A view of the Grand Canyon north of Phoenix this morning at Fl 370
A British Airways B747 crossing our bow enroute to Halifax this evening. Thoughts of flight 190 out of Victoria almost two years ago came to mind. What happened? Think wake turbulence. Today, not even a ripple.
It all started with me looking in the mirror prior to leaving the hotel room (pilots like looking in the mirror) and discovering a stain on my collar. No, it wasn't lipstick! Oh great, what a way to start Monday morning.
Then it's the line up at security. Words of wisdom...never get behind me in a line up because it will be the slowest. And that's what I told a passenger behind me this morning because security in that particular line was excruciating slow. My F/O and flight attendants were long gone.
We're cruising at flight level 370. Things are too smooth. Pilots get a little nervous when things are going too well. Sure enough the in-charge calls saying she has a 46 old female complaining of bad abdominal cramps. The word constipation came up. The in-charge had a doctor attending to her. I am absolutely amazed a doctor is usually on board.
The procedure is to get all the vitals, passenger name, seat and medical history and we contact a third party medical clinic in Philadelphia. But this must be done through dispatch and on VHF radio. What a work out! It totally takes a pilot out of the loop. Of course I delegated the task while I watch the Grand Canyon go by. (Kidding) We could not use AGRIS (Air Ground radio Interconnect System) so we had to call ARINC (Aeronautical Radio Inc) and get patched through to dispatch who then patches us to STAT MD. A few years ago we had a phone system on board, but that fell to the wayside with TV screens. It was great because the incharge could handle everything on their own.
I talked about archaic approaches a couple of days ago, well communication can be pumped up a little as well. The internet is coming and with it, Skype. Maybe it could make things run a lot smoother. Oops, I'm digressing.
We are nearing LAS (Lost Wages) and if Captain Doug ducked into there we would have to do an overweight landing which meant maintenance would have to inspect the airplane. Heck, it"s Monday morning, I don't need this.
Then the turbulence starts due to a strong south westerly jet stream. Then there a few thunderstorms to dodge all while we are relaying information from the back of the aircraft where the sick passenger is, to dispatch and then to STAT MD.
Everything turns out okay. The EMS meets us in Toronto which means everyone on board must remain seated until the passenger in question is cared for. She walked off the airplane. I thought I was having a "Monday Morning day" but the poor woman in question was travelling with two kids.
We get to customs. Both the F/O and I are sent to "secondary." Apparently, one of our co-workers made a comment to a customs officer an hour prior, so all of us were getting raked over the coals.
Now sitting in Halifax. The new pairing optimizer has reduced our layover times significantly. Meaning after a long day and near record heat it sure would have been nice to go out for a debriefing beverage, but the "beer math" does not add up. So here I sit blogging. Monday night blues.