CRJ200 Airline Pilot

The personal experiences, thoughts of an CRJ captain

Some Days Are Just Tough

Posted by Jeffrey on July 29, 2008

Some days are just tough.

Today I finish a four-day trip in COS after having flown many miles with lots of passengers and occasional weather problems. Now, if you are thinking that being an airline pilot is glamour, let me tell you it is not, but it is a fun job…most the time.  There are some mitigating circumstances though. A good crew is a must. Nice weather helps. Decent outstations that know how to turn an airplane makes your life easier. And a healthy airplane with an APU, well, that is as good as gold. 

Right now I am sitting in a hotel in Lincoln, Nebraska. In the last four days I have made stops in PDX, SMF, OAK, ABQ, DEN and LAX (many times). For the most part every thing went well. No major mechanical issues or passenger problems, but like I said, a good crew makes all the difference. Now I’m not claiming to have had the busiest schedule this week, there are a lot of pilots out there that have worked harder than me, I’m just saying that sometimes you get tired. Heat takes it’s toll. Not eating right can take it’s toll, too. You just have to be smart about it.

Anyway, I’m rambling. My point about this entry is that yesterday we flew five legs. LAX to OAK to LAX to ABQ to DEN to LNK. The last leg was the one we had to work on. Weather over the midwest turned a 1 hour flight into a 1 hour 35 minute flight. We managed to avoid the worst of the weather but it took a huge diversion south of our route to get there. While we were doing the flight, the contrast between winter and summer flying struck me. With winter flying, most the work is done at the gate and then at the destination. You have to plan for de-icing and holdover times at your departure point and upon arrival, you start to worry about icing, snow on the ground, and the possibility of “going missed” or diverting to an alternate airport because you can’t get into your destination. Summer flying you worry mostly about what is inbetween your departure and destination. Navigating around thunderstorms and fuel management consume most of your time. But, in addition, if a thunderstorm pops-up at your destination, you now have to worry about how long will the thunderstorm stay there, do you have enough fuel to wait the storm out, and where are you going if you get short on fuel or the storm doesn’t leave. The difference is I think you pretty much know when a snow storm or winter weather is going to affect your destination and you can plan for it. Thunderstorms, well you can try and predict them but they can develop very quickly, thus limiting your options.

Yesterday, we just had to concentrate on what was inbetween. It turned out to be a relatively smooth ride, just long. If you ever want to see the route you flew, check out www.flightaware.com. The picture here is from our flight yesterday.

Flight 6704 July 28 2008

Flight 6704 July 28 2008

Till next time…


no one deals like we do!

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