Monday, May 31, 2010

Line checks, SOPs and reserve, oh my!

Greetings! I have great news! As of May 29th I’m a full-fledged first officer once again! I passed my proficiency check in the full-flight simulator and flew 15 hours on the line. After those 15 hours I had to take a line check, as specified by the new “pro pilot guidelines.” As a result of the Colgan crash in Buffalo, the FAA instituted new rules for airlines with low-time pilots. I already meet the “time in type” requirement but since I have not flown with the airline for 13 months I’m still part of the program.

Just mention “line check” to most pilots and they break out into a cold sweat. But if you’re proficient in the aircraft, always abide by your standard operation procedures (SOPs) and keep your charts and manuals updated, a line check won’t be so stressful. The problem lies when pilots suffer a “brain dump” after their yearly training. They forget their limitations, have a tendency to not follow SOPs and will have a stack of chart revisions in the bottom of their flight back. There’s a simple solution: don’t dump all that useful knowledge the day after your proficiency check!
My personal flying philosophy is “fly like you’ve trained. Fly the same way every day, and when something goes wrong, you’ll perform how you’ve been trained to perform.” The best pilots I’ve flown with are the ones that follow their SOPs. There shouldn’t be any surprises in the cockpit, at least within the crew. SOPs are designed so that, even if you just met your captain five minutes ago, you can still safely operate a flight.

Enough soap box!

Currently I’m sitting at TPA, my home airport (for now!). Tomorrow is June 1st and I have a reserve line this month. When you’re on reserve you are on call during a certain time period (this month it’s 0200-1600) and the company will assign you flights that have not been covered. Most of the time you’re assigned flights that weren’t covered by scheduling during the initial bid period and sometimes you are filling in for a pilot that’s called in sick. Since I have to work in the morning I’m taking a flight this afternoon to ACY.

I was scheduled to be on reserve the 1st and 2nd, but have already been assigned a trip for those two days. I called crew scheduling this morning just to make sure my line check/training paperwork had been put through (making me available to fly the line). They said it had and that they already had a trip for me! Technically they can’t call me on my day off. They would have called at 2am tomorrow morning, though! So I’m glad it worked out.

Tomorrow I will be flying ACY-BOS-FLL-DTW, starting at 0930 and getting into DTW around 1930. I overnight in DTW then fly one early-morning leg back to ACY at 0600. I can even get back to Tampa the same day! I’m so happy to be back flying. Hopefully the trip goes smoothly! Details at 11 ;)

1 comment:

sylvia said...

Belated congrats! Sorry, I've fallen behind on everything but it's great to see that you are back in the air. Don't forget to update :D