Thursday, September 27, 2012

[Prelude to] How Men Pack

I've been on the road a while. My computer no longer connects to the internet reliably, my single pair of shoes is getting kind of stinky, I'm down to my last pair of clean underwear, and we're almost out of onboard snacks.

For once we land before businesses close for the day. Google finds me a laundromat within walking distance, and while my clothes are going round and round, I find a mall. Shoe deodorizer isn't a product I've ever purchased. At home I do have five pairs of shoes and my shoes get to air out between uses.  But some advertisement or other has lodged in my subconscious and convinced me that what I want now is a can of magic shoe deodorizer. I buy a spray can of the stuff, and after swapping my laundry into the dryer and then hauling it back to the hotel, I try the product. I think it's essentially prettily-scented baking soda and a propellant, but I can't smell my shoes from across the room now.

I pack the bottle in a plastic bag before putting it in my luggage, just in case it explodes.

That reminds me. I picked up a couple of clues regarding the differential luggage weight between me and my coworker.  But that's going to wait until next time, because that was the third time I have opened this same blog entry, written less than one sentence and been called to work. I started writing it on September 12th. I'm now back from work and have other priority tasks, most of which won't be completed by the time I get called out again.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Logical Deductions 101

This post might have followed this post had I blogged things in the order of the notes I made for you. See, I still make notes for you. I make them right on my OFP, my operational flight plan, an official document of sorts which my company has to keep on file for years, or at least months, I don't feel like remembering which. It (this post) still follows it (the other post). There are just intervening things. That's what life's like.

In that post, which was mostly about canola, we had to backtrack a runway, and make other traffic wait for us, after landing despite what appeared to be a perfectly serviceable crossing runway that led back to the taxiway. The other runway was closed. Now for the exciting conclusion.

The next day on preflight inspection I find grass clippings on my aircraft. (Disclaimer, they could have been canola clippings). This isn't completely bizarre. In the last month I have found things as diverse as mouse intestines, dime-sized purple blobs, and fluffy weed seeds on my airplane. I suspect a messy owl dining atop my vertical stab, birds that had previously eaten purple berries, and fluffy weeds, respectively. The last one really doesn't require much in the way of logical deductions, but it still needed cleaning off.

I start up and I listen to the ATIS, which tells me that that the other runway is closed now and the previously closed one is open. There wasn't anything wrong with the one I landed on yesterday, and if they were painting or sealing or something they'd be smart enough not to mow, wouldn't they? It turns out the runway is closed for mowing. They need to close the whole runway for mowing?  It's a paved runway. They don't have to mow the runway itself. I'll bet I have landed more than a hundred times at airports with only one runway, while mowing was occurring. Sometimes there's an elaborate procedure whereby the controller advises the people with the tractors to remain clear of the runway. Sometimes they just publish a NOTAM or say on the ATIS that mowing is in progress. And sometimes you're on short final and it's like "SURPRISE! TRACTOR!" crossing the clearway. But we're pilots. We deal with these things. But that's not apparently how you do it when you have two runways.

The airport is busy. Lots of landing and departing traffic and there's a Nav Canada Challenger jet flying dozens of passes from different directions. I hear they are planning a new RNAV approach into here. I did the DME/LOC the other day, testing the autopilot, and it was pretty usable. You come over a wide canyon on the way in, so no obstacles letting the designers give you a low enough MDA that I had my hands very right there, should the autopilot decide at any moment that now would be a good time to dive. It didn't.

Also my coworker has brought five separate pairs of footwear. I have one: I fly, go to dinner and work out in the same shoes. So why does his luggage weigh so much less than mine?

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Alaska. Tired.

I took a short cut through Alaska today. I was going to blog about it, but my brain is tired.

Pointy mountains. Fog. Helpful Flight Services personnel. Oxygen. Shiny rivers. Small settlements. Clouds. Radio frequencies. Hat. Granola bar with coconut flakes. Stick that together with more words and you have an Aviatrix blog entry.