View Full Version : Airline life = major fatigue. Use caution, chaps.

20th Aug 2010, 21:24
Hello Chappies! Henri here. http://www.avcanada.ca/forums2/images/smilies/icon_biggrin.gif Some of you on here might not have heard of me, but not to worry: I don't take it personally! What do I do? Three words: Live. The. Dream.! http://www.avcanada.ca/forums2/images/smilies/icon_cool.gif I’ve been driving some pretty big iron around the skies, which, although incredibly impressive to the ladies, can have one major drawback: major fatigue. My counterparts at outfits like Cathay and Emirates do not exaggerate my friends; airline pilots can really suffer from jet lag. My sched is absolutely brutal! On my last day off, there I was, sitting at the kitchen table decked out in full uniform reading aloud to Mr. Stitches, (my aging tabby) the woes of my latest scheduling nightmare. Mr. S crunched his kibble with increasing rage as I explained the ineptitude of the crew scheduling department. After departing Toronto on day one, they had us overnighting in the ATLANTIC timezone, then two days later ending up in Winnipeg to suffer in the CENTRAL timezone! For those of you not keeping track, that is a punishing swing of an hour each way with only a paltry 18 hour overnight in each place to recoup! Outraged and shaking with controlled fury, I soothed Stitches as he jumped into my lap. I looked like a blond Blofeld! http://www.avcanada.ca/forums2/images/smilies/icon_eek.gif

Two days later, I felt well rested as I reported for check-in. My newly tapered dress pants clung snugly to my lower legs, showing off the extensive calf raise time logged at the gym. The polyester snapped smartly across my posterior and my buttocks twitched and jumped behind me as I strode with pride into the crewroom. I placed my hands on my hips and scanned the crowded room with a critical eye. Where was my Taxiing-Specialist? (That’s my little pet name for my Captains. They love it!) A few hotties distracted me, and I nodded and winked at a few of them. They swooned and fluttered away. I felt this was as good a time as any to fluff the mullet, and almost dislocated my neck as I swung it way low, up and behind me in a huge golden arc. I looked like a French-Canadian version of Dog the Bounty Hunter—sans feathers. Nice! http://www.avcanada.ca/forums2/images/smilies/icon_razz.gif

Before long a Taxiing-Specialist found me and told me we were flying together to Halifax. Whatever. I briefed him on my expectations, and instructed him to meet me at the gate. With that job done, it was coffee time! I spun on my heels, grabbed my flight bag and patted my hat down firmly on my head. The mullet obediently conceded and puffed up underneath, holding my lid positively in place. My pants seam strained under the torque of the maneuver, and for a second I thought there might be a fabric failure, but she held together just fine. No worries! Behind me some colleagues laughed loudly at what was probably some inside airline joke. Chuckle away, mates! Take note here, rooks: there’s always time for a giggle when you’re flying for the bigs! http://www.avcanada.ca/forums2/images/smilies/icon_lol.gif

About an hour later I was waiting a bit impatiently in line behind the last of the boarding passengers. The large latte was absolutely delicious, and I was just licking the last of the raspberry scone off my fingers when the In-Charge and I came face to face at the door. “Where the hell have you been?” she hissed, with a look of genuine concern. I put my finger to her lips and whispered: “Shhhhhh, cherie. I’ve been here--(touching my heart)—all along.” Maintaining smoldering eye contact, I slowly swept away my latte mustache with my other hand and winked at her as I donned the Raybans and strode into the flight deck. Show-time!

After fielding some gentle interrogation as to my whereabouts, me and the Skip got along just fine, and we took care of some mundane checklists before we got going. He didn’t look all that impressive, and I wasn’t sure how many times he had flown near major oceans, so I told him I’d take the first leg. A few minutes later, I muscled the mighty Dash 8 skyward and thundered off into the evening sky. My favourite part of the flight is just after 10,000 feet when you can really kick back, fellows. That’s about the time I take my shoes and tie off, rotate the seatback firmly aft into the CB’s and snap the Toronto Star open to the funnies. Conserve that energy, lads! The autopilot will run the show, and failing that you’ve got a partner to catch all your little boo-boos. Little thing called CRM, kids. http://www.avcanada.ca/forums2/images/smilies/icon_wink.gif

Once the mighty 8 levels off, I like to bark a few orders before settling down and letting my partner relax a bit. I usually start off with some idle chit-chat about when they plan to retire, and make a big show of pulling out the pilot list and highlighting their name. Then I look at them for a bit too long, nod and smile knowingly. Keep ‘em on their toes, boys! http://www.avcanada.ca/forums2/images/smilies/icon_lol.gif

I tell you, seeing the country from the vantage point of the right seat of a massive turboprop is a pretty incredible lifestyle, chappies. Get those deviations approved by centre and roll her left and right around those nasty strata clouds. Jump all over those hoodlums transmitting on guard—there is just no place for that in modern society.

Having said that, this long-haul stuff all the way out to the East coast takes its toll on me. By the time we reached the TOD, I was yawning violently and had to tap out, handing the stick to my winger as I curled up neatly in my chair for a little controlled rest. With my mane draped neatly across my shoulders and just my bare feet poking out from underneath, I’m sure I looked pretty relaxed and confident in my partner’s abilities to get us down safely. In reality, nothing could have been further from the truth. Unbeknownst to him, under a strategically-placed lock of golden blond hair, I had an eagle eye trained on the ADI for most of the descent until mercifully I finally nodded off just inside the IF. Constant vigilance most of the time is the key to longevity in this game, chaps. You don’t get to where I am from being complacent. http://www.avcanada.ca/forums2/images/smilies/icon_smile.gif

I woke up fully refreshed at the gate, and recovered instantly, rattling off the parking checklist from memory with lightning speed. Donning my shoes and tie, I headed for the flight deck door and threw it open wide to sign some inflight magazines for the peeps.

The layover in Halifax was a riot, as always. I brought the house down with my Roch Voisine imitation on Karaoke night, and insisted on piggybacking the Skip home from the pub as he looked pretty frail and weak to me. At one point he screamed in terror from a near CFIT as I got going a bit too fast down a flight of stairs, but the mighty quads held up as I flexed and roared my way through the empty Halifax streets well after closing time. http://www.avcanada.ca/forums2/images/smilies/icon_eek.gif

The next day was a bit of a blur, a veritable groundhog day of repeated takeoffs, landings, lattes and moments of hysterical laughter as I would play hilarious jokes on the Skippy such as cup-a-farting him during every PA. Throughout the day, I regaled him with my tales of conquests and past loves, unselfishly allowing him to live vicariously through me.

It was only when we were 50 miles away from Winnipeg when the true enormity of the task ahead of us presented itself. The ATIS told the ugly story. Rain showers ahead. Water on runway. 11 knots of wind, and it was not down the pipe, folks. Double-digit crosswind time for the logbook. I had allowed myself to relax on the long flight over, but now I put my shirt back on, along with my game face. I bumped Skippy’s hand off the power, and announced who had control. The mullet vanished up underneath my hat as the true professional emerged, epaulettes gleaming in the light of the sun. A lone toothpick scurried from one side of my mouth to the other below the unblinking stare of the RayBan’s.

“Come to papa…..” I muttered under my minty breath.

“Sorry, did you say something?”. The Skip was asking.

“Never mind.” There just wasn’t time to explain. My teeth squeaked and groaned as I mashed them together. A sulphury smell of fear suddenly enveloped the cockpit, causing Skip to gag and clutch for the wee-mac. http://www.avcanada.ca/forums2/images/smilies/icon_lol.gif

Chaps, when you are faced with water on that runway, drive her on. Get those wheels through that water, then get on the binders at all costs. On a short runway like 31 in YWG, there is zero room for error. My technique on the day in question was to play it safe; chop that power at 50 feet to make no mistake, blokes. It worked like a charm: the Dash plopped from the sky like an electrocuted pigeon, marking its arrival on the 500, 1000 and 1500 foot markers before groaning to a stop. My enormous calves screamed in protest as I drove the brake pedals to the floor, and my triceps flexed impressively as I held the reverse levers in place till we hit about 5 knots going backwards. Better safe than sorry, lads, am I right? http://www.avcanada.ca/forums2/images/smilies/icon_question.gif

Later, as I stood akimbo in the doorway beaming at the gate, it was pretty obvious from the shaking heads that everyone was impressed. Luckily I had signed a lot of inflight rags in advance, and thrust them into the hands of the relieved passengers. ( There you go, son. You’re welcome.)

The Winnipeg layover? Well, that my friends was the stuff of legends. Despite the deafening roar of the jetlag, I was able to overcome my confused internal clock, and danced furiously until finally succumbing to a catastrophic trouser failure around 2 am. http://www.avcanada.ca/forums2/images/smilies/icon_confused.gif Strutting around the bar in my tank top and T-bar was not approved by the management, so with a respectful nod from the bouncer it was off to the streets for me and the Skip once more. Understandably, given the little clothing I had left, Skippy didn’t feel comfortable jumping on my back again, so we strolled home side by side and arm in arm, two hardy airborne warriors singing loudly in the tongue of la belle province. Vive La Quebec! http://www.avcanada.ca/forums2/images/smilies/icon_eyes.gif

Till next time,
Stay safe up there, chaps!


20th Aug 2010, 23:49
Brilliant! This should be on R&N - show those guys how it should be done.

Loose rivets
21st Aug 2010, 04:54
You've obviously got what it takes, you should call 411A, see if he's got a job on the 1011 for you. I think you two would get on well.:}

21st Aug 2010, 05:46
I can assure you all, I actually laughed out loud at this. Positively brilliant, please tell me theres going to be more exploits from Henri?!

21st Aug 2010, 06:02
Did I miss the part where our hero asked his Skip what was taking him so long to finish his Sudoku.

Neptunus Rex
21st Aug 2010, 06:08
Wow! Captain Toss Parker has some serious competition here, and from a Francophone colonial.

+200 No Flags
21st Aug 2010, 12:14
Truly marvellous reading!!

21st Aug 2010, 12:50
Nice writing, Henri (?!) :D

bugg smasher
21st Aug 2010, 13:53
Great stuff Henri, when can we expect the next installment?

Gentleman Jim
21st Aug 2010, 13:57
A star is born!

22nd Aug 2010, 01:14
But Henri - just promise you won't turn it into a book and sell it on here...


22nd Aug 2010, 01:50
Henri, you are my hero!!!!! I want to be just like you one day! Ray Bans and all!

22nd Aug 2010, 03:04
Well done Henri. In the future make sure to apply that Winnipeg arrival at North Bay. :E

green granite
22nd Aug 2010, 06:29
Well writ indeed, can we be treated to your entire career? :ok:

22nd Aug 2010, 07:02
Henri - if that is 'yours' it is brilliant. If it is 'copied' I have not seen it before and it is brilliant.

I want more.

23rd Aug 2010, 11:14
Stay safe up there, chaps!:D:D
All the Moms & Dads who have mortaged themselves 4 their little ones to get a great profession applaud:D:D:D U
We will all sleep a little better knowing that it has all been worth it.:ok:
Nah... I don't mean your exploits..
I just mean that we are so grateful that you can spell GOOD
and express yourself so eloquently. Who wouldathought:confused:
Can't wait to hear more.