Flying by the numbers
This is not about "V" speeds, Mach numbers, approach speeds or landing weights…it’s about flight hours and pay i.e. show me the money!
Months ago someone with great insight decided to have less pilots on reserve instead of paying many to stay home with pay. Because of it, the remainder of us “block holders” would be allotted less hours...DMM (Designated Monthly Minimum) decreased. In a nut shell, it increased productivity. So how do you make up for the short fall for sick pilots, irregular operations, etc. usually handled by reserve pilots? You get the guys with big mortgages, bills to pay, wives that don’t work, with kids going to university to go on “make up.” Yes, I’m talking about moi.
This month the DMM is 77 hours, but my September schedule is projecting 72 hours. Captain Doug is shy five hours. Sure there is “block growth” (we are paid either the scheduled flight time or actual flight time which ever is greatest).
With a string of 11 days off the boss tells me to go to work so I went on “make up.” Crew sked offered me a Calgary turn and a San Francisco turn. Both had really early check ins, so I passed. A Calgary red eye popped up. I passed. Don’t like “red eyes.” Gee, I’m getting spoiled. Heck I might as well enjoy the extra flying.
Then a Saskatoon two day pairing came knocking. But it was worth 11.5 hours meaning I would project 83.5 hours. So what’s the big deal? Well our monthly maximum is 84 hours. If I inherit any block growth in the remainder of my month’s pairings I could exceed 84 hours. This means I would have to drop the last pairing with a 30 hour layover in Ottawa without credit. This is called the “one minute outbound” rule and I sure hope it changes in the next contract. Part of being an airline pilot is knowing the contract and knowing some basic scheduling rules. I am not an expert by any stretch.
But the phone stopped ringing offering me extra flying. I started mumbling, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” In other words, I should have taken the offered flying.
Then a flight to LGA (LaGuardia, New York) appeared. I figure I better take it because crew sked was probably getting a little riled with all my “no thanks, I’ll pass” responses.
Yes, it is a known fact I avoid LGA. It’s in my preferential bidding as such. But the pairing was one flight to LGA, layover, and deadhead back the next day. The flight is 1.5 hours but I’m paid 8 hours 50 minutes. Why? We have a DPG (Daily Pairing Guarantee) of 4hrs and 25 minutes. Plus the flight left YYZ after six so I’m paid a night rate. Two days of DPG of 4:25 equals 8:50. Sweet. So now I am projecting 81:04 for this month with room for block growth. Don't think all our flying is this simple and easy. This is a "one off."
So, here I sir in J class (captains deadhead in business class) telling you my story. The F/O sadly got economy. I heard one economy passenger years ago jokingly reference "Y" class as the "unwashed section." Actually, we deadheaded on the Embraer which is two by two seating and few passengers complain about the seating.
The flight last night into New York was under clear moonlit skies and under sked by twenty minutes. We were vectored downwind of New York city (Manhattan) and did the Expressway Visual onto runway 31. All I did was put the gear up and put it down. Well I did more than that, I moved the flap lever and talked on the radios. The F/O flew. And as an extra bonus we had a young pretty six foot flight attendant watch the show sitting in the jumpseat. I won’t say anything more….ahem
Did I tell you I love my job?
(Whywhyzed) fire away. :)