A Pilot’s Life Storyteller Series–S1, E13

Episode 13 picks up where we left off with episode 12 and is the final leg of our trip.  As always, thank you so much for reading. 

Flight Details

Welcome to Southwest Airlines flight 1031 with service to Atlanta, Georgia.  We’re in the same B737.  Our block time for this flight is 1 hour, 55 minutes with a flight time of 1 hour, 27 minutes.  Our planned fuel is 14,842 lbs. and our take-off weight is 132,041 lbs.  Our cruise altitude is FL380.

Route:  ARKES4 ARKES SEAZY MATLK Q77 WASUL Q77 SHRKS LAIRI LARZZ JJEDI2

1

Headed Back To Atlanta

This the final leg of a three leg journey will have us back in Atlanta before sunset.  We seem to be running slightly ahead of these storms and that’s a good thing.  We’re hoping to get out of Fort Lauderdale before a ground stop ruins our day.  With all passengers/bags loaded, the aircraft is ready to pushback for another on-time departure. 

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Taxing out to 10L.

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Blasting out of FLL

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Making our left turn to join the departure. 

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The view off the starboard side.  The combination of REX SkyForce, REX Environment Force and ActiveSky is doing an amazing job of providing the eye candy for this trip.

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ATC vectoring us around the strongest of storm cells.  We’re keeping the seatbelt signs on until we get above these clouds.  The turbulence is bouncing us around as we continue to climb up to 38,000 feet.

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Between cloud layers things have calmed down a bit.  Just a few more thousand feet and we should be in the clear. 

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Smooth skies at last.  We’ve turned off the seatbelt sign and released the cabin crew to begin cabin service. 

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I quite like the new Southwest livery.

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Beginning our descent into the Atlanta area. 

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Joining the approach for runway 27L

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Clear to land, runway 27L

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Touchdown imminent.

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Parking up at C6 at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. 

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Our day is done and what a day it’s truly been.  Once we turn the aircraft over, I have about 90 minutes to grab something to eat and head to gate C14 to take a jump seat flight to Chicago Midway.  Tomorrow I will serve as Sr. First Officer for a flight out of MDW to Detroit and back.  Then I jump seat out to Oakland where I’ll have three days off before another full day of flights on the west coast.  Fun times ahead. 

Before I close out this report, let me just show my APL progress thus far.  As you can tell from the image below, my total XP is 395.66 and climbing.  I have just over 254 XP to go before my promotion to the rank of Captain and the move over to the left seat.  As previously discussed, I’m earning $40.25 per hour at Southwest as a Sr. First Officer and now that I’m getting the hours I need, I’m content to stay at SWA for the near future. 

3

With the last payday, I purchased a headset which along with the mobile phone and flight bag is earning me an additional 25% XP on each completed flight.  While I really don’t think there is any right or wrong way to build your APL career, in my opinion (at this time) earning extra XP is more important than earning additional money bonuses.  So all my salary earnings has been going to building up the XP bonuses. 

4

See you next time.

Credits

If you are interested in experiencing your own “A Pilot’s Life”, I highly recommend the A Pilot’s Life, by SimBitWorld add-on for Prepar3D, FSX and X-Plane.  You can learn more about the A Pilot’s Life by visiting the SimBitWorld website and/or purchase APL at SimMarket.  Also, please read my full review of A Pilot’s LIfe here.

Flight Simulator:  Prepar3D v4.5 (hotfix 1)
Aircraft:  PMDG 737-700
Airline: Southwest Airlines (SWA)
ATC:  VATSIM
Airport Scenery: KFLL FSDreamTeam, KATL Imaginsim
Terrain Scenery: Orbx Global Base, Orbx Vector, Orbx openLC North America
Sky/Cloud Textures: REX 5 SkyForce and REX 5 Environment Force
Weather Generation: ActiveSky (ASP4)
Flight Planning: SimBrief, Navigraph, FlightAware, FlightRadar24

Note:  If you are interested in any of the above mentioned add-ons.  Visit my P3D Add-ons directory for links.

A Pilot’s Life Storyteller Series–S1, E12

Episode 12 picks up right where we left off with episode 11.  After a quick turnaround, we’re set to fly the second of three legs today.  Thanks for reading…

Flight Details

Welcome to Southwest Airlines flight 2098 with service to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  We’re in the same B737 we arrived in from Atlanta.  Our block time is 2 hours, 10 minutes with a flight time of 1 hour, 43 minutes.  Our block fuel is 15,480 lbs. and our take-off weight is 133,369. 

Route: DCT BLVNS Y290 BAGGS JINGL6

1

Let’s Go

I mentioned last time how quickly the MSY ground crew unloaded bags, they are equally as fast in getting them loaded. 

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With bags loaded, the catering crew is quickly dropping off drinks, ice and some of those wonderful Southwest FREE snacks.  Yum

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Push back underway.  We’ll be in the air again shortly. 

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We’re not wasting any time…..on-time departure? Check!

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Making our turn with the Mississippi River off the left wing. 

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We look to be running from another approaching storm.

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Climbing up to FL370.

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Leaving Louisiana direct Gulf of Mexico. 

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Watching and monitoring a storm over the Gulf. 

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Land ho…That’s Florida down below.

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More lightning down below.  Shouldn’t be an issue on the arrival.  However, this storm might be a consideration for our third leg up to Atlanta.  Time will tell….

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On final approach

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Short final for runway 10L

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On the ground in Ft. Lauderdale. 

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As was the case in New Orleans, we’re on a tight schedule to deboard our passengers and get the aircraft turned around and headed back to Atlanta.  Tune in next time for the 3rd leg of this journey.

Credits

If you are interested in experiencing your own “A Pilot’s Life”, I highly recommend the A Pilot’s Life, by SimBitWorld add-on for Prepar3D, FSX and X-Plane.  You can learn more about the A Pilot’s Life by visiting the SimBitWorld website and/or purchase APL at SimMarket.  Also, please read my full review of A Pilot’s LIfe here.

Flight Simulator:  Prepar3D v4.5 (hotfix 1)
Aircraft:  PMDG 737-700
Airline: Southwest Airlines (SWA)
ATC:  VATSIM
Airport Scenery: KMSY LatinVFR, KFLL FSDreamTeam
Terrain Scenery: Orbx Global Base, Orbx Vector, Orbx openLC North America
Sky/Cloud Textures: REX 5 SkyForce and REX 5 Environment Force
Weather Generation: ActiveSky (ASP4)
Flight Planning: SimBrief, Navigraph, FlightAware, FlightRadar24

Note:  If you are interested in any of the above mentioned add-ons.  Visit my P3D Add-ons directory for links.

A Pilot’s Life Storyteller Series–S1, E11

As a beta tester for A Pilot’s Life, I needed to change airlines to test new features which debuted with version 1.33 which was released in late June.  These new features (including multi-hub and multi-leg routes is a very nice addition to an already wonderful add-on application.  If you’re not a user of A Pilot’s Life, I encourage you to check it out.  You won’t be disappointed.  Links can be found below.

Present Day

I hit the breaking point with Alaska Airlines.  While I truly enjoyed my time both in Seattle and San Francisco, I just wasn’t getting enough flight hours.  I’m hoping to eventually make Captain and  of course I still need to earn a living.  After arriving back to SFO from Palm Springs, I was told my next flight wouldn’t be for another week.  So I went home and called the recruiter which had contacted me with an offer from Southwest Airlines. 

At this point I was getting pretty desperate.  While each of my career moves have been working my way up both the career ladder as well as the salary scale.  I just wanted to work and fly.  Southwest Airlines wanted to meet with me and they flew me down to Dallas.  Things just clicked and soon I was offered a position as Sr. First Officer and they even bumped by pay rate up to over $40.00 per hour.  WOW. 

While I still hope to land a job with American Airlines (at some point), I’m willing to wait until I reach Captain if necessary.  Southwest has assured me that if I’m willing to work, they’ll certainly keep me busy.  The other exciting them I’m looking forward to with SWA is their multi-leg route structure.  I’ll be honest, after a while of flying hub/spoke flights, one gets a little bored.  While some SWA flights are hub/spoke, the majority are multi-leg routes and I’m really looking forward to this.  So for now, I’m going to keep my apartment in San Fran and see how things unfold over the coming weeks. 

Flight Details

Today we’re operating the first of three flights out of Hotlanta (Atlanta).  Yes, it is HOT, HOT, HOT today.  Our first leg will have us flying down to the Big Easy (KMSY) then over to Fort Lauderdale (KFLL) then back to Atlanta.  I guess when Southwest said they could keep me busy, they actually meant it. 

For the first leg, we’re operating Southwest Airlines flight 5716 with service to New Orleans, Louisiana in the Boeing 737-700.  Our block time today is 1 hour, 45 minutes with a flight time of 1 hour, 10 minutes at a cruising altitude of 38,000 feet.  Our block fuel is 12,736 lbs with take-off weight of 126,715 lbs.

Route: ATL5 POUNC DCT GRGIA DCT SJI SLIDD2

1

It’s Time to Feel the Love

I’ve gotta say, I enjoyed my time with Sun Country (gosh that feels like ages ago) and I did enjoy most of my time with Alaska.  But I must admit that the folks at Southwest are some of the friendliest I’ve met. 

After a quick walk-around inspection, we’re all buttoned up and ready to roll out of here.  I think the captain knows what might happen with these storm clouds and he’s not wanting to waste anytime. 

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The Atlanta airport is HUGE and a very busy place.  Usually….

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Taxing out to our active runway 27R. 

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Cleared for take-off, 27R

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Wheels up, my inaugural flight with Southwest Airlines is underway. 

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Making our left turn direct POUNC and climbing up to 10,000.

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Cleared up to FL380

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After a relatively short cruise, we’ve started our descent.  The Gulf of Mexico is just in the distance. 

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The Gulf of Mexico is normally not this blue. 

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Nice clouds

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The Huey P. Long Bridge which spans the Mississippi River and the New Orleans skyline. 

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Lake Pontchartrain just off the right wing.

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Clear the visual for runway 29.

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Seconds from touchdown

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The ground crew and baggage handlers working hard to get us turned around quickly. 

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This was a wonderful first leg of what I’m sure will be a fantastic trip.  I’m really excited about the opportunity fly for Southwest and build my career. 

Credits

If you are interested in experiencing your own “A Pilot’s Life”, I highly recommend the A Pilot’s Life, by SimBitWorld add-on for Prepar3D, FSX and X-Plane.  You can learn more about the A Pilot’s Life by visiting the SimBitWorld website and/or purchase APL at SimMarket.  Also, please read my full review of A Pilot’s LIfe here.

Flight Simulator:  Prepar3D v4.5 (hotfix 1)
Aircraft:  PMDG 737-700
Airline: Southwest Airlines (SWA)
ATC:  VATSIM
Airport Scenery: KATL Imaginsim, KMSY LatinVFR
Terrain Scenery: Orbx Global Base, Orbx Vector, Orbx openLC North America
Sky/Cloud Textures: REX 5 SkyForce and REX 5 Environment Force
Weather Generation: ActiveSky (ASP4)
Flight Planning: SimBrief, Navigraph, FlightAware, FlightRadar24

Note:  If you are interested in any of the above mentioned add-ons.  Visit my P3D Add-ons directory for links.

A Pilot’s Life Storyteller Series–S1, E10

The situation is getting worse. Since returning from Portland, it’s been more than 10 days since I’ve worked and I’m looking at my options.  Before I accepted the transfer to San Francisco, I had been contacted by Southwest Airlines.  I’m currently in discussions and weighing all my options.  Something has to change.  But for now, I have a trip down to Palm Springs and back.  At least I’m flying…at least I’m working.

Flight Details

Our flight today is Alaska flight 596 with service to Palm Springs.  We’re in the B738.  Our block time is 1 hour and 33 minutes, with flight time of just over 1 hour.  Our cruising altitude is 31,000 and we’re taking 13,780 lbs of fuel. 

Route:  SFO WAGES KAYEX LOSHN CLASN SIZLR3

1

Time To Go

We’re all buttoned up and just waiting for the jetway to be moved and the tug to connect to us. 

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Taxing out to 01L.  Looks like a United Airbus is about to depart. 

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Wheels up and we’re off

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Making our turn around SFO.  I do enjoy this departure.

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Bye-Bye SFO, see you later this evening.

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Beginning our descent into Palm Springs

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I’m digging this approach

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Looks warm down there

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Palm Springs, California

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Making our turn to join the visual approach 31L

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Two Red, Two White….We’re Alright!

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Parked up at the gate in Palm Springs.  I believe this is the Sonny Bono (as in Sonny and Cher) concourse.  Has that Denver look to it. 

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I have some thinking and planning to do.  I really don’t want to make a change at this time, but at the same time I need to work.  Decisions, decisions….

Credits

If you are interested in experiencing your own “A Pilot’s Life”, I highly recommend the A Pilot’s Life, by SimBitWorld add-on for Prepar3D, FSX and X-Plane.  You can learn more about the A Pilot’s Life by visiting the SimBitWorld website and/or purchase APL at SimMarket.  Also, please read my full review of A Pilot’s LIfe here.

Flight Simulator:  Prepar3D v4.5 (hotfix 1)
Aircraft:  PMDG 737-900
Airline: Alaska Airlines (ASA)
ATC:  VATSIM
Airport Scenery: KSFO Flightbeam, KPSP Orbx
Terrain Scenery: Orbx Global Base, Orbx Vector, Orbx openLC North America, Orbx Northern California, Orbx Southern California
Sky/Cloud Textures: REX 5 SkyForce and REX 5 Environment Force
Weather Generation: ActiveSky (ASP4)
Flight Planning: SimBrief, Navigraph, FlightAware, FlightRadar24

Note:  If you are interested in any of the above mentioned add-ons.  Visit my P3D Add-ons directory for links.

A Pilot’s Life Storyteller Series–S1, E9

While I’ve only been based at SFO a short time, I’m starting to sense a bit of an uneasy feeling.  Some of our pilots have had their schedules cut and others temporarily furloughed.  While I enjoy a relaxed schedule, I also need to work.  After all, if we’re not flying…we’re not earning a living.  I’m hopeful this is only short-term problem as it’s been over a week between flights for me.  But hey…today I’m flying up to Portland and back. 

Flight Details

I’m back in the right-hand seat and flying with a captain I’ve worked with before.  We get along very well.  He’s been my mentor for a while now and I’m always pleased to serve as his FO.  In this case as is SFO at SFO.  Smile   Perhaps I’ll have some time to speak to him and get a better understanding of what all is going on. 

Our flight today is Alaska flight 800 in the Boeing 737-900 up to Portland (KPDX).  Our alternate will be my old stomping grounds of Sea-Tac.  Our block time today is just under 2 hours.  We’re taking 16,000 lbs of fuel and have a planned cruising altitude of 34,000. 

Route:  TRUKN2 GRTFL DCT MACHU TMBRS2

1

It’s Time To Go

Today we’re in the “More To Love” livery which celebrates the merger between Alaska and Virgin America. 

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No flight can begin without a walk-around.

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Time for push-back and hopefully an on-time departure.  Today our taxi is a little longer as we’re departing from 28L.

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Let’s Roll

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Wheel’s Up

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Climbing to cruise

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The view on this side of the aircraft won’t change much as we fly up the coast of California into Oregon.

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I believe that’s Mt. Hood just behind us. 

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Clouds are building as we begin our descent into Portland. 

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Making our turn to join the localizer for 10R

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The Columbia River just below. 

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Cleared to land 10R

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Nice

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Credits

If you are interested in experiencing your own “A Pilot’s Life”, I highly recommend the A Pilot’s Life, by SimBitWorld add-on for Prepar3D, FSX and X-Plane.  You can learn more about the A Pilot’s Life by visiting the SimBitWorld website and/or purchase APL at SimMarket.  Also, please read my full review of A Pilot’s LIfe here.

Flight Simulator:  Prepar3D v4.5 (hotfix 1)
Aircraft:  PMDG 737-900
Airline: Alaska Airlines (ASA)
ATC:  VATSIM
Airport Scenery: KSFO Flightbeam, KPDX Flightbeam
Terrain Scenery: Orbx Global Base, Orbx Vector, Orbx openLC North America, Orbx Northern California, Orbx Southern California, Orbx Pacific Northwest
Sky/Cloud Textures: REX 5 SkyForce and REX 5 Environment Force
Weather Generation: ActiveSky (ASP4)
Flight Planning: SimBrief, Navigraph, FlightAware, FlightRadar24

Note:  If you are interested in any of the above mentioned add-ons.  Visit my P3D Add-ons directory for links.

A Pilot’s Life Storyteller Series–S1, E8

Our new San Francisco adventure starts now and I’m really excited about this new opportunity.  My first flight out of SFO will be a trip over to Vegas and back in the 737-800.  I’ve flown into and out of SFO many times, but there’s something a little different about this first flight out, as now I’m based here.  The good news is I’ve been really made to feel welcome by all the SFO based team and I’m starting to settle into my new home. 

Flight Details

Today I’m serving as Sr. First Officer on Alaska flight 1932 with service to Las Vegas.  Our flight today is in the Boeing 737-800.  Our block time for this trip is 1 hour, 40 minutes and we require 14, 650 lbs. of fuel and our take-off weight is just over 148,000 lbs.  This is a late afternoon flight and will be arriving into Vegas just around sunset. 

Route:  WESLA4 NTELL Q162 ESSAA DCT BTY SUNST4

1

Let’s Go Already

Our 738 is at the gate and being prepped for the flight.  As Sr. First Officer, it’s my job to perform the walk around. 

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We start at the front and make our way around. 

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Inspecting the engine and control surfaces.

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Making sure all lights are working as they should.

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Then to the rear of the aircraft.

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Tires and gear all look good.  It’s time to head back inside.

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Some things are still branded with Virgin America, but that will soon change I’m sure.  Time for push-back.

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Push-back and two successful engine starts.  It’s time to taxi out to 01L.  Don’t worry…it’s a short taxi. 

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Line up and wait.  We’re waiting on a United B788 landing on 28L. 

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Blasting off 01L at KSFO on our way to Vegas.

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Making our left turn to circle around SFO and join the departure out of the Bay area.

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Climbing up to FL370. 

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The sun is setting and the moon is rising as we enter our cruise phase. 

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Beginning our descent on the Las Vegas SUNST4 Arrival.

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The view from my office window.

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Beautiful sunset

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The Vegas strip just off our left side.

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On final approach.

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Cleared to land

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Parked at the gate and deboarding.  We’re set to return to SFO tonight.

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Credits

If you are interested in experiencing your own “A Pilot’s Life”, I highly recommend the A Pilot’s Life, by SimBitWorld add-on for Prepar3D, FSX and X-Plane.  You can learn more about the A Pilot’s Life by visiting the SimBitWorld website and/or purchase APL at SimMarket.  Also, please read my full review of A Pilot’s LIfe here.

Flight Simulator:  Prepar3D v4.5 (hotfix 1)
Aircraft:  PMDG 737-800
Airline: Alaska Airlines (ASA)
ATC:  VATSIM
Airport Scenery: KSFO Flightbeam, FlyTampa KLAS
Terrain Scenery: Orbx Global Base, Orbx Vector, Orbx openLC North America, Orbx Northern California, Orbx Southern California
Sky/Cloud Textures: REX 5 SkyForce and REX 5 Environment Force
Weather Generation: ActiveSky (ASP4)
Flight Planning: SimBrief, Navigraph, FlightAware, FlightRadar24

Note:  If you are interested in any of the above mentioned add-ons.  Visit my P3D Add-ons directory for links.

A Pilot’s Life Storyteller Series–S1, E7

Just a little clarification.  As my storyteller series continues to unfold, I’m going to be taking a new job in APL with Virgin America.  As Virgin America was acquired by Alaska Airlines and fully merged in 2018, for the sake of this continuing story line…I’m going to continue to fly for Alaska.  But be based in San Francisco.  APL will think of me employed by Virgin America…but I’ll follow the real world situation and consider myself still employed by Alaska.  Confused?  Hopefully not….

Present Day

Image result for flight deck door images

Upon returning from the Las Vegas trip, I had a few days off and needed to give serious thought to my future plans.  The way I saw it, I had three possible doors to open and walk through.  Thankfully I knew what was behind each door.  The hard part was deciding.  Would it be door #1, door #2 or door #3?
I also suppose there could have been a 4th option, but I just don’t have the brain power to think about that option right now. 

Door #1 is basically stay with Alaska and stay in Seattle.  I could continue flying mostly the same routes I’ve been flying. 

Door #2 would have me accept the transfer down to San Francisco and operate the old Virgin America routes.  Most likely I would stay in the Boeing 73x aircraft.  But could certainly work through the process of getting type rated on the Airbus A320.  This option would certainly better assist me down the road. 

Door #3 is to look at the list of offers I have available.  I really didn’t want to take a step back in pay and my ultimate goal is to eventually get hired on by a 5 star airline.  As far as I’m concerned, this can wait until I reach the rank of captain.  I’m really in no rush. 

A part of me feels that Alaska needs/wants me to go to San Fran.  After all, if they didn’t…they wouldn’t have offered it.  So I must be doing something right.  Again…decisions, decisions. 

OK….

Done!  We’re moving to the Bay Area.  Might as well. 

Flight Details

All my belongings are packed and being moved down to the San Francisco area.  My car is also being shipped down and while I’m still in Seattle, I managed to get assigned to a flight down.  Might as well earn some money and XP in the process right?  Right!

Today I’ll be serving as Sr. First Officer on Alaska flight 1740 with non-stop service to San Francisco.  Our flight today is in the Boeing 737-800 with a total block fuel of 17,141 lbs. and a take-off weight of 159,232 lbs.  Our block time is 2 hours and 10 minutes and our cruising altitude is 35,000.

Route:  HAROB6 FEPOT Q3 FOWND MLBEC BDEGA3

2

Time To Go

The feeling is somewhat bitter sweet.  While I know this won’t be the last time I fly into Sea-Tac, I’ve truly enjoyed calling this airport home.  I’ve enjoyed living in the Seattle area, but looking forward to finding out what life is like in San Fran. While I know this isn’t permanent, SFO will be my new home for the foreseeable future. 

For my big send off, Alaska has matched me up with one of the old black/white liveries.  She’s a classic for sure and I’m honored to have one last opportunity to fly this livery before they are all repainted.  Obviously, Alaska has been most concerned with getting all the Virgin America Airbus aircraft updated first.  After all, branding means everything. 

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We’re all buttoned up and ready to push back. 

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Push back the Boeing 737-900

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Holding short runway 16L.  We all bow to the Queen.  A Boeing 747-400 landing 16L.

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Once the Queen vacated the runway, it was our time to blast off for SFO.  Bye Bye Sea-Tac.  See you sometime soon.

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Turning to join our departure course. 

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Climbing out above the clouds. 

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Descending into what will be my new home for a while.  Alcatraz and the Bay Bridge just out of the Captains window. 

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Silicon Valley

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Clear to land, runway 25L

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Almost there….

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Short final for 25L. 

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At the gate, SFO.

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The sign above the door says it all.  Or at least tells us we landed at the correct airport.  This day and age, that fact is not always a given.

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I’m here and a new adventure begins at SFO.  We have a busy schedule of flights which start almost immediately.  For me, A Pilot’s Life has really helped to give purpose to my virtual flying.  APL makes you think, it makes you plan and it makes you work hard to gain both experience as well as money. 

I truly hope you are enjoying this storyteller series and I hope you’ll tune back in for the next episode next week. 

Thanks again and happy flying!

Jerry

Credits

If you are interested in experiencing your own “A Pilot’s Life”, I highly recommend the A Pilot’s Life, by SimBitWorld add-on for Prepar3D, FSX and X-Plane.  You can learn more about the A Pilot’s Life by visiting the SimBitWorld website and/or purchase APL at SimMarket.  Also, please read my full review of A Pilot’s LIfe here.

Flight Simulator:  Prepar3D v4.5 (hotfix 1)
Aircraft:  PMDG 737-900
Airline: Alaska Airlines (ASA)
ATC:  VATSIM
Airport Scenery: KSEA Drzewiecki Design, KSFO Flightbeam
Terrain Scenery: Orbx Global Base, Orbx Vector, Orbx openLC North America, Orbx NA Pacific Northwest, Orbx Northern California, Orbx Southern California
Sky/Cloud Textures: REX 5 SkyForce and REX 5 Environment Force
Weather Generation: ActiveSky (ASP4)
Flight Planning: SimBrief, Navigraph, FlightAware, FlightRadar24

Note:  If you are interested in any of the above mentioned add-ons.  Visit my P3D Add-ons directory for links.

A Pilot’s Life Storyteller Series–S1, E6

Hello and welcome back to another installment of my “A Pilot’s Life Storyteller Series”.  As you might recall when we were last together, we landed in Las Vegas (Alaska Flight 634) and were due to return back to Seattle that afternoon/evening.  Let’s get right into the action.

Present Day

I’m still contemplating my options as it relates to my career with Alaska.  I will admit that a change of scenery will do well for me.  My contract with Alaska is up and in reviewing the job offers out there, I do have options. 

As you can see below, Alaska has offered me the option to move to San Francisco and work in what was the old Virgin America division.  The pay is a step forward as my current pay rate is $39.39 per hour and Alaska is offering me $39.55.  The next best choice for me would be to leave Alaska and of that list, Southwest Airlines is the most attractive.  Southwest has offered me a job before and each time they up the ante.  So I’d rather keep moving up if at all possible.  Decisions…decisions.

4

Flight Details

This is the return flight from Las Vegas back to Seattle, Alaska flight 635.  Our planned fuel for this trip back to Seattle is 19,640 lbs and our TOW is 161,731.  Our cruising altitude will be 34,000 with a total block time of 2 hours and 36 minutes. 

Flight Plan: SHEAD1 OAL LOMIA LKV HAWKZ7

Are you Ready?

We’re running slightly late as we had a passenger who hadn’t boarded, so their bags had to be removed from the aircraft as standard procedure.  The ground crew needs to move a cart out of the way and then bring the tug around.  We’ll be pushing back in just a few minutes. 

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Push back underway and along with that is engine start. 

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Tug disconnected and we’re given the all clear. 

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Leaving Las Vegas

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Climbing out on our departure SID. 

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A noticeable Washington landmark just above the clouds off the right wing.  (Mount Rainer)

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Typical cloudy afternoon as we make our way along the arrival route.

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The view from my office window.

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Almost home as we fly near downtown Seattle. 

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Hello Boeing…..

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Safely back where we started about 6 hours earlier.

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I’m not scheduled to fly for a few days and need to give Alaska Airlines my decision by end of the week if I want to consider the move to SFO.  I’ll admit, I’m certainly leaning in that direction. 

Credits

If you are interested in experiencing your own “A Pilot’s Life”, I highly recommend the A Pilot’s Life, by SimBitWorld add-on for Prepar3D, FSX and X-Plane.  You can learn more about the A Pilot’s Life by visiting the SimBitWorld website and/or purchase APL at SimMarket.  Also, please read my full review of A Pilot’s LIfe here.

Flight Simulator:  Prepar3D v4.5 (hotfix 1)
Aircraft:  PMDG 737-900
Airline: Alaska Airlines (ASA)
ATC:  VATSIM
Airport Scenery: KSEA Drzewiecki Design, KLAS FlyTampa
Terrain Scenery: Orbx Global Base, Orbx Vector, Orbx openLC North America, Orbx NA Pacific Northwest, Orbx Northern California, Orbx Southern California
Sky/Cloud Textures: REX 5 SkyForce and REX 5 Environment Force
Weather Generation: ActiveSky (ASP4)
Flight Planning: SimBrief, Navigraph, FlightAware, FlightRadar24

Note:  If you are interested in any of the above mentioned add-ons.  Visit my P3D Add-ons directory for links.

A Pilot’s Life Storyteller Series–S1, E5

Good morning, good afternoon and/or good evening and thank you for returning to our 5th installment in this Storyteller series focusing on A Pilot’s Life.  A few things to catch you up on.  In the last installment, we traveled from Ketchikan back to Seattle.  This was the last flight of the month as I completed it on 31 May. As I get paid monthly, I received a nice paycheck on 1 June and have already made a few strategic purchases which will assist me in gaining more XP per flight.  As you can see from the screenshot below of the main APL program screen, my bank account has had a nice $2,253.60 in it.

1

After purchasing two items in the APL Shop which consisted of a mobile phone and a flight bag, I now only have $983.60.  These two purchases will earn me an additional 15% XP per each flight and help me to gain my promotion to the rank of Captain just a little quicker. 

While I could have purchased the headset instead of the mobile phone and gained a total of 20% XP, I’m trying to be somewhat practical with these purchases.  After all, who doesn’t own a cell phone in this day and age.  Next month I’ll make additional purchases.

2

Present Day

I’m hearing about an opportunity I may soon have to transfer down to San Francisco.  As a Sr. First Officer who will soon be moving up and over to the left seat as Captain, I suppose Alaska is looking to ensure I stay both motivated as well keep from burning out by flying back and forth from Sea-Tac.  I must admit that I do like the idea of a change of scenery.  SFO was the main hub for Virgin America and after the merger, Alaska kept SFO as a hub. I’ll be sure and keep you informed if this move becomes reality. 

Flight Details

Today we’re operating Alaska flight 634 with service from Seattle down to Las Vegas.  Our flight departs at 10:30 AM.  Our planned fuel for this trip is 31,335 lbs and our take off weight is 162,046 lbs. with a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet.  Our block time is 2 hours and 38 minutes. 

Flight Plan: SUMMA1 LKV RYANN J92 BTY SUNST4

3

Let’s Get Going

This will be a turnaround flight for me.  While I enjoy the overnight stays in Vegas, my bank account can do without the possible gambling losses which might be incurred if I were to not have the best of luck.  Let’s face it, my luck in Vegas the past few trips hasn’t been the best.  I lost BIG TIME at the roulette table and ended up falling off the mechanical bull.  But as they say….what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

Today we’re flying the Boeing 737-900 with the special 100th year Boeing livery.  ServAir is stocking up the aircraft galley.

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Next of course comes the bags.  We’re set for an on-time departure. 

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A little help from our friends…

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Holding short at 16L

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Blasting off and on the way to Vegas.

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Just a little hazy this morning.  We’re now above the clouds of the Seattle area.  Nothing but clear skies to Vegas.

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Ladies and gentlemen, if you direct your attention to the left side of the aircraft you’ll see the Vegas strip where I’m sure all of your hard earned money will be left.  Welcome to Vegas Baby!

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Typical Vegas weather has us landing on the 26’s. 

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Lake Mead in the background. 

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Easy does it.  I personally love this photo.  The sky, the shadows. 

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Some Southwest aircraft parked at LAS.

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At our gate and shutting down.  The ground crew needs to get us turned around in less than an hour. 

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That’s all for now.  Tune back in next time for the flight back to Seattle. 

Credits

If you are interested in experiencing your own “A Pilot’s Life”, I highly recommend the A Pilot’s Life, by SimBitWorld add-on for Prepar3D, FSX and X-Plane.  You can learn more about the A Pilot’s Life by visiting the SimBitWorld website and/or purchase APL at SimMarket.  Also, please read my full review of A Pilot’s LIfe here.

Flight Simulator:  Prepar3D v4.5 (hotfix 1)
Aircraft:  PMDG 737-900
Airline: Alaska Airlines (ASA)
ATC:  VATSIM
Airport Scenery: KSEA Drzewiecki Design, KLAS FlyTampa
Terrain Scenery: Orbx Global Base, Orbx Vector, Orbx openLC North America, Orbx NA Pacific Northwest, Orbx Northern California, Orbx Southern California
Sky/Cloud Textures: REX 5 SkyForce and REX 5 Environment Force
Weather Generation: ActiveSky (ASP4)
Flight Planning: SimBrief, Navigraph, FlightAware, FlightRadar24

Note:  If you are interested in any of the above mentioned add-ons.  Visit my P3D Add-ons directory for links.

A Pilot’s Life Storyteller Series–S1, E4

My R&R break in Ketchikan has drawn to a close and it’s time for me to get back to work.  Perhaps not as much as I want to, but truly need to.  It’s quickly approaching the end of the month of May (as I’m writing this) and as we only get paid once per month, I need to rack up as many flight hours as possible.  This flight back to Seattle will be the last flight of the month.  As also mentioned on the S1, E2 update, this flight also completes my current schedule with Alaska.  I will receive another schedule upon my return to Sea-Tac.  I’m still thinking about my future and most likely will discuss that next time.

Present Day

I truly enjoyed the past few days I’ve spent in Ketchikan.  But it’s time for me to return back to work.  Once again we have beautiful weather here and this will be a late afternoon departure back to Seattle.  While the Ketchikan area has many endearing qualities, I think the people are what I truly like about my visits here. 

Flight Details

Today we’re operating Alaska flight 9248 with non-stop service from Ketchikan back to Seattle.  This flight originated in Anchorage and many of our passengers were part of that flight.  Our flight departs at 19:35. Our planned fuel for this trip is 15,743 lbs and our take-off weight is 149,457 lbs. with a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet.  Block time is 2 hours. 

Flight Plan: ANN YJQ YYJ MARNR7

1

Let’s get going…

We’re in our standard livery today for this B738.  We’re ready to go and just waiting on the ground crew to disconnect ground services and get the tug connected.  Time is money…

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Cleared to start engines and engine #2 is spinning up. 

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As we taxi up the hill towards runway 11, the sun is setting. 

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We’re lined up and waiting for our take-off clearance.  We had a departing Cessna in front of us.  While we have no worries from his lack of wake turbulence, the last thing that pilot wants to see in his rear-view mirror is a Boeing 738.  Winking smile  But he’s headed for Sitka, so he’ll be turning and proceeding NW soon.

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With the departing Cessna out of the way, it’s wheels up for Alaska 9248. 

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Continuing our climb up to FL350. 

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Beautiful weather for flying.

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That just about does it for the sun for this day. 

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And now for the wing view. 

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Of course the problem with flying at night is…..

Cleared to land runway 16L at Sea-Tac.

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Just a few more seconds…..

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There we go…a smooth touchdown. Yea…I suppose it’s also good to be back home. 

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Parked at the gate and beginning our shutdown checklist. 

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As previously stated, this flight marks the end of my schedule.  We get 10 flights scheduled to us at one time.  My new schedule set has me returning back to Las Vegas, Portland, San Francisco, Salt Lake City and finally back up to Juneau. 

4

As I don’t want to commit to any decisions at this time, I most likely will take the Las Vegas flights out and back.  I should then be close to the end of the 7 day waiting period on my Sr. First Officer contract and will look at all my options.  The deciding factors will be hourly salary and routes.  As you can tell from the image below, these are the flights I’ve completed with Sun Country (based in KMSP) and Alaska (based in Seattle).  I’d also still love to get hired by a 5 star airline like American, United etc.  Time will tell.

5

Thanks for reading.  I’ll keep you posted on my decisions.  Talk to you once again soon.

Credits

If you are interested in experiencing your own “A Pilot’s Life”, I highly recommend the A Pilot’s Life, by SimBitWorld add-on for Prepar3D, FSX and X-Plane.  You can learn more about the A Pilot’s Life by visiting the SimBitWorld website and/or purchase APL at SimMarket.  Also, please read my full review of A Pilot’s LIfe here.

Flight Simulator:  Prepar3D v4.5 (hotfix 1)
Aircraft:  PMDG 737-800
Airline: Alaska Airlines (ASA)
ATC:  VATSIM
Airport Scenery: KSEA Drzewiecki Design, Orbx Ketchikan
Terrain Scenery: Orbx Global Base, Orbx Vector, Orbx openLC North America, Orbx NA Pacific Northwest, NA Pacific Fjords
Sky/Cloud Textures: REX 5 SkyForce and REX 5 Environment Force
Weather Generation: ActiveSky (ASP4)
Flight Planning: SimBrief, Navigraph, FlightAware, FlightRadar24

Note:  If you are interested in any of the above mentioned add-ons.  Visit my P3D Add-ons directory for links.

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