What is that bright ball in the sky?
As I mentioned in a few posts, my maximum projected flying hours was limited t0 82 hours. (Contract restricted) If I had exceeded this limit 'crew sked' would have dropped my next three day pairing with me losing 15 flight hours - translating into 67 hours pay instead of 82. Well, I'm happy to announce everything is intact although today it came close.
This morning we took an A320 which arrived from an Edmonton 'red eye' to Halifax. The forecast snow did not start in Toronto (though it was starting) so the wings were clean, or so we thought. We call the deice coordinator only to find a bit of rime icing adhering to the leading edge picked up on the approach.
I make the mandatory announcement we would be heading to the "world's largest deice center" and I estimated it would be an extra 15 minutes. (I'm getting tired of making these 'deice' announcements so I thought I'd spruce it up) We close up with a full load, push back and taxi out to a huge line up. Oh oh, my projected flight time will overshoot 82 hours. The process took 45 minutes. Not because of the deice center, but ground control had to get aircraft across the active runway because the winds were howling from the northwest as the 33s were active. I made 40 minutes of block growth on this flight. Just one leg back to Toronto. After a 'hot air' maintenance issue we push back ten minutes late. Luckily the winds were out of the south so it blew warm air in. Translation -no deicing required. Things were looking good because the flight plan had us 10 minutes under schedule. But hold on, the snow and high winds are affecting operations in Toronto. "Air Canada 121, you are cleared to the Simcoe (YSO) VOR to hold. Oh oh. I'm going to blow the maximum time for the month. You're probably thinking, this guy is more concerned about pay than the holding pattern.
"Air Canada 121 your hold is cancelled." Music to my ears. Dougie boy greases it on after a near go-around because of a late clearing Dash 8. I set the parking brake and I'm 81:30 minutes for the month. It sounds greedy, petty, selfish and self-consuming but you ask any airline pilot and they will confess they watch their block time to within the minute.