|One of the many books found on board, the MEL (Minimum Equipment List) An Ipad could reduce the flight deck's weight by 100 to 150 pounds...oops I'm digressing.|
The flight plan to Halifax yesterday said the APU was inop (inoperative). Oh great, meaning an airstart will be required at the gate followed by a cross bleed engine start after push back. The workload goes up with more checklists. But how do we know we can dispatch with a sick airplane? Well, we consult this heavy thick orange book which is stowed on the captain's side. The book must weigh 25 pounds requiring us to hyperextend citing any chiropractor to take a conniption fit. As well, the airplane's potable water was shut off so we had to recruit bottled water and supply wet naps in the washrooms. Yes, the toilets worked.
With an inop APU it means one engine has to be left running when we get to the gate until we receive ground power. Most new gates do not allow ground power to connect until the jetway is in place which can take minutes. Luckily we only had this sick bird for one leg.
After push back and start up this morning in rainy Halifax, the autothrust system "no workie." Out comes the thick orange book hiding in the corner and luckily Captain D lifts weights. The "good book" said we can go without autothrust. It's my leg and I've never flown the plane with degraded automation. The standard calls while barrelling down the runway were different. It throws you off. We Airbus pilots don't don't touch the thrust levers after take off until short final. It took some getting use to. I had to adjust the thrust setting during the entire flight. A few times I thought I was flying props because the engines were slightly out of sync and the "wah, wah, wah" reminded me of the good ole days.
Some pilots disengage the autothrust while on approach and it raises an eyebrow with me. Why degrade the automation? Just like many of my F/Os want to prove they can fly by manually flying up to 10,000 feet. I say...get the autopilot on and enjoy the view.
One Airbus instructor said, "if you disengage the autopilot, you raise and eyebrow. If you disengage the autopilot and autothrust...it's back to ground school."
Well after three and half years, I flew my first approach without autothrust and with the landing I got out of it...I just might do it again. :)