Real Answers from Real Pilots

October '18 Schedule

50 Flight Hours, 82 Credits, 17 Days off

This was an eventful month! A lot of first time experiences and some reminiscent flights.

Right out of the gate, first week, one flight to SBP and another to STS. SBP was where I used to take students on their long day/night cross country flights. We’d park at the jet center and take the crew car to Pismo Beach. Here’s a picture of me at Pismo when I was a CFI. That flight brought back a lot of good memories.

STS was a perfect cross country flight from KSAC or KHWD. That was another airport we used a lot for training. I remember thinking at the time that it was going to take so long to fly for Horizon. I would fantasize about what it was like whenever I’d see a Horizon Q400 at STS. Feels surreal to be flying into STS in an ERJ, considering my last day as a CFI at ATP was in March 2017. Here’s a Q400 at STS, taken when I was a CFI:

Later in the month, I experienced my first real diversion. My captain and I had just finished Cat III training, but we were restricted to Cat I minimums because my captain had less than 100 hours PIC in the ERJ. SEA was forecast to have MVFR conditions upon arrival, but it was still reporting 800 RVR. We held for 15 minutes in hopes that the visibility would improve. It didn’t. So, we diverted to PDX and waited for the weather to clear in SEA.

Then, during my next trip I was able to do my first (practice) Cat III/Autoland approach! It was cool, but weird. There’s something about putting your trust in the airplane during the touchdown. The plane lands itself differently than most pilots do. So, that’s going to take some getting used to.

Then, on the last day of the month my captain and I received an ADS HTR FAIL message during climbout out of Edmonton. Our Air Data Smart Probes (ADSP) are heated, similar to a pitot tube. The heater on ADSP 2 failed, which required us to revert to ADSP 3, which resulted in us no longer being RVSM compliant. We had no choice but to descend below FL290 to comply with non-RVSM requirements. Fortunately, we had extra fuel available. We landed without incident.

I’ve made note of these experiences. These will become great answers to the “Tell me about a time…” type questions that I will get asked when I’m interviewing for a major airline.

DH = Deadhead
PG = Pay Guarantee (The company bought me off some of my trips and gave them to new FOs that needed the flights to fulfill consolidation requirements)
VB = Vacation (I dropped some of my flights in return for vacation pay)

  2. Safety Meeting
  5. BIL-SEA (Divert to PDX), PDX-SEA-LAX-STS
  6. DH to LAX, LAX-SEA
  7. CAT III/Autoland Training
  8. SEA-BIL
  9. BIL-SEA-YEG-SEA (First Cat III/Autoland!)
  11. YYC-SEA
  15. PG (SEA-BZN-SEA)
  16. VB
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Request closed traffic next time you get to STS and see if they let you do a touch-and-go in the RJ. :joy::joy::joy: