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.

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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.

A Pilot’s Life Storyteller Series–S1, E3

Thank you for returning for another edition of our “A Pilot’s Life” Storyteller series.  When we were last together (S1, E2) I had just completed a flight from Seattle up to Ketchikan, Alaska.  I mentioned I planned to spend a few days of R&R while there.  So this edition won’t really be so much about the APL application as it’s just going to serve as a brief break from flying jets and give me some time to enjoy flying a little lower and slower and taking in all the eye candy that is this region of Alaska and Canada.

Present Day

I’ve been in Ketchikan the past couple of days and have just one full day before I’m due to return back to Seattle on Alaska flight 9249.   This will complete my third schedule set with Alaska and I’ll apply for a new set and then see how things look once I’m eligible to apply for other airlines.  But this week has all been about having some fun.  The weather has been truly amazing with VFR flight conditions each day.  So far I’ve managed to spend some time flying, fishing and just doing a little exploring.  Mostly I’ve been able to relax and enjoy my time off.  They say “membership has its privileges” and rightfully so.  This is a pretty darn good life if you ask me. 

As this is my last full day, I thought I would rent a Cessna 182 and depart Ketchikan and head east to Stewart, British Columbia, Canada.  As I’m also trying to make friends where I can, I asked if there was anything which needed to go to or picked up from Stewart.  As long as it would safely fit in a 182, I’m happy to take it.  I’m really just planning to fly to Stewart, land and have lunch.  Perhaps stroll through town and then head back to Ketchikan. 

Doug (the guy that works at the rental desk) knows a guy that knows a guy that knows this other guy.  Anyway, there is a package on Annette Island which needs to go to Dawson Creek.  The timing isn’t an issue and they figure someone in Stewart will move it along.  So the plan will be to depart Ketchikan, fly the 18nm to Annette Island, load the package and then head 76nm northeast to Stewart, BC.  Sounds like a fun day. 

1

Of course, we’re not going to fly as the crow would.  Especially not on the second leg.  I’ll take the safer and longer route and fly along the Portland Canal which makes up the border between the US (Alaska) and British Columbia (Canada). 

It’s mid-morning and I show up at the Ketchikan rental facility and directed down to the lower level where my Cessna 182 is waiting for me.

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As I’m taxing up the ramp, I see another Alaska 737-800 has just arrived.  Most likely from Seattle. 

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The wind this morning is out of the north, so we’ll be departing runway 29. 

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Holding short runway 29 awaiting an approaching DHC-2 Beaver on final. 

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We’re issued our take-off clearance and we get moving.  We were allowed to do a 180 degree turn and proceed direct to Annette Island. 

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Runway in sight, first leg is almost in the books. 

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We accept the package and quickly resume our travels.  My stomach is already growling.  I’ve heard there is a little cafe that makes a great burger in Stewart.

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We’re back in the air and made our way across Duke Island and the Revilagigedo Channel. We’re now entering the canal.  At this point in our flight we experienced a bit of turbulence as we crossed the channel.  But all seems smooth for now. 

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Besides my stomach rumbling, we’re in no hurry and making great time.  This second leg is obviously made longer since we didn’t go direct.  But hey…I’m on vacation and the weather is amazing.  So are the views.

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At this point in the flight I’ve switched the auto-pilot off and just enjoying hand flying the aircraft along the canal.  The air is nice and smooth. 

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I begin the descent into Stewart and the ride gets pretty bumpy and choppy. 

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The approach is an easy one.  But at this point in the flight I’m feeling some pretty gnarly cross-wind action.  Each time I think about taking a screenshot, I’m reminded I need to concentrate. 

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On the ground, safely….not too sure just how hungry I am at this point.  But I’m sure once I park up and walk around a bit I’ll feel better.

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Just spoke to the guy in the yellow shirt.  He landed about 10 minutes before I did.  I swear I saw him kneel down and kiss the ground just a minute ago.  LOL  It was a fun approach and landing.  I’m thankful for rudder pedals. 

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Time to go find that $100 hamburger now.  That older gentleman sitting down over there will take the package from me. 

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It’s been a fun, short and very adventurous flight.  Looking forward to the return later this afternoon, then it’s back in the Boeing 738 and back to Sea-Tac. 

Thanks for reading!

JT

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:  A2A Cessna 182
Airline: n/a
ATC:  VATSIM
Airport Scenery: Orbx Ketchikan (PAKT), Orbx Stewart (CZST)
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, SkyVector

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, E2

Thank you for returning for another edition in the “A Pilot’s Life” Storyteller series.  I’m still trying to work out the title format I’ll use.  For now, I’m going with Series 1, Edition 2.  In each of these updates, I’ll spend a little bit of time catching you up on flights I don’t cover in detail.  This way you are somewhat aware of the progress I’m making as I continue my APL career. 

After arriving at Sea-Tac from our flight from San Francisco (S1, E1), I had a trip out to Salt Lake City and back to Sea-Tac that same day.  These two flights increased my APL XP up to 235.20.  I have just over 414 XP points to accumulate until I’m eligible for my promotion to the rank of Captain.  (See below)

1

In addition, this trip up to Ketchikan and back will complete this assigned schedule set.  As I can’t consider options from other airlines at this time, I’ll need to accept at least one more schedule with Alaska.  If you are new to APL or not familiar with how it works, once you accept a position at a new airline or you receive a promotion during your employment with an airline, you can’t accept a new offer until a period of 7 calendar days have passed.  As I was promoted to Sr. First Officer on 26 May, I will not be eligible to accept or apply for any other jobs until 2 June. 

2

As for my plan after 2 June, well…..I really don’t know.  I first will take a look at the job offers I receive.  If these are lucrative enough, I will certainly consider them.  The challenge for me is with 3rd party add-on scenery.   The add-on airport scenery I own is mostly concentrated in the USA.  So accepting a job with any of the major US based carriers will certainly give me plenty of opportunities.  However, accepting a job with a European (or any other region) will certainly give me some interesting route opportunities which obviously will lead to some interesting stories to tell.  Again…time will tell. 

Present Day

The day has come for my flight up to Ketchikan, Alaska.  A number of years ago, I spent some time up in Ketchikan piloting small bush and float planes hauling paying customers to secluded hunting and fishing spots.  While there isn’t much money to be made (certainly compared to a commercial airline pilot), I could certainly see myself returning back to the slower life which can be found in places like Ketchikan and Juneau at some point in the future.  But of course, time will tell.   

The flight today is an afternoon flight out of Sea-Tac in the Boeing 737-800.  We’re in our special livery titled “Spirit of the Islands”.  You can read more about this special livery here or watch the short video below.  The livery honors the Aloha State. 

The weather today in Seattle is in rare form.  Today is one of those days where (while it’s a great day to fly) you are almost wishing you were flying so you can actually get outside and do something.  But I need the work as I am still paying off the student loans.  The great news is I have arranged for a few days R&R in Ketchikan.  I am going to visit some friends for a few days and will catch a flight back to Seattle later in the week.  Weather permitting, I might even rent a float plane and do some exploring. 

Flight Details

Today we’re operating Alaska flight 179 with non-stop service between Seattle to Ketchikan, Alaska.  Our flight is scheduled to depart at 16:30 from gate N13.  Our planned fuel for this trip is 17, 111 lbs. and our take-off weight is 148,985 lbs.  Our cruising altitude today is FL340 and we have a block time of two hours, three minutes. 

Flight Plan:  BANGR9 PANGL QQ PR/N0338F 160 V309 ANN

1

Walk Around

As the turnaround at Sea-Tac is a quick one today, I’m conducting the walk around while the bags are going in.  But all looks good with our aircraft today. 

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Looks like that’s one heavy suitcase.  I’d offer him a hand, but you know…union rules and all that.  Remember, bend at the knees. 

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These guys are good.  But of course with Sea-Tac being our main hub, you would expect nothing less.  Catering, fueling and the last of the bags are going on.  Time to get rolling. 

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It’s time to push back

It’s a busy day today at Sea-Tac.  We have company traffic flying in and out, plus an American and Delta are also preparing to pushback. 

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We’ve been cleared for engine start.  Starting Engine #2.

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Good engine start on #2, starting engine #1

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As we taxi out to 16L, a Virgin America (now of course Alaska Airlines) Airbus lands.  I guess we haven’t got around to painting that aircraft just yet. 

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Alaska 179, Line up and Wait 16L

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Positive Rate, Gear Up!

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Beginning our right turn to join the SID.

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Wing shot…..Oh Yea!

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The view from the office.

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Climbing out over Vancouver Island.  The views are rather impressive this afternoon.

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Beginning our descent.  We’re about to cross over Annette Island and the Annette Island Airport (ANN) is visible through the clouds.  ANN served as the major airport from the WWII era until the early 70’s. 

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Slowing our speed as we continue to descend.  The appearance of the water is very calm. 

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The approach into Ketchikan for runway 11 brings us in almost parallel to the airport, then fly  out approx. 25 nm.  Then we do a easy 180 degree turn.  Starting to make our turn now. 

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Looking forward to spending a few days flying around Ketchikan and exploring. The weather forecast is calling for excellent VFR flying conditions.

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Completing our 180 degree turn.  As we roll out the runway should be directly in front of us. 

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We’re cleared for the approach runway 11.

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Cleared to land, runway 11

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Clear of the active and beginning our downhill taxi.

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Just as we roll in, a company 737-800 is about to pushback for Anchorage. 

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At the gate and shutting down.  In just a few minutes I’ll begin my short vacation break in one of my favorite places in the world.  I think before I head to the hotel, I’ll walk down and see if there are any aircraft to rent. 

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Well that just about does it for this edition.  I certainly hope you are enjoying reading these as much as I’m enjoying flying and writing about my adventures.  I hope you’ll check back next week for another adventure.  It might just be a mini-adventure as I rent an airplane and fly around Ketchikan before heading back down to Seattle.  Talk to you 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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