Well I thought my repertoire of Florida airports (Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Orlando, Tampa, West Palm Beach) included Sarasota. Wrong. Looks like yet another notch is added to my airport list. Apparently we fly there only six months of the year.
This sign was posted on SRQ's (Sarasota) bridge prior to exiting to do the walk around.
In a nut shell, it said "Shhhh" please be quiet!
After getting home from Cuba at 2:00 a.m, show time for a three day pairing started at 2:00 p.m the same day. My F/O beat me to flight planning and I saw he was zooming in on the weather radar. Looks like we were going to have "meet and greet thunderstorms" in the Southern U.S kicked off by the polar front. Our routing took us downwind of these convective creatures. Pilots like to be upwind of anything and that includes me. :) A phone call to dispatch asking whether we could plan a more westerly route was met to the same tune talking to the boss when she is angry....silence! :)
"Earlier flights have been picking around them," I was told. And I'm certain they did... but one factor was not entered into the equation....daytime heating!!! Yes, my meteorological senses were tingling.
Like the boss, I didn't get anywhere with the dispatcher, but once on the flight deck we received an amendment for additional fuel, apparently the "meet and greet thunderbumpers" were intensifying....hmmmmmmm?
Another treat which added to the work load, no APU (device in the tail to condition air, supply electrics and start the engines) That meant an "airstart" at the gate, push back from the gate, disconnect the towbar and do a cross bleed engine start for the other engine. Translation...higher workload, delays and more checklists. Yeah...baby! It also translated into one heck of a hot cabin in Florida with a full load of pacs.
While enroute the F/O did a great job dodging our "meet and greet" party. Yes, we flew upwind of the bubbling ominous atmospheric mass. One company flight flew over Savannah, Georgia where it was thought to be a "hole" but "holes" fill in and they encountered moderate turbulence.
After departing Sarasota and confirming in my flight log Captain Doug did not have airport Alzheimer (Sarasota was never before on my flight plan) ATC kept us low because the upper airspace was ladened with aircraft dodging thunderstorms. It meant for a bumpy ride. ATC was very apologetic but I made an announcement promising smoother air.
We get back to Toronto and parked at a gate where it had to be the furthest from Canadian customs.
Actually, furthest from anything. :) After passing through customs, getting a flight plan for Halifax, Nova Scotia and being met with a completely full A320 on the last flight to Halifax we push back 15 minutes late. Yes, I made an announcement explaining things. Two commuting flight attendants were both pleading for the jumpseat and I'm glad to say both of them got seats. The jumpseat went out empty...a rarity for Halifax bound flights.
At 2:00 a.m we were set up to do the visual approach on runway 32...after all... the ceiling sat at 7000 feet AGL. But a strong Northwest flow prevailed so again my meteorological senses were tingling. (I must get something for that tingle..lol). I used to write the forecast for this airport and it just so happens the forecaster did mention snow showers. Well guess what decided to pay us a visit while being vectored for a visual? Yes, "meet and greet" snow showers. We were IMC (Instrument Meteorological Conditions) at 2000 feet AGL so we had to be vectored to the ILS on 23. The F/O demonstrated a text book crosswind landing!
I made it to the hotel room at 3:10 a.m
The life of an airline pilot.....
|Jump seat in the folded position|
|This is where all my friends sit...notice it's empty. LOL|
A picture of the jump seat as requested by an avid fan. Only pilots and flight attendants are allowed. I can't even have the "boss" in the flight deck....she is deemed a "risk." I knew there was something "fishy" about her....LOL (Kidding!!!!!) :)