Glad that’s over with…my route check
The last two days consisted of six flights with a “check pilot” to convince him I stuck to the script, knew my airplane and procedures inside and out, had all my paperwork in order, demonstrated command and leadership skills, CRM (Crew Resource Management), etc, etc, etc.
Two legs would have sufficed for this mandatory annual check, but I had the honour of flying six legs with him! It turns out he was a great guy – they usually are. He had quite a “DJ radio voice” and a few times I looked over wondering with some training if I too could sound so smooth. lol
The first flight started with a maintenance snag, but the wording in the MEL (Minimum Equipment List) had me scratching my head. “Jacques from Airbus” sometimes has a knack of confusing the issue with the wording.
Being November and the first flight of the day, there stood a good chance of frost on the wings. Sure enough frost emblazoned the composite spoilers. It's an Airbus issue. Luckily it was removed at the gate. Good…no taxi to the CDF (Central Deice Facility).
With the start of any pairing we must review certain emergency drills: a rejected take off, engine failure at rotation, and a rapid depressurization drill. I rattled them off flawlessly albeit lacking the perfection of a smooth morning DJ radio voice. :) I even wooed the checker by briefing the “go around” procedure which should be done during the first approach briefing.
The flight to Montreal and back proved routine but you can never relax. That day three legs also meant three aircraft switches.
The next morning started with a deicing for frost in Halifax. My first for the season! The deice center, located directly behind us, usually required us pushing back from the gate, starting up and taxiing over to the deice pad. Our “lead” took the initiative of towing us over, translating into less work for us and saved fuel. Sweet. Both the checker and I scratched our heads…why haven’t they done this before?
Off to Toronto we go. Because of the deicing, it started cutting into our prep time for the Fort Lauderdale turn. After saying good bye to the passengers, it was off to flight planning to print off a flight plan and to converse with flight dispatch about possible thunderstorms over Florida. Then it’s through American preclearance customs, security and off to the gate. Things were getting tight. It’s the first flight of the day- translation- more checks. A maintenance issue had to be resolved requiring maintenance to show up. It’s a full flight and everyone is trying their best to get this bird out on “sked.” We were ready, but the parking brake is released one minute late, but a quick message to dispatch gets us an on time performance.
A strong southwesterly jet stream of 140 knots paralleled our route and for an hour it proved to be “grumpy” giving constant annoying “light chop.” The thunderstorms were not an issue in the immediate area of Fort Lauderdale, but we were running late because of the strong headwinds. Again, everyone tried their best to turn us around quickly but an eight minute delay incurred. I noticed the “delay code” pointed the finger at us. I fire a message in curt terms stating the delay was incorrectly assigned.
Phew. The last leg back to Toronto and the check pilot was flying. I started to relax. But then he said, “okay let’s talk about this check ride.” I started to sink into my seat bracing for the pending de-briefing.
Any instructor knows, you always start off with something positive. And that’s how it started. Wait a minute he praised me some more. Then more compliments. I’m slowly coming out of my “slouch” position. There seems to be smoke being blown up my… Did he just suggest, I should consider being a “line indoctrination captain?” A line “indoc” captain means you are checked out in both seats to spool up new captains or first officers coming on line. I’m told it’s a gratifying job, but you will witness some interesting landings. I better not tell my wife the position also comes with a small pay raise. :)
The real good news is my next “whoop” to jump through won’t be until early spring- where it’s in the “sim” I go.
As well, with a week vacation coming up, it translates into two weeks off. Anyone out there have a luxury sun filled residence that needs taking caring of? lol