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Pictorial day in the life

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  • Pictorial day in the life

    I've been wanting to make one of these for a while. While all of these pictures weren't taken on the same day, I think I have enough to accurately show roughly what a normal day looks like. So if we go from day to night to day again in the same "day" that's why.

    The day starts like any other one, with the most annoying sound in the world.

    After breakfast I go onto our company website to double check that my schedule for the day hasn't changed. This picture is from a day line to PHF I did a while back.

    For the sake of whoever I am flying with I take a shower and don the monkey suit. I've already packed the night before so its out to the car.

    Put the junk in the trunk. Even if it is just a day trip, its still a good idea to bring your stuff with you. You never know when crew scheduling has different plans for you.

    About a 30 min drive to the airport. Almost there.

    Then the search begins for a spot in the employee lot. Lately I've started taking pictures of my car in the lot because otherwise after a long trip I end up walking around in circles trying to remember where in the hell I parked.

    Waiting for the crew bus. Nothing like standing outside and getting all sweaty before the day even starts.

    The crew bus has arrived. Now time for a terrifying 15 min ride to the terminal. The surface roads on the airport are pretty much chaos.

    Driving past all the planes moving about Atlanta is usually pretty intersting.

    Hooray, we made it without being blown over by an airplane. Now time to head to the pilot lounge to find a computer so I can check in.

    Check in and print off my pairing sheet. My pairing sheet will tell me which flights I'm on, how long they'll take, which aircraft we're taking, how many people are currently booked, the average fuel burn for that trip, and most importantly, which hotels we are staying at for that trip.

    A trip is typically from one day to 4 days long. If I ever lose this sheet....I'll be so lost.

    After this I will head to another room to find a computer monitor that tells me what gate our flight is leaving from and when we can expect our aircraft to arrive. In Atlanta we are expected to check in one hour before our departure time. This screen is important because it tells me whether I have enough time to go grab a cup of coffee.

    If we're leaving out of C concourse, a lot of crews will just walk right onto the ramp to the aircraft. I usually run upstairs so I can people watch, grab some coffee, and get our flight release from the gate agent.

    Our release has everything we need to know about the flight. Who is working on the flight, our routing, weather, performance data, and current information about wherever we are going (runway closures, etc). This is an old one from one of my first flights, but you can see that flying involves a whole bunch of paper. This is spread out across my dining room floor.

    After this its out to the airplane, meet the captain, stow my gear, and head out to do my walkaround (what I call the warmup lap). Here are a few pictures I've taken with my cellphone camera before various flights.

    After this its back into the cockpit where I set up my nest, call air traffic control to get our clearance, verify that what the captain has put in the FMS is our actual route (or if he's lazy/busy with something else put it in myself), do a departure briefing, and run our checklists. After the cockpit check and before start check are done we sit around and wait until boarding is complete.

    Right before the door is closed, we get all the information we need to do our weight and balance and performance. One of the rampers gives us a sheet of paper telling us what kind of cargo/bags they loaded where. One of the flight attendants tells us what the passenger count is and where the empty seats are. I punch those into the FMS because now all of this is done electronically through ACARS. Whenever the ACARS is not working I get the pleasure of doing this all manually using a load sheet, some performance information off the release, and this thing.

    Once this is all complete and the door is closed, the captain calls ramp control tower (in Atlanta) requesting clearance to push. The captain then coordinates with our tug driver to make sure we are pushed when/where ATC wants us.

    This is where things begin to get busy. During pushback I start one engine using the APU. Once this engine is running (more importantly the generator is online) the APU is brought offline to save gas.

    Once the captain has gotten the salute (or in Atlanta, the half assed wave) signifying that the ground crew is disconnected and away from the aircraft we run the after start checklist, visually clear our respective side of the aircraft, set the flaps for takeoff, and then I call ramp control for taxi instructions.

    This is where we find out whether we are going to depart off the north (26L) or the south (27R or 2. We are told which side of the ramp and which direction we are supposed to go behind what airplane. "Acey XXXX follow the airtran 717 left lane north, contact ground .9" is a common instruction. With all the planes that are pushing back, waiting for gates to open up, or taxiing there can be some pretty impressive traffic jams, but ramp control usually does an awesome job keeping things moving.

    Each ramp has a roadway going down the middle and about 1/4 of the way down the ramp. Upon crossing the 1/4 roadway I switch over to ground control and let them know which ramp we're on and that we have the current airport information.

    Usually you have to stop at the edge of the ramp and wait because you can't get a word in, but its like trying to drive a car in a busy city, if you are polite and wait for everyone else to take their turn you're never going anywhere. They give us instructions on how they want us to get to the runway, then its out into the money line.

    Once established in the money line I switch over to the tower frequency. Because the captain is taxiing I do the takeoff briefing. When we are #3 in line for departure, I use the bleed air (pressurized air that is tapped off the engine's compressor) to start the other engine. I then make a short announcement to the cabin. While its good to keep the passengers informed, the reason we make this announcement is to let the flight attendants know we are ready for them to call up front and tell us the cabin is ready for departure. Then a quick runthrough of the before takeoff checklist and then off we go.

    This is taking much longer than I thought it would, so I'm going to call it a night and continue tomorrow. Hope you have enjoyed it thus far.

  • #2
    Very interesting so far, thanks
    Signatures are overrated


    • #3
      Heh, I notice you've sent me like all the pics of the CR7 you posted.

      I like this, can't wait to see it finished.


      • #4
        That's gonna cost you some cool points.... The number of them will be determined later.
        Bite me Airways.....


        • #5
          Originally posted by LRJet Guy
          That's gonna cost you some cool points.... The number of them will be determined later.
          Like I had any to begin with