Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Confining Contracts

Downtown Victoria, British Columbia in front of the Empress Hotel where one can still attend afternoon tea. Meteorologically speaking, Victoria is the best place to live in Canada. Heck, look how green the grass is and it's February!

Victoria harbour where one can watch float planes come and go. Our layover hotel is a 3-5 minute walk to here.

Yours truly in front of the seaplane terminal. This picture was taken by a friendly passerby. Security was heightened at the terminal because of the Olympics in Vancouver. I was thinking of using my jumpseat reciprocal agreement (free passes) to take a flight to YVR and back. My f/o said he did it during a YVR layover. The price is right, but I gave it a miss. Next time.

I flew to Victoria on Sunday and laid over for 30 hours. I flew the now infamous flight 190 back to Toronto this morning. You may remember about a year ago this flight encountered severe wake turbulence from a passing B747.

I didn't officially start my month's flying until the 10th, because I bid for some days off to possibly rendezvous with the "Flying Scotsman." And as you know, Captain Ian took sick with appendicitis. Those Boeing guys. lol

So why was I touring Victoria? This month, February, I was projecting a measly 69 hours of flying. Our DMM (Designated Monthly Maximum) is a low 75 hours. We either get paid what we fly or the DMM and that's if we have time in the bank. (The time bank can accumulate up to 20 hours or we deduct from it to a maximum of -13.5 hours) By taking this Victoria layover I now topped up my projected flying up to 79:55. However, there is a glitch. Frequently, I joke we pilots must be part time lawyers because we are always asking ourselves, "is this legal or am I legal to fly?"
This holds true for our confining contract. Don't get me wrong, we all need to adhere to the contract, but sometimes it just doesn't make sense.

Our maximum flying we are allowed for this month (it changes every month) is 82 hours. I have 2 hours and 5 minutes to play with. Winter months is conducive to block growth because of deicing, stronger headwinds, slower operations, etc. Plus we get paid what the flight was blocked at or what we actually flew whichever is greater. A case in point, our flight this morning was worth 4:25 but because of weaker tailwinds the flight was 4:35. Already I made 10 minutes in block growth. What happens if I am going to bust the 82 hour max? Crew scheduling will drop my last pairing and I'm back where I started, at lower than desirable hours. It's called the "one minute outbound" rule. If I'm projecting one minute over the projected monthly max, I'm toast. This is where I throw my hands up.

A few years ago when I flew internationally, I could have flown to Tokyo and back which would have topped me up nicely for the month, but I was denied the pairing. Why? Because I was projecting 3 minutes over. I could flown to the other side of the world and back but denied because of a confining contract.

I'm off to YUL (Montreal) early tomorrow morning. They are forecasting snow overnight so Captain Doug will most likely be visiting the deice center and you can rest assure I'll be watching my projected maximum for the month.

It's all fun and games, and yes it's still worth it!


Anonymous said...

Welcome to Victoria, that is a new paint scheme on the seaplane for the Olympics I would guess. They have another new one with the logo "Fly Carbon Free".

whywhyzed said...
This post has been removed by the author.
whywhyzed said...

??? How did you get to 79.5 hrs if you don't start flying until the 10th (which is tomorrow, by the way!)

What the?

Like the gal on that commercial says..."we don't get that"

The max for the month is 82 or 75?

From the Flight Deck said...

Anon. You have a beautiful city. I did my multi IFR there about 25 years ago. I worked as a meteorologist at Esquimalt during the morning and trained in the afternoon. Thanks for the post. Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

Whywhyzed. I went back and amended the sentence by saying "my projected" flying for the month is now 79.5 hours. Good eye! It does mean I'll be flying lots in the next 2 1/2 weeks. How was NRT?


whywhyzed said...

NRT was right on time both ways -- Capt Fisher on the outbound (-200), Capt Peerless on the way back home (-300 complete with about 150 Japanese school kids, which they wisely put right at the back).

Neither said very much, but I did notice Peerless could easily get a job as a radio announcer -- awesome voices tones ;-)

Those J seats are pretty good, although traveling with a partner could be challenging in terms of conversation. For that matter, since I am an armchair pilot (medical has elapsed, too busy) I do love looking out the window --- not easy with these fancy seat configs, I tell ya. Crick in the old neck for sure.

From the Flight Deck said...

Whywhyzed. You are not the first to comment on our new lie flat seats. Travelling with a business partner or a spouse, it's difficult to communicate. Maybe it's a good thing regarding the spouse. Also, because of the arrangement it's hard to cross over the aisles. The flight attendants don't like the seats for that reason.

Daniel Asuncion said...

Looking at the photos, I'm wondering
if these layovers, especially ex-
tended ones could be opportunities
for radio or television interviews.
(book promotion)

Many authors would almost kill for
the chance to go on what amounts to
a free book tour - all year round,
year after year.

Just wondering...

Ian said...

I feel terrible about missing you...honest...as soon as I can get to Ancaster, I will introduce you to the world of deep-fried Mars bars to apologise! And a dram or two to clean the arteries immediately thereafter.

With the Triples now lining up for YYZ summers - you can be sure of plenty liaisons!

Appendix-less Ian

Ian said...

I had heard the AC J seats were pretty good to be honest- like the Virgin seats in herringbone fashion. But, the AC winner is the IFE which is apparently just incredible. Ask my sister - she is in love with it.

Our J seats believe it or not are in 2-4-2 format, with some facing towards the rear. Rear facing seats are excellent in case the worst happens (RAF transports all have rear facing cabin seats), but I keep hearing about increased motion sickness by passengers sitting facing towards the rear.

My other sister flew on Air Transat Club class and said the service was nice, but the plane old and worried her...I told her next time, take AC!!

metal said...

Looks like you came for the only nice weather recently!

From the Flight Deck said...

Ian, thanks for pumping up Air Canada. We recently received "best business class in North America." We also got, "best airline in Canada and North America."
Some are snickering about receiving "best flight attendant in North America," but most are good at what they do.