Monday, June 08, 2009

Will She Fly or Will She Sleep?

Seven a.m. came too soon after getting to sleep after having a four hour nap in the middle of the day, but I got up. Ate breakfast with company and two chainsaw replacement chain salesmen from Portland, Oregon. Raisin french toast with bacon.

Go to plane. I load and secure baggage while she checks weather. "We're not going high, but we're going," she says. Fine with me. I set the radios and the GPS, bookmark origin and destination in the CFS, tell her what I've done and then pick up my crossword puzzle. I'm not sure, but I think there's a possibility that half-assed two-crew procedures when it's legally a single-pilot operation are worse than single pilot with someone who is also qualified but is clearly not doing anything to contribute to the flight. Today I'm working on that theory. She'll assign me duty if she wants help. "I expect you to have that crossword puzzle finished before we arrive," she warns. So I have my flight duty. Also I may have to fly to the end of my duty day tonight, so I should relax now.

Winds favour 07 or 12, but the aprons and taxiways are only set up so that one can easily get to 25 or 30. My reply to her possibly rhetorical question about the best way to get there is "let's just call the FSS and ask which way they recommend."

We don't even have to ask. When she calls to taxi they recommend "alfa, bravo, backtrack 07." She's at the B-12/30 intersection before she says, "Wait a sec, how am I supposed to backtrack 07 from here? Runway 07 crosses at the other end of this runway." They meant backtrack 12, which we do. Meanwhile Jazz calls up and asks to depart off 30. The FSS points out that it's NOTAMed closed for work that isn't currently being done, but it's still closed, so the CRJ will have to backtrack 12 as well. We take off. Gear comes up and gear handle clunks back to the up-neutral position, as it's supposed to. It's more obvious from this seat.

"I guess I should make a quick turn to get out of their way," she says, referring to the Jazz flight.

I can see them out of my window. "Nah, they're just starting their backtrack. Take your time," I say. We loop lazily over the airport and en route. I'm stumped for a while on a clue that asks for a zoology word for permanently attached. I'm thinking that arms, legs, tails, most zoological bits are more-or-less permanently attached, and that the exception like the skink's sheddable tail is more deserving of a special name. And then I work out the crossword theme of NINE to FIVE and fill in a few more words, giving me a couple of letters and the now obvious SESSILE. I'm soon down to three clues. I need a "Fighting" team that fits IL_INI, a simple sugar that fits HE_OSE and "Holly" across with I_E_. The team could be anything, because lots of letters are pronounceable there, but none is recognizable. The holly is probably a Latin name. I run the alphabet on the sugar and decide that HEXOSE sounds like a nice name for a sugar, and as IBEX is fauna not flora I go with ICEX for the holly. It's almost definitely not correct in the crossword, but I don't know the holly or the team, and ICEX is a liquid you use to treat the surfaces of deicing boots to make it easier for them to shed ice. (If you're cheap you use Armor-All, but the latter leaves black streaks on your wings.) The same section of the paper yields another, easier crossword puzzle, a word find, a jumble, comics, descriptions of the top ten new reality shows, and a scrabble puzzle. And that's about how long the flight was. There may have been scenery outside, but I doubt it.

I've been here before so I direct her to where we parked then. It's busy, with three commuters at the terminal, a row of little jets lined up along the back of the apron, and people all over the place. We dodged between a Dash-8 just shutting down and a helicopter just starting up to squeeze into our spot beside a hangar.

I go to the FBO to arrange our stay. There's a pilot on the phone to flight services, making "sorry, I'll be right done gestures." I smile and point at the FBO attendant, who is on a different phone. I'm waiting for him. Another pilot is also waiting.

"Are you the Dash-8?" I ask him.

"Oh no," he says, in an accent that's four or five thousand kilometres southeast of here, "much too slow for me." He's one of the jets.

"Something going on in town?" I ask, still wondering what's brought all the traffic. But it turns out that his accent is from much further south than his passengers. He's based in Calgary, just doing a crew change. Apparently Thursday is a big crew change day here.

It's raining. We go to the hotel. Lunch at Boston Pizza. The rest of the day is overdue paperwork, which is why some of this entry is not fully expanded from the terse notes that begat it.


J said...

Have we gotten any clues as to what you're flying lately... say, in comparison to the Weedwhacker?

Marc said...

Try an "L" for the missing letter in the team.

(University of Illinois)

What are you flying these days?

Unknown said...

"...there's a possibility that half-assed two-crew procedures when it's legally a single-pilot operation are worse than single pilot with someone who is also qualified but is clearly not doing anything to contribute to the flight..."

I totally agree - ask me how I know!? Er don't bother... But it's definitely better when everyone knows exactly who's doing what. Even if it's nothin'

Anonymous said...

Awww, widdle jet jock get awl snooty over a widdle Dash 8?

Probably too much airplane to handle during a V1 cut...


How big was his watch?

Anonymous said...

It's the "Fighting Illini"


Sarah said...

The post title has sent The Clash running through my head, which is not a bad thing.

Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go there will be trouble
An if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know...

Sir Lukenwolf said...

Aviatrix, you're probably the only person to make a lengthy post about riddling a crossword and still make it sound interesting :-)

I continued my exploration of northern north america with flights to Ancorage (Dave of Fl 390 fame's favourite hangout) and landen finally in a place called Kotzebue, Alaska. Still trying to say that with a straight face, as Kotze is a german slang word for vommit - not a very fortunate word to use in connection with air travel. Tomorrow will be Kotzebue (*giggle*) to Anadyr in Russia. I did a Simulator flight from Yellowknife to Ancorage in a Cessna 414, now I know what you're going through in a twin. 5 hours looking at a comp screen with no real danger of screwing up - you do that for real - damn, that's bloody heroic, because I was knackered by just the sheer length of it :-O

A squared said...

Kotzebue is named after a German navigator. Presumably, there are still people named Kotzebue running around someplace. Sounds like an unfortunate association to have with your name. It is my destiny (as received today) to spend next month flying soda pop and disposable diapers to Kotzebue. I'm having a difficult time imagining spending my free time playing at doing that on a computer.

Aviatrix said...

I wrote a blog entry once where I suggested that flight simmers stop every hour to do a weights workout while under a shelf not quite high enough to stand up under, in order to simulate pop and chips runs.

(Apparently Canadian native babies don't use disposables, as we never carried those. I think the babies I saw were naked.)

Unknown said...

It's ILLINI. Which is funny, because I'm from Champaign-Urbana, I did my undergraduate work at the U of I, and I happen to be sitting on my parents' back porch at the moment -- they're professors there. Small world!

Sir Lukenwolf said...

@a squared

Yes, I knew those background info. In fact if there are really still descendants of this Kotzebue fellow in Germany today, they are legally allowed to change their name due to the conotation.

About people who do those runs in small planes in the flight simulator, well not all people can be bush pilots. For a start we don't have any bush in Germanyland. There's no place over here that you can't reach by car or boat (for the few small islands we have). And for a second reason is me actually having a bad fear of flying while still being an aviation nut, so the sim flying is as near as I will ever get to a planes control.

Aviatrix said...

Sir Lukenwolf, your comment about name changing intrigues me because it implies that if your name does not have connotations of vomit, you wouldn't be legally allowed to change it. Anyone can legally change his or her name in Canada, without needing to give a reason. Is it different in Germany, or is it just an easier process if you have a name that the government acknowledges is embarrassing?

Sir Lukenwolf said...

I'm no legal expert and I suspect you can change your name - if nothing else, you can take on a stage name (even if you're not an artist) and have it registered for your passport. But in that case you'd still retain your old name in official records. As for abandoning your former name completely I think there are a lot of things to get through to avoid people changing names to escape the authorities.

If you have a sort of bad name (there are still people named Hitler in Germany and Austria) or with a bad conotation like Kotzebue, that process will be greatly simplyfied.

As far as I could make out with a small search, you have to get permission from the authorities to abandon your surname or forename and they can turn you down, except for cases described above. In that case you can only go the stage name route.