Just one pilot's attempt at taking an interesting picture every trip, often with a story to go with it. Come along for the ride.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Paris 3 day - Going in circles.

I wasn't too disappointed to get a Paris trip call for the next day. It's hard to complain about having to go to work when it involves a Paris or even a Manchester trip. I tend to be a night person, so the evening departures work out better for me than the 5 a.m. trip to the Caribbean.

The Captain was again Mark, and Russ was the FB. I was happy to be flying as the FO today. Before I left, I texted a friend of mine in France who is just finishing up his training with the French Air Force. I usually let him know when I am in Paris, just in case he can make it out. He's usually many hours away by train, but he had the time off this time so he agreed to meet up with me. I first met Nicolas 6 years ago when he came to stay with our neighbor with hopes of improving his english. He wanted to apply for an ab initio Air France pilot position and part of that interview involved speaking and understanding english. Linda and I agreed to host him for two weeks at first, but we enjoyed having him so much that he ended up staying for most of that summer and the next. He didn't get the Air France job, but after the second summer with us, he applied with the French Air Force and was accepted. He's currently flying the Alpha Jet and really enjoying himself.



Mark gave me the leg for the flight over, but as we approached Paris it became apparent that neither of us would be making the landing this morning. The ceilings were around 100 feet and the visibility was between 150 and 600 meters. The autopilot can perform a Cat III Autoland down to 75 meters, so that is what we set up for. Landing turned out to be the easy part, it was the taxiing in that proved more difficult. We could only see about 300 feet in front of us, so we proceeded with caution.

I was only able to get in a 45 minute nap before I had to get back up. I rolled out of bed and walked deliriously down to the train station to meet up with Nicolas. We had lunch at a Creperie close to our hotel and then visited for the next 5 hours until he had to go back to his home in Nantes. We talked about all sorts of flying stories and he happened to ask me about flying a holding pattern in the Boeing. "It's SO much easier with the FMS, Nicolas." He lamented about holding at night with charts that were hard to read in the dimly lit cockpit. But it was funny we should talk about holding patterns...

I slept for a big portion of the evening after Nicolas left. I had sprung for the $30 internet fee which I almost never do, but I wanted to share some stuff with Nico. So after taking another 2 hour nap, I was up surfing away. But I couldn't hold out much longer and I was soon sleeping the night away. If you ever really want to get some good sleep before departing the next day on one of these trips, try the no nap after arriving in the morning method. It's a killer, but you WILL sleep well that night.

Captain Mark had brought his wife and they had a good time in Paris. He insisted the next day that I fly the landing back in Boston, which was very generous. But when we arrived in Boston, the weather was approaching Cat III minimums, so we set up for it instead. So we would be flying two legs in three days and no one would be hand flying a landing. Typically you might see one Cat III autoland in a year, so this was a little unusual.

But before we landed, almost as if to pay homage to Nicolas, we were given a hold for one turn just east of Boston. Unlike holding when you're getting your flight ratings, Boeing makes this process pretty simple. Just type in the name of the fix, the inbound radial, the length of the leg and you're set. No need to decide if the entry is a direct, parallel or teardrop, it does it for you. Here's an example of the FMS page and the resulting drawing shown on the map page.


5 comments:

Ruthann said...

And you gave ME a hard time for a dirty screen??? You let Meryl loose in the cockpit, didn't you.

Ruthann said...

And that $30 was VERY well spent, if it comes to promoting my flickr. ;)

Neil said...

Great report Kent!

Dave said...

Great report Kent, pity about the weather though.

Dave

Jamie D said...

thanks for another great report Kent.

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Exeter, New Hampshire, United States
Grew up in Alaska, went to high school and college in Washington State. Commercial pilot since 1990.

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