Various Shots from Work + 1 New Guy Named Jakob

The beginning of this year brought on an onslaught of weather to the eastern seaboard and of course, I got to fly into it, around it and enjoy the flurries.  I really can't admit that I it was all joyous work, but it's all in the job description.  It's what we are trained to do and must do to bring you safely from Atlanta to who knows where.  Here are some shots; one with snow, one at night w/ the moonlight + Venus, and two others one of Atlanta Downtown followed by the Atlanta airport at night viewed from 11,000 feet. All these shot below were taken in the month of January.

Since I was fortunate to have two awesome flight attendants with me during a 40 hour stay in Allentown, Pennsylvania, we rented a car early morning and ventured out to three different vineyards, a chocolate factory as well as the local mountain to check out the slopes.  The vineyards were quite awesome, friendly and the various ambiances' were definitely different from the traditional ones here in Southern California.  For one, we don't have Ice Wine nor a freezing lake next to a cottage.  Peep these.

Sometimes, when I'm sitting in the back of a plane, non-revving, I'm able to snap some awesome up close pics.  Here is the airTran Atlanta Falcons themed Boeing 717 and one of Delta's newly modified 767 with winglets!  What do you think of these?

Something even more cooler...two of my very good friends, Kurt, who happens to be one of my groomsman and also shares the same birthday, July 28th, had his first child, Jakob with his lovely wife Krysti. Check out the happy father and son!

4 on, two off, 4 on – part 2 / my printed schedule after the fact

When I say after the fact, the schedules below depict the times that the aircraft recorded once meeting certain parameters e.g. brakes released or set & passenger door open or close.  These were not the original scheduled departure and arrival times but in fact, the true record of my legs or "flight time."  I guess you can say that the times in bold represent the time that I actually "fly."  The difference between the "Block" and "Credit" is that we get paid for credit while "Block" is the time I'm recorded to be in the aircraft.  It doesn't represent the time I spend in the cockpit in between flights or before flights (which is actually represented in the another bold header "Turn"), or the time I'm at the airport on a layover.  I'll further explain these "pairings" below in this blog post but for now, here is a picture of a 4-day typical schedule.  It's not like there is much to figure out.  It's pretty much cut and dry.  Following along the on the first line: The first line on my pairing "OSA A7470C" is Flight number 5548/ Originating from ATL (Atlanta-Hartsfield) / Destined to DAY (Dayton, Ohio) / Departed at 14:58 local airport time / Arrived at 16:16 local airport time / Tail N761ND <-- which is the registration number of the specific aircraft / A/C type being a CR7 (Canadair Regional Jet 700 Series) / Block 1:18 (1 hour & 18 minutes flight time) / Credited 1:33 (in other words paid for 1 hour & 33 minutes) / Pax(passengers) on board 70 / Miles from ATL-DAY 432 / BurnAv 4423 (average fuel burned enroute measured in pounds / Turn 0:44 (time on ground to have the passengers get off, clean the aircraft, cross seatbelts, stock the galley, clean the bathrooms, refuel, input preflight measures, walk around the aircraft for a visual inspection, remove bags, add bags and passengers and close the door) 42 minutes.  That's line 1 in my pairing.  Pretty much going down through the day, I end up at Little Rock, Arkansas for a layover of 14:26 (14 hours & 26 minutes) where it includes the van ride from the airport to the hotel, the ride back to the airport in the morning, and any sleep that I get in between.

If you take a look on Friday the 18th, I was lucky to actually have a 28 hour overnight in Portland, Maine where I enjoyed some of the world's best known Clam Chowder from Gilbert's Chowder House. (yelp review here)

Everyday, I have a Report time which, and depending on how long the ride is to the airport from the hotel, we leave usually around 15 minutes prior to duty in to ensure ample time to get to the aircraft.  Of course, the means I also usually wake up about 1 hour prior to the Report time giving me enough minutes to accomplish the morning routine, throw the uniform together, pack up, eat breakfast and board the airport shuttle or taxi.

There isn't much more to explain really except for the Totals: line telling me that my initial Report time that I have to duty in at the company computers in Atlanta is at 14:00 on the 17th / and I'm Released at 16:46 on the 20th.  For those three days, I will be able to log 18 hours & 47 minutes of flight time, get paid for 20 hours and 48 minutes plus my per diem which is calculated by the TAFB(Time Away From Base) 74:46 74 hours & 46 minutes multiplied by our current rate of $1.65 / hr.

At my current rate of 3rd year pay $39.55 /hr * 20.8 --> I pull in around $822.64 + my per diem ($123.36) giving me a total of $946 for this entire pairing.  Granted I was away from my family the entire time, it didn't include the time I fly back and forth from San Diego to Atlanta and whatever else you want to add in.  I'm not whining really, but this is a sample of just a week in the life of a pilot.  Now, the missing link in this bigger picture is the amount of duty time that I put in between flights that I didn't get paid for.  In other words, I was actually working or at work whatever, for about 32 hours and 2 minutes total during these three days; in my uniform, and not resting.  Keyword being resting.  That's clearly a deficiency of 12 hours just hanging around the various airports.  <-- Not fun.  (Add up the Duty on the bottom ride side of each day to get the total figure)  Now, why is that pilots are only paid for block / credit time, it started long long ago during the birth of the industry and hasn't changed since.  It's a mixture of corporate greed (if that's what you want to call it) and FAA regulations governing flight time in a given period for pilots.

I usually have 4 of these trips a month, sometimes only 3.  Hope you enjoyed the explanation.  Any questions?  Please leave a comment below.

(if you are interested any further, many if not all US airlines' payscales are available to the public listed under each airline profile at http://www.airlinepilotcentral.com/airlines/)

LogTenProBanner2008

Los Cardones EcoLodge and Surf Resort, Nicaragua

After a few weeks of postponement, I hopped on an American Airlines 737 aircraft from ATL to MIA, arrived and satisfied my breakfast hunger with Cuban sandwich along with Cuban coffee. After being delayed for 2 hours for mechanical issues, I finally took off to MGA in an American Airlines 767 (paid $80 for my ZED fare because I cannot jumpseat on American Airlines internationally unlike other domestic carriers), rode a KIA branded taxi for 1.5 hours and arrived at Los Cardones.  Granted this was another solo adventure but the purpose was to scout out the place and more importantly hang out with great company. Adam, Christie, Chris and Myself

A few weeks back, I recently found out that one of my high school gal-friends, took up a 6 month gig to work as managers for the "resort." Whatever the cost, I had to go visit and hang out.   As most of you may know (or not know), I'm always down for anything.  Upon arriving at the resort dressed inappropriately in business attire, I was greeted by her, taken to my cabana and changed.  I was steaming and my wool pants had to come off!

Thoughts of picking up a surfboard and hitting the beach right away were lingering especially after watching Chris hit the waves, but I was feeling more of a mellow tone.   After a while, I decided that it was going to be just a day of rest. The night simply concluded with a wonderfully prepared dinner by Adam and chatter of what the next morning would bring.  It was a long day for me and this is exactly what I needed.

Through the next few days, I would eat 3 meals a day which were prepared VERY well, surf in the morning then just hang out the rest of the day. I didn't do that much except for the random hike around the facility, sleep in an awesome hammock for a few hours, talk it up with friends and just pass the time. It's been a while since I actually got to feel the second hand tick as the minutes at the resort lagged on by. Being "unplugged" was a great feeling, but sometimes I felt like I was missing things. Time was therefore just standing still at certain times but it was a good thing.

Some of you may not realize, but I've been minimal-izing my life as of late. Coming down from an awesome high, I'm loving it more and more. Sometimes I'm tempted here and there, but simplicity and happiness is where it's at. This vacation made me realize it once again that with an ocean, good friends and food, life can be truly gratifying.

Videos and more pictures after the jump!

[gallery link="file" columns="2"]

I uploaded little tours of the resort to my youtube account: http://www.youtube.com/enicolas and you can watch the videos there or right here down below! The first one is of the resort and the second is of my living quarters. Check them out and leave a comment here or on my youtube page!

1st Shot at Torrey Pines...SUCCESS

I did it...my first attempt at Torrey Pines was a success. I kept my cadence up and felt pretty good once I got to the top. It was my first time riding by myself in a while and without surprise it definitely isn't as fun. It paid off as I got a ride back home once I reached my destination. As a matter of fact, I had it in me to bike back home along the same route and make a it a roundtrip but my phone was at 10% and I didn't want to get stuck somewhere without it just incase anything happened i.e. I'm too tired to ride up back the 56 bike path. sex mexy by @adellelisa

After the ride, I hung out for about an hour until Adelle got off of her 12 hour shift at Scripps La Jolla Hospital, headed to Robertos in Carmel Valley for some Carne Asada Fries then over to Yogurt World in Mira Mesa. Good eats for sure!

Thanks to that special someone that wrote in chalk along the bike path some motivational notes. In the beginning of the climb, there was in bright pink, "Almost there," followed by a "Dig Deep," then another,"Just kidding, a little more to go," and then the final, "You made it!" There was also a message saying,"Happy Birthday to D _ _ _ _." Some pretty awesome stuff to read while you struggle up the little hill.

Anyways, here's a post of my route. Check it out!

Check out the constant % grade...not that bad really but long!

Flying part 2: 4th Week in July

Of all the randomness in flying for the Delta Connection Carrier, Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA) based solely out of Atlanta, my four day schedule had an assignment that was to operate a Cincinnati to Miami roundtrip.  New to me and apparently pretty new to the system I might add.  Last summer, I got to fly the Miami system through Tallahassee, Florida and that was a blast, so I was really looking forward to this trip.  I would have loved an overnight in MIA but I guess we won't be doing any of those in the near future. Flying towards Miami, we noticed that the normal summer cloud build-ups were in every quadrant.  It was going to be all about the quick turn.  Looking at our schedule, we also noticed that we had more than ample time to grab some Cuban Coffee and a sandwich.  Coffee was a success but the sandwich place closed I guess.  Massive fail as I was left to eat a Meat Stromboli from Sbarros.  Definitely not the Cuban Sandwich I was hoping for.

I did my walk around and of course it stated to sprinkle a bit.  Just enough to get me a little damp but not dripping.  Flying out of Miami was a lot of fun though.  Departing 8R we made a turn to the north and was vectored toward the northwest in order to get around and through some cloud build-up.  Fun stuff!  Check out the radar and the cloud picture of the cavern we flew through!

IMG_0991

straight ahead through that canyon...smooth sailing indeed

An of course after we landed in Cincinnati Airport which many of you might not know is 1) a ghost town since Delta has slowly changed all of its routing and deleted many flights from the CVG system 2) is actually located in Northern Kentucky. Check it out on this map:


View Larger Map

We made our way to one of the nicer hotels we stay at, Hilton Airport, and then we headed out to celebrate my birthday. Happy hour at Applebees has become the common theme with overnights lately just because the deals are too good to pass up and there's nothing else nearby! We had a couple of drinks, great appetizers but I chose the liquid diet last night. Fun times! On the walk back to the hotel, we hit up Rafferty's for some of there fine honey butter croissants the called it a night. Good times guys and thanks for the great night! Terrylyn, Captain My Captain, Lynn (dang dootie), myself and our hostess

Overnight in Quad Cities

Found a great place near the hotel called Rock Island Brewing Company (map) that had a great selection of beers and food.  I ended up with a Ribco Burger (comes with a fried egg! <-- freaking awesome) and a Delirium Nocturnum and two others.  I wish that I can remember their names but they were all great!  Quad Cities doesn't really open for business till after 1900 but a meal at 1700 is pretty choice especially when you have to go to sleep early in order to wake up at freaking 3:30AM! Great Dinner Beer!

Fried Eggs should be a must in every burger!

Cycling & Getting My Butt Kicked!

It's been a little while since I rode ~40 miles.  Most of my latest riding adventures added up to just shy of 15 miles around the local neighborhood with an effort level of 7.  Reason being is that I've been trying to concentrate on my cadence more so than my mile time, but I thought I would kick it up a notch the past Friday, July 10th.  My overall route covered the 56 Freeway Cycling Path up the coast and back. Pretty basic ride but it definitely has some long climbs throughout the the mix.  By the time I was heading back home on the 56 climb, I was beat...I mean BEAT!  My uncle beat me to the top by about 15 minutes and I was going nowhere averaging about a 6.5 mph climb.  My Gatorade was exhausted, the FRS that I bought at B&L Solana Beach had already run through my body's veins and the water that was remaining in my bottles were warming up to the noon time heat.

I definitely need to pick it up a bit, but with my irregular dieting, irregular flight / workout schedule, it's hard to get that basic rhythm down.  Here are pictures from the ride.

IMG_0885

IMG_0886

Another beautiful view of our turn-around point

A view of some easy going beach go-ers enjoying the SD weather!

The jersey was cheap and I like the argyle!

My uncle showing who's the boss...he beat me fair and square

My view about 90% of the time... riding behind him letting him "lead the way"

I'm riding while taking most of these pics...I'm about 8/10 dead here in this photo

open road for miles...I think I only have about 5 left but I wanted to use this Call Box bad!

I'm almost there...one more steady climb. Black Mtn Rd is only 1 mile away!

My awesome cycling tan... I'm about twice as dark on all my ligaments now =)

after a banana and these snacks...I'm off for some Korean BBQ to fill my nutritional void!

Post Irregular Operations

After the daunting task of having to get deiced in Atlanta, rerouted throughout the system and end up not having the extra time needed to organize my new apartment, it's back to everyday operations. Yesterday's flight consisted of quick turns with only delays taken for late fueling but this morning, on the way from Oklahoma City back to Atlanta, I once again was overwhelmed with the feeling of accomplishment and contentment. It was a smooth operation departing almost 10 minutes early, taking off smoothly, flying through smooth air at 33,000 flight and even the landing I was happy about. The entire leg was just "simply perfect." Once again, I feel "right" in my place in the world. =)

Of course, today's schedule had us up at 3:45AM but we finished up early with only 2 legs today by 11:30AM. The La Quinta in Alexandria, Louisiana was renovated a couple of months back, and I have to admit that it's been one of the nicer places I've stayed. I'm just happy that the internet here works well and is fast enough to actually stream some Hulu or fox.com for Dollhouse action. I planned a 30 minute nap, but you know how those go and slept for about 3 hours. Had a quiet dinner at Cracker Barrel by my lonesome, then retired back at the hotel. Good times being a pilot.

I leave you with a picture from trelijah taken two days ago. Looks great eh?

a 4 Hour Sit in Cincinnati Airport

Oh the joys of scheduling a 2 leg day with a four hour sit getting paid only per diem with no crew lounge.  Contemplating where to adventure to around the CVG airport, I find myself sitting her in the McDonalds in Concourse C with a brand new book that I just bought at the airport Borders Book Store.  I guess I shouldn't complain about that though because I got 10% off for being an airport employee and the #1 at McDs was just as I imagined it would be.  gawande.better

The books that I picked up by the way at by Atul Gawande entitled, "Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science" and his second book called "Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance."

Today's scheduled block pay (flight time) consists of 3 hours and 8 minutes.  Our total duty time though is 7 hours and 58 mins.  That means with our minimum duty rig of 2:1, I should get paid for almost 4 hours.  Oh joy... =)  Now with the weather slowly starting to roll into the Columbia, SC, our next destination and with more weather forecasted to arrive in ATL tomorrow, just makes sense that the last day of a 4 day, prior to me getting back to San Diego, should pose these anti-on-time hurdles.  It's going to be nice though once I'm on vacation. 

NY, NY

 bannerCUinsideBack up here again com mi amiga Adelle with the agenda of touring the Columbia University School of Nursing.   We opted to take the M60 Bus Line for La Guardia which was only $2 followed by the subway to 42nd and Times.  We only spent $8.00 total on transportation from the airport compared to $55 the last time we came here.  It's just awesome once you get some confidence to roll around the public bus system. 

With a modestly priced hotel room, for NYC standards won on Priceline.com and tactics from BiddingForTravel.com, we had a great one night stay that the Millennium Broadway Hotel.   locmap58It was prime location for the Time Square night life being located on 145 West 44th Street.   We even got upgraded to a superior room on the 50th floor which was pretty nice.  It had a flat screen and everything but of course, we only were there to sleep.  Just like all the other hotels that I've been staying at really without the luxury tag; same bed, shower, bathroom kits but of course I had Adelle with me. 

superior_Room

We ventured around the city quite a bit first heading off to the reservation that I had made at the Rock Center Cafe coupled with the Skate-A-Date Promotion.  Basically for $75, a couple is entitled to two skate rentals and a two course meal.  We even met a nice filipina who waited on us and offered her assistance to Adelle in trying to find a place.  We had a good time ice skating as it was only my second time on ice and just enjoyed the ambiance.  I fell once being really aggressive and trying to skate as fast as I can.  It was a bad fall either, but I fell.  Good times here in NYC when the weather is cooperating.  Here are some pix from the night.  

DSC04549DSC04559  DSC04566DSC04595

Oh yeah, the meal at the Rock Center Cafe on a scale of 1-10 are as follows:  Appetizer - 6 [Humus and Pita with Lamb was just too salty and didn't taste that great really.  It wasn't like you could keep eating it.  Not recommend / I had the soup and it was pretty good, but not anything that I don't think I couldn't make.  That's saying a lot]  Main Course - 8 [Here is where the restaurant revitalized itself.  The Sirloin that Adelle had was great along with some steak fries.  I had a Salmon and that was just alright really.]  Bottled Water - 10 [AWESOME]  The service was great though which made up for a lot.  But, the fact that the whole package including skating which was a retailed at $18.00 per person -->  $36 for the both of us, the whole "experience" was just worth while. 

Now back to Atlanta this evening for some exciting times!

Hunnington Beach

I got to really just hang out with some buddies this past weekend which was quite relaxing and enjoyable.  I went out with my buddy to a shooting range and I have to say that I was relieved that my aim is still pretty good.  I still have a lot to learn, but its definitely getting to be a little bit easier as my confidence level goes up.  The shooting range in Oceanside called Iron Sights is a great place to rent and try out a variety of handguns and rifles.  That's my number one choice in San Diego for now until I have to re-qualify next month.  I also ended up at a Moroccan restaurant called Marrahkesh in Newport Beach where I had rabbit for the first time.  It definitely tasted like chicken but I can't say that I was too impressed.  The lamb was awesome but I enjoyed the baklava and tea the most.  The tea was a minty green with a lot of sugar.  The rest of the experience was enjoyable as I got to hangout and meet some people for the first time.  I met one of my friend's roommate from UCSD and his wife of almost a year and she participated in the belly dancing.  Bobby also got up and danced a bit.  It was all fun.

We headed out to a bar in Newport Beach called "The District" which was basically a really small bar that was on par with PB Bar and Grill but a little bit more upscale.  We had a couple of drinks, met more peeps and called it a night night around last call at 1:45AM.  I crashed at his pad and woke up to a beautiful day.  I really can't see myself leaving Southern California for anything else and I didn't want to leave.  We walked the pier and ate a Duke's where I had an amazing seared rare ahi steak tuna.  The food was spectacular. 

Now I'm headed up to Flint, Michigan where I'm going from 70F to 11F.  i can't wait! 

BOSTON!!!

Boston, MA [13 October 2007 after landing...]
I took a cab from Boston Logan to the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Boylston where my friend, Joe - the dentist met me. We then went to his apartment to drop off my belongings and headed straight to a bar where I drank a good amount of Kettle One and Tonic with Joe an some of his friends from school. I ended up meeting Devin, Deon, Yuen, Lynn and Tiger. We had shots and then headed out at closing to get some drunk Chinese food in China Town at Peach Farm. That was awesome dinner. I haven't had that much fun in a while. What a way to start out a spontaneous trip to Boston! I was loving every minute of it.

Boston, MA [14 October 2007 walking...]
We woke up early the next morning, went to Starbucks, then walked all over the city starting out first with Newbury, then to Parish Cafe where I ate an awesome sandwich but the name of it escapes me right now, walked around more, went to Quincy Market by way of the Financial District, straight to the Wharf, past some really nice houses to Little Italy where we stopped my Mike's Pastry (www.mikespastry.com) where I had a Florentine Ricotta Cannoli and a cappuccino, and took the train back to the apartment where we streamed the Raiders at the Chargers' game which we blasted!!! We hung out there for quite a bit until it was time for dinner where we went to a Japanese Hot Pot Restaurant (one of Joe's favorite called Shabu Zen) Walking home, we passed by JP Licks, tried some Pad Thai Ice Cream was a definitely the weirdest, I never wanted to vomit it out so bad ice cream, but I swallowed it with a bitter smile. I went for the Coffee Oreo with Cookie Dough topping instead and that was great. We called it a night.

Boston, MA [15 October 2007 BU and the Triforce of Evil!]
Sitting in the cafeteria of Joe's School typing away and reading, I came up this part of the book I'm currently reading and wanted to write it here.

Excerpt from "The Holographic Universe" Sometimes the relationship between the image and the illness is so striking it is difficult to understand why it is not apparent to the individual involved, as in the case of a psychotherapist who had emergency surgery to remove several feet of dead intestine and then told Siegel, "I'm glad you're my surgeon. I've been undergoing teaching analysis. I couldn't handle all the shit that was coming up, or digest the crap in my life." --> ...nearly all diseases originate at least to some degree in the mind...

In case you don't know why I wanted to put that text there, its in response to the fact that our minds can do anything and manipulate the way that we feel. There is a lot in the book that helps you understand a bigger picture of life and how you can control the way that you feel. It's good stuff. I've definitely come a long way, and this book just helps me out a little bit more! Pick it up! Also pick up "I Am America and So Can You!" by Stephen Colbert. It's just funny and entertaining.

After a quick session on dental x-rays, we sat down at a breakfast place known for its Turkey Hash and eggs named Charlies. It won a multitude of awards and I definitely enjoyed the food. I haven't eaten so many varieties of food in such a short length of time for a while. We went home, changed a bit and then headed back out. I got to see Fenway Park, walked around some more, this is where I took a picture with the famous Citgo Triforce of Evil, (I mean, being that it's a monument of sorts for an original American company, it is no longer tied in with supporting democracy but rather the likes of Hugo Chavez...) crossed over the Charles River into MIT and then to Harvard Yard and through the campus where there was this statue and some about gaining 10 IQ points by touching john Harvard's Shoe.... :-) All this was fun...it was a lot of walking for sure. I enjoyed a Malted Shake at some place (the name escapes me at the moment) but it also won awards. I don't think that Joe and I ever went to a place that didn't have their window plastered with awards and plaques. I guess that's what you get in the food capital of the US. We also had some Mexican food which was good. Took the shuttle home and relaxed...no more walking! =)

Boston, MA [16 October 2007 35 mins...]
I was able to get up early tidy things up a bit in the apartment that Joe and Ha so willing let me stay at, gathered my things and began my journey through the Boston Subway System. It was too easy to find my way around. I timed the whole things from 5:50AM, I arrived on the other side of security awaiting my aircraft at 6:32AM. That included the train ride from Hynes Convention Center to a switch to Government Center, then to the airport shuttle stop where I hopped on a bus for Terminal A, up the stairs, through security and then followed by a long walk to the gate. It was good stuff! Got back to ATL, ate, move my belongings into the Loft from the Master Bedroom (now I'm solo but with only 2 walls...anyone know where to get one of those Chinese privacy screens?) and then got ready to do a four day trip which has been shortened to only 2 days. McAllen, Texas isn't that bad of an overnight. Long flight, but worth it!