Plane or No Plane or Just Different Plane

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.


Transitioning...Not Upgrading

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