couple of things. I understand that the industry is not as glamorous as it used to be, no, not even close. It's a race to the bottom and it's unfortunate to say that we haven't even reached it yet.

But a couple of lines caught my attention.

Applause for landings is appreciated in this beleaguered profession but it sometimes underscores the frustrating fact that few appreciate all that goes into making the rest of one’s flight so forgettable.

It's so true. So much of the flying public applause after a greaser or reaching smooth air after a bumpy ride. No one seems to appreciate the forgettable flights. It takes every bit of the pilot's competency to make the flight seem like a walk in the park. A forgettable flight just like any other. Forgettable flights are the safest, and has the best pilots flying it.

While Schiff Senior concludes that he cannot recommend the pilot profession any longer, he conceded that “Coping with the challenges of weather, communing with nature in a way only pilots can appreciate, and maneuvering a sophisticated aircraft from one place on Earth to another remains a stimulating and gratifying endeavor. It is the price one must pay to get there that is so discouraging.

It's incomparable to anything you've ever experienced. Freedom and responsibility mixture is the greatest, most gratifying feeling. Only pilots with a passion for flying can ever appreciate this nature of this beast. The problem is that getting there, yet still not impossible, has gotten harder and harder to accomplish financially. 

I only wish for one thing, every once in a while, for the flying public to truly understand and appreciate what goes into making this profession and passion, our life.

Gear...2 greens?

Getting called that I needed to prepare the aircraft for immediate -ish departure was somewhat exhilarating. Certainly more so than what I was currently doing at the time. Grooming. Ick I despise that aspect of the job that's for damn sure.

So I quickly look at the essentials first: hours, deferred and past defects, oil on both engines, tires and do a quick inspection of everything else. 
Everyone else comes through the door and by that time I have changed into my pilot shirt and tie, a real tie not those pretentious clip-on ties. 
There's four aircraft in total flying North. Fire evacuations have been started and half of our fleet is dispatched. Hurray for some night flying. 

We get there at midnight and after the UNorganized chaos of rushing passengers and designating airplanes for them. We fuel and load up, start up and taxi out. Takeoff and back home we go. 
The most eventful part of the return leg was the fact that I tried to kill all the mosquitoes that checked into our airplane before I get 100 bites in the 2 hours and change of a flight. 

Drop them off and return to base. It's 3:30am by that time and we're all ready to go home.

Gear down landing checks. I go through the the checklist. Gear...NOT 3 green. Great just what we needed; Neither of us said that aloud but I'm sure we were both thinking it. He gave me control and troubleshooted the problem. I orbited on top of the airport at circuit altitude, good thing towers closed now. 

Tried switching bulbs, no joy. 
Tried recycling gear, no luck amigo. 
Tried emergency pump, nothing. 
Gear handle snapback suggests Hydraulic pressure is good. 
Tried pulling g's to lock left main gear to place, still 2 greens. 

Luckily, 3 of the other pilots were still on the ground so we tried our best to do a low pass and check it out. All three agreed that it looks good. 

He takes control back for landing and i get ready on the mixtures and other stuff in case it collapses. Land taxi shutdown normally. Thank geebus. 

Nothing like a gear problem to wake you up at 4am. 

Another day, livin' the dream....