Saturday, January 12, 2008

"Do you guys know what you're doing?"

Just a turnaround today. DFW to Boston and back. 8 hours worth.

When we sign in for a trip, the two pilots respective flying time on the MD-80 is displayed on the computer screen. It gives us an idea of what kind of experience we have in the cockpit for that given trip. Today the FO was very senior. So when I signed in, his hours showed up as 11,600. That means he has 11,600 hours in the right seat of the MD-80. I'm pretty close at just under 11,000 hours in the left seat. I also have about 3500 in the right seat as well. So it goes without saying that todays crew was highly experienced. But most of our crews these days are well experienced since we haven't hired any new pilots in years and there hasn't been much movement in the seniority list.

Having said all that, while we were boarding at DFW, this guy stuck his head in the cockpit and said in a very loud voice so everyone around him could hear....

"You guys know what you're doing up there? Can you find Boston today?"

Of course I couldn't say "Just go find your seat and shut up you moron", so I politely said "Welcome aboard sir" and left it at that.

But he got a chuckle out of the others around him so I guess he got what he was after. Our flight attendants reported that he was pretty obnoxious for most of the flight.
The flying weather was great until we reached Albany, New York. Then the ride starting getting bad as we approached a large area of developing thunderstorms that were headed right for the Boston area. Then right on cue, ATC gave us a reroute all the way up to Lebanon, New Hampshire, Portland, Maine, and then down to Boston. And then came the holding instructions. Expect to hold for one hour!

Fortunately the storms were fast moving and the hold didn't last too long. We still had to do some minor deviating on the approach but it all ended up well and the flight was only about 30 minutes late after all. The moron would be glad to know that we indeed had found Boston!

The ground crew did a nice job of getting us turned around and headed west again. Flight time to DFW was just over 4 hours. Today the jet stream was positioned right along our usual route to Texas so we had an unusual routing so as to avoid the jet stream headwinds. From BOS the routing took us to Syracuse, Toronto, Flint, St Louis, Ft Smith and then DFW. It felt like a great circle route.
Smooth skies back to Texas and the Red River with Lake Lavon and Ray Hubbard in the distance is always a welcome sight. It means that we're almost there!

Eight hours in the MD-80 is enough for one day.

For a look at some more of my photos, please aviate over to Plane & Simple.


ProPilots said...

I can't imagine all the comments that you guys up front have to put up with on any given trip. I've never flown the general public around. Nowadays it seems like I see the same 10-15 faces spread out over the year.

26,100 combined hours in the same type of aircraft. That is amazing. Len over the last few years i've averaged 400 hours a year. If I do that for the next 15 years my total time will still only be around the total time that you have in 1 type of aircraft. Wow!

Any idea how many of your folks on furlough have been coming back to the line lately?


Teller said...

I was going to ask how your day in Boston went. Glad to hear it was as crazy as ours! Three times through BOS yesterday...we over-blocked all of them by at least a half an hour. Those were some pretty good storms, wouldn't you say?!

Teller said...

Oh ya, I was going to ask, too...if they had you coming in from PWM, did they hold you out at SCUPP?

Len (Barfbag) said...

Hi Darren,

There's still 2200 of our guys on furlough. Between 30 and 50 are coming back every month. Many of them are still on military leave but I imagine they'll be back someday. Also quite a few of them found better jobs such as with UPS and FedEx.
An airline job isn't as great as it once was.


Len (Barfbag) said...


Kind of surprising to see T-storms in New England in January. At least the tops weren't too high. Only in the 20's. We never made it as far as PWM. We ended up getting vectored all over western Mass and finally held for only a few turns at Gardner before getting released.