Friday, April 29, 2011

I.O.E. Finally Continues!!!

Woke up at 3:41 A.M.  I slept MISERABLY.  It took me forever to fall asleep.  I went to bed so early at 8:30, but it took me FOREVER to fall asleep.  My room on the second floor was DIRECTLY above the swimming pool, and they had a party going on down there.  I don’t say this in a racist way at all, but I am positive that it was a bunch of black people.  They just talked like black people and had the dynamics of ‘em, as well.  They were across the hall to begin with, but then they all went downstairs to swim.  I literally lay there and just listened to ‘em for who knows how long.  It felt as if I was right there IN the pool area!  It was so frustrating!

I figured the pool would close at 10:00, so I just lay there.  At one point, I took a pillow and covered my ears.  I NEVER do that!  I just needed to sleep!  I got up, adjusted the temperature cooler, and just sat up for a bit.  Sigh.  This was NOT going well.  I NEEDED to sleep.

I finally fell asleep sometime, but I woke up pretty “awake” at 3:41.  I don’t know if it was excitement or jitters or what!  But I was awake.  I checked my phone to see the time, and I was shocked.  “Andy, you NEED to sleep ALL the way until 4:15!!!”  I lay back down, but I don’t think I ever went all the way under.
I took a shower, got dressed, packed up, and headed downstairs.  I was downstairs at 4:40 for my shuttle.  The driver was nowhere to be found, though, so I sat in the van for 10 minutes.  I finally went back inside and asked for him.  He came out, and I was nervous about being late!  We are supposed to report an hour before our flight leaves!  I was glad to hear that I was the first trip of the day, though.  That meant that the Captain was behind me.

I arrived at the airport, went through security, then headed for the gate.  I had NO idea where to go from there!  So I just stood around!  I had to wait about 10 minutes, and the Captain arrived.  He showed me where to go, and we headed out for the airplane.  He went through a walk-around with me, and it was basically the same as last time.  We then headed inside to get ready.
I went through my pre-flight stuff, and I felt better with it today.  The Captain was laid back again, and that really helped.  Before I knew it, the passengers were being loaded on, and it was time to go!  Our first flight was to Cleveland, and the Captain told me it would be my leg.  The weather was a bit crummy, but I was excited about that!  We had overcast clouds at 1100 feet.

We taxied out, and I took the controls.  We took off smoothly, and we were off!  We climbed through the overcast layer, and I had a BEAUTIFUL view of the upcoming sunset out my back right.  With the lows clouds, it was just absolutely stunning.  I LOVED it.  We were climbing all the way up to 23,000 feet, so we had a ways to go.  Once we were out of Syracuse, the weather was stupendous.  It was “severe clear and a million.”  Of course, I pushed on the auto-pilot, and we just flew!
We arrived at Cleveland, and I did the visual approach.  I kept my speed perfect, and I did a fairly decent landing.  It wasn’t a “greaser” by any means, but it wasn’t rough at all.  We just kind of plopped down on the runway.  We taxied to the gate and had an hour lay-over.  I grabbed a couple of breakfast bars and filled up on the coffee in the airplane.  We headed inside and hung out in the crew lounge for a bit.

But the time passes pretty fast.  I headed out again and pre-flighted the airplane.  This time the Captain was going to be flying.   We were heading up to Erie, the place where we just flew over!  We took off of Cleveland and never got above 8000 feet.  I LOVE that part of this job!  He brought it in for a pretty close right downwind and had a gorgeous landing.  We had a quick turn in Erie, so we actually stayed in the airplane.  I was flying the next leg back to Cleveland.

We had a full flight (actually one person had to take the next flight!), and I absolutely love that.  I took off back to Cleveland, and it was pretty simple!  But I was loving it.  I landed back at Cleveland where we had just over an hour of downtime.  I grabbed a lunch from Subway and called Dad to let him know I was having the time of my life.  He said he was bored at work.  Sigh.  I told him to follow me on our next flight up to Harrisburg.  I would be flying again.

I headed out to the airplane to eat my sub and pre-flight the airplane.  Once again, it was time to go!  This time we actually climbed up to 25,000 feet.  The highest I’ve EVER been while flying!  I LOVE it!!!  We cruised on over to Harrisburg at 304 knots and even hit 316 in the descent.  The descent was so much fun.  We were told to keep it tight, and the Captain let me fly the whole leg.  I took off the auto-pilot a few miles out on downwind, and we dove for the runway.  We were trying to beat a helicopter on final.  I kept it close, and I just flew it like the “normal” airplanes I’m used to flying!  I rounded out my base to final and made a beautiful turn for the runway.  It was so much fun!  It flies just like any other airplane!  But it’s so much fun to hand-fly!  I was so proud of myself!  I flew it wonderfully by hand!  I landed at Harrisburg, and we taxied on in.  We had one more turn for the day.  The Captain told me, “You’d never be allowed to do that in an RJ.”  So true, so true!  I LOVE flying this VERY capable airplane!!!
We sat for about 45 minutes, then loaded up 13 passengers and took ‘em in to Newark.  Sort of.  We had a 12:30 departure time.  But it was pushed back to 1:03 for traffic.  We loaded ‘em up to meet the 1:03 timeframe, but it just wasn’t to be.  Tower informed us after starting that we now had a 1:30 slot.  We would have to sit on the ramp and wait.  So we did.  FINALLY, at 1:30, we headed for Newark.  The Captain flew this flight, and I was busy working the radios.  It is pretty busy airspace for radio calls.  The flying part didn’t seem too bad, though.

We worked our way in behind some heavy jet.  We landed on Runway 4R and taxied on in.  What a busy, busy place!!!  We dropped off the passengers, and that was it!  I was officially done for the day!
And what a day it was!  I logged a beautiful 5.9 hours.  I just love it!  The day was seriously gorgeous for flying.  It was so clear after we departed Syracuse.  We had beautiful weather all around.  I ended up hauling 104 passengers today.  That is just so fun to me!!!  I LOVE it!!!

I thanked the Captain for his flying today, said good-bye to the Flight Attendant who will be leaving us next week, and then went to make my dead-head flight back home which was leaving at 3:55.  I arrived about 30 minutes before departure.
I grabbed a seat, plopped down, and realized how unbelievably tired I was!  I was ready for my last flight (taken away from me because a Captain wasn’t available), but once I sat down to rest and not work, my body just shut down.  I would bounce my head in almost-sleep the entire flight.  I was tired.

But madly in love.  This is a dream come true.  I can’t wait to see what it’s like in actual weather!  The airplane is a beast.  She’s just FUN to fly.  I’m in love with it!  And I can’t wait for more!
I now have 7.8 hours of flight time.  That’s so much better than 1.9!  I’m thrilled.

I ended up back at the crashpad at 6:30.  I had thought about trying to make it home tonight, but I was quite content to wait until tomorrow morning.  I took the night pretty easy.  I went out at 9:45 to grab money from an ATM for rent, but other than that, I just rested.  I needed it.
I went to bed at 11:30 P.M.  Alarm is set for 8:00 for a flight back to Springfield!

What a day!  5.9 hours and 104 passengers!  I’m in love.