Wednesday, 1 February 2012
The weather we have at the moment is really winterly (if I can say), de-icing on most sectors, freezing conditions (and special checklists for those), CAT II and III approaches, Low vis take-off (LVPs), diversions, ...
However, this environment makes the learning experience very useful.
The worst we had so far was 50 meters reported visibility (and 150m RVR) on take-off, 50 meters VIS / 250 meters RVR on a CAT III approach, 50 kts crosswind on the final approach (but "only" 20 kts on the ground), ...
To give an idea, 50 meters visibility is the equivalent of standing in front of the aircraft and not being able to see the fin or the horizontal stabilizer.
Flying days are very interesting, that's for sure.
I cannot give specific details but I got to fly long sectors (5 hours), short ones (1 hour), I really like the diversity in the flying itself.
On the other hand, the flights can be quite stressful, there is a lot to do especially as I'm learning and very little time to actually enjoy the view or set back, even on longer trips.
Overall, the job is quite a bit different from what I expected, not to say it is not as good as I imagined it but you realise what it is like only when you're actually on the line.
The greatest surprise was the crew-environment, obviously very different from single-pilot flying. The atmosphere in the cockpit does depend a lot on the other pilot, someone you seat next to for 5 to 10 hours on a regular day.
Some flights go by very smoothly and as planned, some other flights don't. Last minute clearance change from ATC, delays, various passenger issues, diversions, anything that doesn't work as expected makes it a lot more stressful and difficult to deal with.
In the end, some days are extremely enjoyable while others seem very long and tiring.
Still, every time I look outside, the view is always outstanding and it's never disappointing.
Is there anything better than eating breakfast on top of the Alps at sunrise?