ExpressJet proved to be a great eight year experience for me. Albeit longer than initially planned, but none the less, so good that I became part of their hiring department! Even though I'm no longer employed by them, I'd recommend applying now if aviation is your thing! If you don't recognize me, I'm front and center! BAM
Flying the CRJ700 has been definitely more exciting than the CRJ200 and this week was just another example. I guess it might be the mere fact that 1 more flight attendant / stewardess adds to the mix during dinner or that I'm just getting lucky being paired up with great crews. With that, this was a rather enjoyable week. The first night was an overnight in Quad Cities, Illinois which I have already blogged about... great food! Check it out here. (http://www.elijahnicolas.com/wp/2009/07/26/overnight-in-quad-cities/)
The next night exposed me to the true horrors that Newark, New Jersey is. Rudeness was in the air but friends were around to pick me up and create a lightened atmosphere. We headed to the Shorthills Mall which was pretty high society status. Too bad it was an indoor mall but shopping around is always fun when the weather outside is humid, muggy with a chance of thunderstorms. We ate at a great place called All American Joe's Bar (something like that) and concluded the night with a drive through a ritzy neighborhood w/ average home sales of $2-4M, stroll through it's local town full of boutique shops that had tennis outfits in the windows. I can't remember the name of the town but there was an theater playing Public Enemies and that was what we were watching. For a two and half hour movie, it kept me going. I enjoyed it thoroughly but I have to admit that 500 Days of Summer (trailer) was more entertaining. Johnny Depp had a great roll, Christian Bale looks a little skinny and didn't convince me so much, but overall it was a great biography on John Dillinger. Albeit more appealing I guess in it's very unique story telling. Go watch it already if you have not! It's playing in select theaters so make you scope out the local area for show times.
I'll write up part two tomorrow starting off with some good MIA weather story and capping it off with a fun night in Cincinnati...er Kentucky...that one place that we stayed at last night. Here's a picture of the morning sun rising over Manhattan skyline as seen from the Newark Airport. You can see the Empire State Building too if you take a close look! Check it out!
Everyday, every plane that I fly is a different story. With various maintenance issues that are posted from time to time, line pilots have to learn how to deal with each occurrence. Each plane is unique in there own way but of there are similarities between the various anomalies. The Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) has morning sickness (has to warm up a little bit in the cool months in order for the electronics to "come alive"), has an awfully hard time getting cool during the feverish months of summer and little bugs here and there that “pop” up from time to time. Today was just one of those instances. (actually a week or two ago) Getting pushed back from the gate is when we usually begin to start our engines in order to move about and head towards our respective departure runway. Because of this, we don’t’ usually become aware of the problems that we might have with our electrical systems or our powerplant systems. After our electrical system switched over from the APU (auxiliary power unit) to the right-side engine driven generator, we noticed that our main battery was being activated and the backup TIES were switching back and forth showing us that there was an abnormality within our system. It was posted to be a short roundtrip flight but it was leg one of four so any delays were going to prolong our duty day.
After talking to maintenance we were advised to go back to a gate for further inspection. We had to wait around for about 20 minutes for a new gate and then once parked, we were told my maintenance that it would take about 30 minutes for a battery swap. Mind you, we had a plane full of passengers from moms with strollers and multiple bags to businessmen and other various clientle of Delta. Since it was only going to take “30 minutes” we were advised that the passengers remain on the plane so that we could get out of there as fast as possible once we were ready to go. Well, after the first battery swap, 30 minutes later, we ended up finding out that we would need to deplane as maintenance would have to diagnose the issue for about 2-3 hours.
We deplaned, ended up getting assigned a different aircraft, which was still enroute from another destination and waited as the clocked raced on. From being on-time, to being 1 hour delayed, we ended up being 3 hours delayed by the time we took off. With so many variables in the airline industry, these types of delays end up creating negative publicity and passenger dissatisfaction.
Needless to say, we got our passengers to their desired destination safely and ended up having our day cut short. This was made so with a standby crew that ended up operating our 3rd and 4th leg so that the passengers on those flights would remain on time. I got on the next available flight to San Diego and am home relaxing until the next adventure begins.
Well, I put in a bid (request) knowingly with a chance to get a crappier schedule on a better plane at about $1.70 more an hour and got it!
You have been awarded the following bid from the Standing Bid List:
------------------------------ Aircraft: CR7 Position: FO Domicile: ATL Comments: 09-01 (effective 6/1/09)
Initially when I first submitted it, I was about 11th on the list of first officers, but when the "final" awards came, there was another 16 pilots that ended up in front of me due to their more senior standing on the pilot list. So, if you are wondering the difference between the aircraft that I'm flying now and was awarded, it basically sits 20 more passengers (70 up from 50), has stronger engines, leading edge wing devices that enable a slower approach category, two flight attendants (the federal regulations calls for 1 flight attendant per 50 passengers) and because of all that, the overall takeoff weight and fuel load are increased. The CRJ700 also flies to different places.
ASA was awarded 8-10 CRJ900 (sits up to 88 passengers but the Delta configuration has 76 with a first class section) and since the CRJ700 and 900 are pretty similar, I'll be flying both around the Delta System. It's going to be an interesting next couple of months without a doubt and I can only hope for the best as we also just announced that we will be furloughing (laying off) 80 pilots.
Here is a good link at the differences between the CRJ200 and CRJ700. Flying the CRJ-700 Part 1 - Preflight, Taxi, and Takeoff