A lot of people say to me that this must be really annoying. No planning, always on standby etc but to me thats the reason why I do this job. The other option would be to be an airline pilot and that to me would mean always knowing exactly where I was going and when for the next few months and also having most of the work with planning etc done for me. Where are the surprises in that ?
To me when I get that phone call that we are off and its time to start the planning and getting the plane ready, it puts a smile on my face. The heart race increases ever so slightly and I know.....
We're going flying.
The phone call came whilst having Sunday brunch, Monday morning departure and we are heading off to Eastern Europe from London.
This came as a bit of a surprise as the plane had been in for servicing and wasn't expected to be ready for another few days.
|Emirates Airbus A380|
The thing that happens when the engineers have been on the plane is that everything gets moved.... all of my bits and bobs, have disappeared , pens, files you name it.
Its like another man has slept in your bed and worn your dressing gown and slippers.
|A sticky Stansted morning|
The snow ploughs clearing the white stuff off of the private jet apron, the fuel truck operator has his thick gloves and hat, steamy vapour coming from his mouth as he speaks.
I sit in the cockpit realising I haven't taken off when its this cold before and we are off to an airport that's 10 degrees colder near Russia !!!!
|Sunset Welcome into Beirut|
Before long the systems are all lighting up and I have the flight plan in the boxes and checked, the anti ice systems running , take off speeds calculated.
As per usual the owner and his colleagues were early so as soon as we were ready on the plane I was calling for engine start and signalling to the ground crew that I was starting the right hand engine, when that was up and stable I started the left one.
All the systems were firing as they should be so I called for Taxi and on our way to Germany.
The shorter flights on this aircraft are the busiest, before you have reached the cruise altitude you have to have the arrival all planned and briefed. No time for a cuppa on the way to Germany with it being a one hour flight and only getting to a cruise of 34,000ft.
I just had the flight computer programmed when I was called for initial descent so it was time to strap in and search for Dusseldorf.
It was a nice approach into Dusseldorf with German efficiency we were in with little time wasted on the parallel runways. Turning right off of the runway we had to wait for an enormous Emirates double decker to land and we crossed over the next runway and taxied to the private jet terminal for our passenger.
The Captain jumped off the plane to organise paying the landing fees and collect the passenger and I was left onboard to reprogram and get our clearances for the next flight to Eastern Europe which was going to take a further two and a half hours.
The tower controller was really helpful and I had the plane ready to go before passenger and Captain were back onboard, less than 20 minutes.
I briefed the captain on the departure and take off that we'd be taking and he was happy so it was time to call for taxi and head east.
Throttles to the fire wall and once again those rolls-royce engines roared it always gives me a rye smile and we are calling V1, with a slight delay to rotate and we are off the ground.
Positive rate of climb but we wait for gear up for 30 seconds to let any water drip off of the under carriage and there fore not freeze up in the gear bay.
We followed the published departure and were cleared straight up to 43,000ft which made life easy, this time we could take a breath and enjoy the cuppa in the cruise........
I managed to catch up on the paperwork for the flight , recording all of the fuel and timings which I can do these days on an iPad that will then sync with our computer back at base.
Whilst looking out of the cockpit at the view I received the radio call to commence descent and it snapped me out of my day dream thoughts and back into flight mode, I set the new altitude of 24,000ft we push the nose forward and its time to rejoin the real world way down below.
|Landed in Eastern Europe with snow and ice on the ground.......|
- Taxing one Ice has its similarities to Ice skating but in a 40 tonne airplane
- I can't believe xmas is not far away, its feels like August was last week
- Oh hang on, it really is Xmas next week
- Merry Christmas to anyone who reads this and I wish you all a happy healthy and prosperous New Year.