Alaska Pilot Q&A Thread

Old Apr 7, 2009, 5:56 pm
  #31  
 
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Originally Posted by AlaskaCoho
Help Help I'm drow....

I'm out flying today and for the next couple of days. I will get to all the questions it may take me a little while.
Off anywhere nice? Perhaps you will have a FTer or two on-board, maybe you should do your flight deck announcements like this...

"Good afternoon ladies & gentlemen, a very warm welcome from the Flightdeck, my name is Captain ... otherwise known as AlaskaCoho"

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Old Apr 7, 2009, 6:44 pm
  #32  
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We had an aborted take off on AS31 BOS-PDX yesterday. We were on the runway and the engines revved up and we stared moving. Then a few seconds later we slowed down and the engines went quiet. This happened a second time and we immediately pulled off the runway and got back in line for takeoff. It freaked me out since only one runway was in use due to weather. I thought maybe a plane was coming at us. The pilot finally came on and said there was a Intermittent take off warning alarm. What does that mean?
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Old Apr 8, 2009, 3:24 am
  #33  
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Originally Posted by tony2x
Off anywhere nice? Perhaps you will have a FTer or two on-board, maybe you should do your flight deck announcements like this...

"Good afternoon ladies & gentlemen, a very warm welcome from the Flightdeck, my name is Captain ... otherwise known as AlaskaCoho"

Folks, remember to always be displaying--and AlaskaCoho, always be looking for--your yellow FT bag tags!
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Old Apr 8, 2009, 11:05 am
  #34  
 
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Originally Posted by tony2x
I just started the paperwork so I can learn to fly this Summer. I doubt if I'll ever get behind the controls of something as grand as a 737 (well you'd better hope I don't!) but I think you just gave me my mantra for learning.
Well good on you. I'm glad I could in my humble way spur an interest in flying or at least put you over the top to make it happen.^
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Old Apr 8, 2009, 11:16 am
  #35  
 
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Originally Posted by tony2x
Off anywhere nice? Perhaps you will have a FTer or two on-board, maybe you should do your flight deck announcements like this...

"Good afternoon ladies & gentlemen, a very warm welcome from the Flightdeck, my name is Captain ... otherwise known as AlaskaCoho"

Humm I could I suppose, but as I told Jackal when I started this deal, I don't intend to ever say anything that could be interpreted as derogatory toward my company. That just isn't my thing. However there are always folks who have nothing better to do than go after some hapless pilot for a transgression real or imagined. As they say, just because you are paranoid doesnt mean someone isnt out to get you. At any rate I need to be somewhat anonymous in case I indivertibly say something that the powers to be in the company get there knickers in a wad over.
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Old Apr 8, 2009, 11:43 am
  #36  
 
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Originally Posted by AlaskaCoho
Humm I could I suppose, but as I told Jackal when I started this deal, I don't intend to ever say anything that could be interpreted as derogatory toward my company. That just isn't my thing. However there are always folks who have nothing better to do than go after some hapless pilot for a transgression real or imagined. As they say, just because you are paranoid doesnt mean someone isnt out to get you. At any rate I need to be somewhat anonymous in case I indivertibly say something that the powers to be in the company get there knickers in a wad over.
Don't worry I was being somewhat tongue in cheek. FWIW I think you guys and gals on the flight deck do a fantastic job, sometimes bordering on the heroic!

As for the flying thing, I'm on a quest to get licenced to operate as many types of vehicle as possible. I have a motorcycle, car, bus & truck licence (albeit in the UK for the last two) and I actually own an old ex-London Routemaster bus, again that is still in the UK. So logically the next step is to learn to fly and it is pretty cheap to do here in Northern California.
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Old Apr 8, 2009, 11:45 am
  #37  
 
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Originally Posted by FAIPDXFlyer
With respect to flying routes, once routes are determened after bid are these routes structured as a "sine-curve" whereas in the ideal situation you fly the same package of routes during the bid period, (eg A-B-C C-B-A <brk> A-B-C C-B-A <brk> A-B-C C-B-A and so on)

or do you "hop around the system" (eg A-B-C C-B-A <brk> A-E-F F-E-A <brk> A-R-W W-R-A)?

Thank you for your insight and keep up the good work! ^

FAI PDX Flyer
Whoa someone must be a math major here with sine curves and all. In general the schedules or as we call them Pairings are either 1, 2, 3, or 4 day trips. They begin at your assigned base, either LAX, ANC, or SEA and return you to that base when done. Also generally they include around 3 sometimes 4 or 5 legs each day. I tried to paste one into here but it comes out all jumbled up because of formatting.

Typical Pairing:

FLT 333 SEA-ONT Time Time etc
FLT 332 ONT-SEA Time Time etc
FLT 675 SEA-LAS Time Time etc Layover in LAS for 10 to 15 hours

FLT 625 LAS-PDX
FLT 555 PDX-SNA
FLT 552 SNA-SEA Done with trip (Pairing)

Then each one of these pairings in built into a series of pairings called a line of time or "Line". The average days off is around 14 so the average days at work is around 16 each month with 8 or 9 nights away from home.

Each one of the lines of time group pairings with similar destinations or similar layover in them. So each month generally the layovers are in the same city and fly the same series of flights.

However due to trip swapping or as we call it trading guys can change the cities and flight they go one from week to week.

This month I flew 3 three day trips and two 4 day trips. they were sequenced like this:

YVRLAXJNUSEA...ORDJNUSEA....ORDJNUSEA.....FAISFOSE A....ORDOAKMCOSEA
for a total of 15 days off, 16 on 12 nights in a hotel.

Now we get paid for only the time we spend in the air. Basically push back to block in at the gate. So any time spend wandering the airport prepping for a flight, doing the walk around, or sitting in a hotel is not paid.

Hope this helps.
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Old Apr 8, 2009, 11:51 am
  #38  
 
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Originally Posted by JacksonFlyer
As that old Army Helo pilot you "may" have been referring to....I would rather come in during a thunderstorm on my UH-1 rather than screaming in over 100 mph in an empty 737 (does that happen at Alaska?) facing crosswinds and that odd wind shear. Of course, there is always that incipient vortex to be aware of.....

By the way, those Air Force references are getting old......
You mean the references to the Army/Air Force game? Now what was that score again....Hum started with 42 ahhhh 0 zero? was that the other number??? Humm I've got a picture here somewhere.
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Old Apr 8, 2009, 12:02 pm
  #39  
 
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Originally Posted by tusphotog
There are times I've passed on the F meal and said "give it to the guy driving." Not sure if it makes it up there (or into the FA's stomach), but I try!

Seriously though, thanks for taking the time AlaskaCoho to answer the questions here. What's your favorite airport/route to fly to? And are you guys at Alask....err....your airline, paid by the flight hour or by the trip?
Hey thanks for the thought! Sometimes we get an F meal, but only one of us may partake due to the FAA different meal rule.

Favorites, well let me list a few.

When I was younger I liked the SE Alaska runs, 65, 64, 61, 66, 67. Lot of fun, great scenery and (Not trying to flatter anyone here) the passengers are great. They take delays in stride and weather is nothing to them. No big deal on turbulence, Moderate turb in KTN is over the top sever to a So Calif flyer. But I have to say its a lot of work.

I like sunny destinations now and enjoy my time in MCO, PHX, SAN.

Best runway to land onHands down ANC 7R. Darn thing slopes away from the approach so you just never have a hard landing.
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Old Apr 8, 2009, 12:08 pm
  #40  
 
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Originally Posted by tony2x
Me again. Sorry but this thread is just solid gold and I can't resist asking questions but I'm mindful of your time so I'll keep this one brief.

Are you a nervous flyer when you are not at the controls? Do you find yourself 'back seat flying'? I was sat next to a deadheading (see, I do take this stuff in) pilot on a BA flight a couple of years ago in Club World and we chatted and he told me that he hates flying when he is not on the flight deck. Is this commonplace or did I find a weirdo pilot?
Well the Alaska adage; the odds are good but the goods are odd, does apply to pilots as well.

You know I am not a nervous flyer, just an impatient one. I hate delays when its my time I'm wasting and I really hate not knowing what is taking so long up there. But once we are on the move a nice scotch and my head set are comforting companions. (Disclaimer: only when I'm not going TOO work of course!!!)
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Old Apr 8, 2009, 12:25 pm
  #41  
 
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Originally Posted by sltlyamusd
Thanks for your imformative responses, Alaska Coho.

It seems like a lot of my flights this past winter up and down the west coast were taking a little longer than I'm normally accustomed to. I could swear flights used to be faster 5 or 10 years ago. Perhaps headwinds were stronger than usual, but I also wondered, was the company trying to get pilots to throttle back to save fuel? Or do cold winter temperatures have much impact on the aircraft performance during climb and cruise? Do pilots have much discretion over cruising speed or do they basically just follow whatever air speed the computer calculates for optimal fuel burn?
Well this is why I need my anonymity...honest answers.

Yes all the flights are taking longer these days. A couple of things have contributed to this. The easy to discuss one is fuel as you note. It does cost less to fly slower, so most flights are planned at slower speeds now. The exception is when we are flying into a strong headwind. In this case its much more economical to fly faster and therefore spend less time in a headwind. Although as I write this I remember that recently as a result of declining fuel prices, flight plan speeds are creeping up now.

But I fear the real answer to your question is a bit harder for me to say. The pilots have been well; pissed off to say the least for the last 4 years. When someone is not happy they naturally want to spend more time at work. Really though to be blunt there has been a general slow down by the pilots. Managements response seems to be (I dont have anyway of knowing for sure) to increase the block time, or time scheduled or the flight so the pilots cant affect the ontime status of the airline. If you give people 2:00 for a bay area to SEA flight that only takes 1:30 in normal conditions its much more difficult for disgruntled employees to screw up the ontime record.

I wish that this was not the case, but it is my opinion on the situation and Im stuck with it. Now as far as the future goes, we are supposed to get a look at the new contract this week. It is my personal opinion that recent changes in management are all GOOD moves and good news for employees. I am hopeful for the future, but fearful that we have dragged our feet (both management and labor) for so long that we have lost a bit of that Alaska spirit to get things done. It will take some work to get all the guys back onboard the train.
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Old Apr 8, 2009, 12:40 pm
  #42  
 
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Originally Posted by CDKing
We had an aborted take off on AS31 BOS-PDX yesterday. We were on the runway and the engines revved up and we stared moving. Then a few seconds later we slowed down and the engines went quiet. This happened a second time and we immediately pulled off the runway and got back in line for takeoff. It freaked me out since only one runway was in use due to weather. I thought maybe a plane was coming at us. The pilot finally came on and said there was a Intermittent take off warning alarm. What does that mean?
I'm sorry for your distress. It was actually not a big deal. I know that is easy for me to say and I don't say it to dismiss your concern. I understand it is un-nerving to not know what is up in a "not normal" situation.

Here's the deal. The takeoff warning horn as we call it, makes an intermittent honking sound when it sensors tell it that the aircraft is not configured properly for takeoff. Items that are in the sensor list are, Speed brake not full down, Trim not in the takeoff range, and flaps not in a takeoff range and others. Sounds scary I know, but here's the deal. 99 times out of 100 it’s not a pilot forgetting to set up the aircraft for takeoff, it’s a bad sensor. Two things that have gotten me over the years more than once is the darn speedbrake lever in the cockpit and the flaps. If the speedbrake lever is just a nano hair off of full forward you get the horn as the power is advanced to takeoff thrust. Most of the time the Captains first reaction to the horn is to simply hit the lever and the horn goes out…all is good and away we go. The second one I mentioned is what I suspect happened in your case. The sensor for flap position is on the right wing near the inboard part of the wing. This area gets a lot of blowback on it when there is snow and ice on the ramp. Many times this sensor gets fowled up with snow and ice (but other stuff can do it too) and will not sense proper flap position. The easy fix is to simply cycle the flaps up and back down which clears the sensor and away you go. However you have to do the cycle off the runway.

In your case I suspect there was an aircraft inbound to your runway and when your aircraft could not takeoff they were instructed to clear the runway. BOS used reduced separation of about 3.5 miles for a takeoff so the tower get testy when you don’t get off there runway when you are supposed too.

That’s my best guess since I haven’t talked to the crew. Hope this helps.
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Old Apr 8, 2009, 1:27 pm
  #43  
 
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Originally Posted by AlaskaCoho
Well this is why I need my anonymity...honest answers.
FYI - while the honesty is a great thing, your goal of anonymity is tenuous at best. If they want to, they'll be able to figure out who you are, legally. While I like the information, I'd rather you stay out of trouble, so if I were you I'd be as circumspect as possible and err on the side of caution.

I don't think there's any risk in stating things that are fact, publicly available, or easily inferred from those with the information, but if the powers to be were to take a comment out of context, you'd certainly be in a risky position.
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Old Apr 8, 2009, 6:16 pm
  #44  
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Originally Posted by AlaskaCoho
The second one I mentioned is what I suspect happened in your case. The sensor for flap position is on the right wing near the inboard part of the wing. This area gets a lot of blowback on it when there is snow and ice on the ramp. Many times this sensor gets fowled up with snow and ice (but other stuff can do it too) and will not sense proper flap position. The easy fix is to simply cycle the flaps up and back down which clears the sensor and away you go. However you have to do the cycle off the runway.
That must have been it. Before we got back on the runway the pilot did something with the flaps and then roared the engine again.
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Old Apr 9, 2009, 12:29 am
  #45  
 
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Originally Posted by AlaskaCoho
You mean the references to the Army/Air Force game? Now what was that score again....Hum started with 42 ahhhh 0 zero? was that the other number??? Humm I've got a picture here somewhere.
Ouch....I don't feel the love anymore. It doesn't matter, the next game is at MY Academy once again. However, I hate sitting in Newark for the flight back.

On another note, I think it is great that you are answering questions like those posted, even I am interested in the responses and it appears you have a good following. Although I hate to admit it.....it is folks like you and some of the excellent FA's I have met that keep me with Alaska!
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