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A Day in the life of a "Lo-Co" Pilot ...

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A Day in the life of a "Lo-Co" Pilot ...

Old 27th May 2006, 16:39
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A Day in the life of a "Lo-Co" Pilot ...

Have performed a search, but couldn't find a thread about a day in the life of a pilot from a Locost carrier in the UK. Perhaps Easyjet or Thompson Fly etc etc ...

I know there isn't a typical day, but if anyone could find the time to write about their last shift, it would be great reading !


Cheers
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Old 27th May 2006, 17:51
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Reported for work 16:55z at Manchester to operate MAN-AGP-MAN, back on chocks at 01:15.

Nothing unusual, S/O already there with the weather/ notams and OFPs already printed off. Synchronised my laptop with the company server to get any updates to the manuals and T/O performance (all done on the laptop). Met the cabin crew briefly before they went down to the gate leaving us to finish our flight planning.

Chatted with the Base Captain over a coffee and decided on a fuel figure wihich the S/O called through to Servisair and the fuellers.

Left the crewroom at STD-35 and went to the gate, boarded and then, as PF I conducted the pre-flight cockpit set-up whilst the S/O did the walkaround. During this I noticed the REVERSER overhead light on for the No.2 engine. Quick call to get the engineer back whilst I continued with the set-up, the S/O joining me and boarding beginning.

Engineer arrived and started the maintenance procedure for us to dispatch under the MEL with a reverser locked out. This took some considerable time for them to accomplish, during which I briefed the IFS (Inflight Supervisor, or No.1 to those of us a little older!), made a PA to the pax to advise them of the delay (due to a routine maintenance procedure which the engineers needed to complete before we could depart). Finished all our pre-departure duties including briefing and loadsheet/ performance and then waited for the engineers to finish off. Departed 50 minutes late (having telephoned Ops a number of times to ensure our flight plan stayed in the system with suitable delays).

Uneventful flight until 13,000' in the descent when we got a 'AFT ENTRY DOOR' Master Caution. Carried out the QRH which basically requires you to check that the door is shut and that cabin pressure is as expected. Light extinguished as we passed through 8000'. Landed RWY32 on a lovely cavok evening.

Scheduled a 1hr turnaround, which turned out to be well needed. Phone call once shut down, to Maintrol regarding the door and another minor problem, which they said they would call me back about having checked the maintenance manual. Aircraft cleaning and fuelling completed and boarding started. Shortly after boarding had completed the IFS came up to the flightdeck to advise me of a disruptive pax who smelt of booze and who had verbally abused both a member of cabin crew and two other pax, threatening physical violence against them when we landed in Manchester just because the two preferred to continue reading their books rather than engage in conversation with him. IFS visibly shaking. Asked her to seperate them (we weren't full), which they had already done, but now the two 'victims' were petrified of the repurcussions in Manchester and wanted something to be done. After gathering all the 'evidence', it became clear that we had witnesses to the verbal abuse and threats and that was enough for me to decide (after consultation with my S/O) that we would not be carrying this person.

Asked the agent to call the police to attend as this guy appeared to be calm, but had already threatened physical violence. I explained that he would be offloaded, but needed a Police presence before I confronted him. IFS advised me of her personal difficulty dealing with this as she was still in councelling after being attacked on an IBZ flight recently. Re-assured her and got her to sit in the flightdeck for a few minutes to calm herself whilst I dealt with things. Asked the agent to find the bags of the offender and his partner (whom I guessed would want to get off to remain with her 'man' once I had got him off.) Got the S/O to do all the PF anf PNF pre-flight duties as far as he could whilst I dealt with the problems. Maintrol sorted the technical difficulties, but still no sign of Police or bags. PA to pax regarding delay, advised of a 'baggage problem' requiring us to locate a couple of bags which the agents were doing (didn't want to alarm them over the disruptive pax just yet). Spoke personally to the two 'victims' who had been re-seated at the front of the a/c. They were both consultant surgeons and were pretty 'shaky' from their experience. I advised them that we would be offloading the offender, but they were still very concerned about possible repercussions from his 'friends' who were still onboard. I commented that I could do little about them as they had not done anything, but advised them that I could get the Manchester Airport Police to meet the aircraft and escort them (the surgeons) through to baggage reclaim and beyond. This calmed them. Advised the IFS to offer them complimentary drinks once inflight. Another two pax PAs before the police arrived. They spoke no English, I speak very little Spanish and the agent spoke pigeon English. They wanted ALL the pax off to escort this man off! I suggested that I get him off and asked that if he kicked off would they support me, which they agreed to.

Confronted said pax and advised him that he had been refused carriage. He 'swore on his mother's life' that he had done nothing wrong, and then claimed that one of the 'victims' had 'touched his leg'. I told him he could take this up with the company, but unfortunately he would not be travelling on this aircraft. He very compliantly got up and walked off into the custody of the handling agent.

As predicted, his girlfriend decided to join him after a couple of minutes. Still no sign of the bags due to the check-in agents sticking all the party's baggage receipts to one ticket.

Another PA to the pax explaining in a little more detail about the baggage discrepancy and the reason why the bags needed to be taken off. IFS re-assured and her welfare checked to ensure she was happy to fly, which she was. S/O still liasing with Ops regarding keeping our flight plan in. Phone call to Duty Manager to advise of problem and to ask him to set up the police in Manchester. Bags found. Doors closed, time for pushback. One minute of calming and checking everything was up to date and a review to ensure we had not missed anything.

S/O flying, take off runway 32. Briefed to forget about what had happened on turnaround and to concentrate on the job in hand....we could talk about it once in the cruise.

Uneventful return sector apart from the amount of time I had to spend writing out reports, including an Air Safety Report (which I won't go into here).

Arrived at Manchester, landed 24R and taxied in. Shutdown and could see the police waiting on the bridge. Finished the shutdown checks and went out onto the bridge to explain the problem and asked them to accompany the 'nervous pax' through the airport, which they agreed to.

Went back on board, finished up, spoke to the engineers and returned to the crewroom to fax the various reports and to follow up the crew welfare issue with the IFS, who assured me she was ok to drive home herself.

Left the crewroom one hour late. Home to bed. Following a few hours sleep emailed the Base Manager woth a few more details and then phoned the Cabin Crew Management to ensure the IFS got some follow-up support.

So you can see, the flying was a minor part of that shift. Let's hope tomorrow is quieter!

PP
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Old 27th May 2006, 19:24
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What a read on this miserable day in London

Nice one Pilot Pete
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Old 28th May 2006, 12:53
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Great post, many positive aspects regarding CRM coming through, and why each working day is so different.
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Old 28th May 2006, 16:52
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A Day in the life of a "Lo-Co" Pilot ...

oh now i get it. i thought he was taking the piss out of us Copilots
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Old 29th May 2006, 12:55
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You won't believe my next flight, last night.....just as eventful!

Here's hoping tomorrow is calmer......

PP
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Old 29th May 2006, 13:06
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PP,
Go on then - you have an audience around the globe whose breath is bated....
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Old 29th May 2006, 13:36
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Originally Posted by Curious Pax
PP,
Go on then - you have an audience around the globe whose breath is bated....
Im off to get some pop corn, goo on pilot pete
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Old 29th May 2006, 13:57
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It wasn't meant as a fish for an audience, just that I couldn't believe it myself!

Same scenario, same airport, this time destined for Monastir. Arrived 15 minutes before report to again meet the F/O who was very keen and had everything printed off.

I'd checked the flightplans myself earlier in the day (bored and surfing!) and a few minutes of reading confirmed that nothing much had changed. Tankering sector, so fuel decision was based on how much tankering fuel rather than do we need anything above minimum. Met the IFS who sounded 'croaky' and who looked washed out. She had been on Airport Standby at another airport since 09:10z (my report was 14:25z) and confirmed that she thought she was coming down with something but was happy to operate when I enquired about her fitness to fly. There was a quiery about her hours, so the F/O dug out the tables and did a quick calculation. She was 'in' by 10 minutes. Sad for her, but true.

Went to the gate and boarded, me as PNF outbound doing the walkaround and the F/O setting up the F/D. Lack of communication from the dispatcher (we saw him once and he didn't venture into the F/D). CC informed me that at STD-20 we still hadn't got catering and the toilets hadn't been serviced, the cleaners claiming it was a technical problem with the toilets, the engineer sitting in the flightdeck stating that they 'need fooking emptying!'

Boarding delayed as the catering really needed to be on first. I venture out to 'find' the dispatcher, who is on the bridge. I ask him to chase up the honey waggon, which he informs me is 'here now'. Catering arrives. I go back to the flight deck and continue with pre-flight, the toilet waggon is NOT there. My operations call me and advise of a slot at 15:40, looks unlikely that we will make it, but we leave it as is for now, hoping that boarding will go smoothly and we might just make the '+10 minutes' on the slot. Boarding starts and eventually finishes. Toilet servicing eventually happens, the driver apparently 'forgot'!! Documentation ready, all briefed, T/O performance completed and ready to go. Just waiting for the agent who eventually comes on. I give a little 'chat' about lack of performance from the agents, lack of communications, mis-information etc etc etc to a young lad with a 'chip' who reminds me of Vicky Pollard......."yeah, but no, but...." No, just listen, we can all make excuses, but what we pay you for is proactive dispatching, and problem solving, not blame. I don't mind when things go wrong, but I do mind when I am not told or told wrong info. We push back.

Engines started, taxy clearance given and the F/Os ASI is 'cycling' up and down like a swingboat after transfer of electrical power from the APU to the Engine Generators. We have started taxying as it often does a 'cyle' like this before reading correctly. 30 seconds later and it is still the same. We call Ground and ask to 'park' with the engines running whilst we fault rectify. I take the radio, F/O calls the engineers on the company frequency. We reset circuit breakers and try swapping the power source a few times to no avail. I make a PA explaining we have a small 'instrumentation' problem which we are trying to rectify with the help of our engineers and apologise for the delay.

Nothing worked so we negotiate a return to stand. I make another PA whilst we are waiting on some other traffic, explaining that the engineers were unable to fix the problem without getting onto the aeroplane and it's a flight safety issue and flight safety is our number one priority blah, blah, blah. We shutdown and get the bridge on. The engineers board and start doing 'their thing'. The IFS comes into the flightdeck and informs me that she doesn't feel fit enough to go into discretion and I have to agree with her that she would not be fit enough to operate into discretion. Houston, we have a problem.

She had been called from standby as 'nobody else was available' in the UK (that old Crewing chestnut), so I call Crewing and advise them of their problem. I call the Duty Manager and explain that as no-one else is available I suspect we could be some time. We have now missed our slot, so I get the F/O to call Ops.

The IFS needs to stay onboard until another qualified IFS can be found and she returns with a junior member of crew to advise me that the junior member of crew has had her purse 'stolen'. She had £200 in it and last used it in the crewrrom and 'definitely' had it in her bag in the rear galley. She is understandably agitated. I ask for a thorough search of where she last saw it and explain that we can't accuse anyone of stealing it at this stage. She wants the police involved and points the finger at the cleaners. I resist this at this stage. Another member of crew calls the crewroom, but no sign of it there. I ask the agent to get a number for the cleaning company to see if anyone had 'found' it. Their office is just infront of the nose of the aircraft so the crew member puts on a high vis jacket and goes with the agent to the ofice to start 'enquiries'.

The engineers fix the problem in about 20 minutes, the paperwork takes another 5.

Just then a new IFS walks onto the airbridge! She was on a 757 on another gate, just about to depart when the captain was called and asked if she was 737 qualified. She was, so they nabbed her to 'save the day' for us. She is pretty unhappy (we are going further!), but I thank her and the old IFS gathers her belongings and exits. We make the decision to leave the other crew member behind to sort out her 'purse' issue as we have more than minimum crew and her mind is not on the job. She will need to find numbers and call banks to cancel credit cards etc....on a Sunday evening! We call the agent and ask her to return to the aircraft to collect her belongings. An 'old hand' working down the back decides to conduct another search and would you believe it, finds the purse!

Crew members back onboard, a quick word ensures that her has turned into an , and she is ok to operate. F/O has been keeping Ops informed and the flight plan in. We need a new loadsheet as the old one is messy. It had the worng figures so LMC amendments hand written on it. Now we are a few hundred kilos lighter due to fuel burn on first taxi out and back, plus APU burn (lucky we were tankering so didn't need to uplift any more!!!). I had amended it to take a crew member off, who then found her purse so was back on!!!! A new one was dispatched with revised figures. Performance re-calculated with updated wx info. Doors closed, 1hr 30mins late.

We pushback for round 2. Uneventful sector until last 100ft when I take control due to 'lack of corrections' to my calls of 'bug minus 2...... bug minus 5!' Safe landing. Taxi in for an 'African' turnaround, where 50 minutes is scheduled and we would like to make up some time. (Yeah right, ever the wishful thinker, me!)

Turnaround is good apart from one vital element. Pax. We have 121 and they arrive in dribs and drabs over a 30 minute period. The agent makes no attempts to comminicate with us and the frequency gets no response from their office. We just accept it's Africa. IFS reports another 'difficult passenger', who appears to just have 'attitude' at this point. Noted.

Eventually everyone on board and we depart, still 1hr 30 minutes late (it felt longer). I am PF. Uneventful climb and cruise until we reach Sardinia, when the IFS complains about the unruly pax again. I advise to giev the warning and make a PA about how I will not tollerate uncivilised behaviour towards my cabin crew and use the 'diversion' threat with police and costs. This appears to do the trick and she pipes down.

Speaking to Paris, or rather listening on a very quiet frequency, we hear occasional traffic, but then realise some 5 minutes has passed with no contact. Nothing on 121.5 throughout. We call another sector with a frequency from the charts and he advises us to contact Reims. We do so and I log the time, sector frequencies and circumstances to fill in an ASR due to PLOC. Two in two days.......not bad!

Landing in Manchester and taxi in with no problems. Arrival 1hr 25 mins late. Back to the crewroom to file the ASR online and complete the paperwork. I get home at 03:15 local.

Roll on summer, I can't wait.........!

PP

Last edited by Pilot Pete; 30th May 2006 at 22:08.
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Old 29th May 2006, 14:38
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Thanks Pete. Just reinforces how mundane and tedious my job is ( ) but fascinating reading nonetheless. Can you keep it up all summer?
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Old 29th May 2006, 14:46
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Thanks Pete,

very enjoyable..............

cheers,

FB
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Old 29th May 2006, 15:13
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Originally Posted by Curious Pax
Can you keep it up all summer?
Well, that's what they pay me to do...........! Like I said, not every flight is like these two, they are 'exceptions', just strange to get two 'exceptions' back to back! Hopefully Malta tomorrow will be mundane and boring!

PP
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Old 29th May 2006, 16:37
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Very interesting reading Pete. Would you mind explaining your SOP about the BUG -5..etc. I am just curious, in RYR we don't call anything until the speed drops below Vref, usually bug -5 (depending on the wind additive), and it is normally not required to take controls unless the arrow indicates further decelleration at that point, and the obvious thing that you have made a couple of calls, last one indicating your intentions to take controls.

Cheers
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Old 29th May 2006, 16:45
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Thanks for taking the time to write about your day in the life .... twice, Pete !!

Come on ..... lets here some other examples from the rest of you guys ...
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Old 29th May 2006, 19:08
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If only the so called "managers" would read and understand this then all would be fine , BAW "managers" please note . Brilliant post , 'nuff said .
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Old 29th May 2006, 20:57
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Illuminating posts PP. Thanks for taking the time.
Trust Malta was quieter!

Mac
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Old 29th May 2006, 21:34
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Originally Posted by RYR-738-JOCKEY
Would you mind explaining your SOP about the BUG -5..etc.
We call a deviation if no corrective action has been initiated, especially if below intended bug speed. In windy conditions you allow for the fact that the speed isn't going to be 100%, but in calm conditions like yesterday a trend was developing that was not being checked. It was a VOR approach at night and the F/O had transitioned to the visual, was not lined up with the centreline and did not respond having been 'called' twice. I assumed incapacitation and took control, lining up with the centrline and getting the speed back, landing safely. On debrief he admitted that he was working hard and didn't have any extra capacity to answer. Hopefully we both learnt something on that flight (the first time I have taken control from another pilot).

PP
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Old 30th May 2006, 23:09
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Bug-2 ,Bug -5 and the capt takes control.mmmm. Just wait till you start flying the NG Pete. If you work to Bug-2 ( as Britannia like to call) it will be like pass the bloody parcel with who has control!!. On a windy day in the -700 you go from vref+5 to +20 to vref- 10 quicker than you can say it. Good luck
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Old 30th May 2006, 23:26
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Pete
it seems to me you would be suitably qualified as the next senior negotiator for the United nations or Unicef !
Have you considered writng a book ?

Gavin
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Old 30th May 2006, 23:35
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Thanks Pete for such informative posts.

A real insight into the day to day pressures and difficulties the flight crew face and how CRM plays such an important role.

Thankyou
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