Click on a label to read posts from that part of the world.
Aug 9th 2009 1:24AM When SFO Mike and I first started dating,he would bring me the route map, which he customized by adding something sweet like "this is the way to my heart". Nice piece, Kent. And I thought health care was bad regarding paperwork!
Dec 18th 2008 10:05PM Hey. Kent,
Missed you on our trip to Paris last month. SFO Mike and I really enjoyed ourselves, especially a bike ride around Versailles ( not the Fat Tire, alas,they were done for the season).
I used to ask SFO Mike about what he and the other pilot talked about for all those hours cooped up in a small room at the front of the 777. Investments, retirement, golf were at the top of the list. Grumbling about management often!All of those were boring to him.Occasionally he'd meet another jazz fan on the flight deck.
Flying never sounded boring and he enjoys that "flying at altitude" better than the mad dash of short-haul several times a day from LHR to wherever on a brief foray into Airbus world.
Have a good holiday!
Oct 19th 2008 9:21PM I asked my pilot boyfriend SFO Mike is he ever indulged his vanity by not using reverse thrusters. He told me his airline prohibits it! NOT because they wouldln't like their pilots to show off now and then in the name of passenger satisfaction; reverse thrusters save heat on the brakes.
Sep 25th 2008 9:29PM "No significant weather" in New Hampshire?? When I was a kid we climbed Mount Washington. I remember there was a certain amount of bragging about the "worst weather in America" on the signs. But I guess it is all relative!
Glad you had a good time in Philadelphia. I love Reading Terminal Market, too. Is there still an oyster stall? The original train shed of the actual railway station has been re-purposed into the main hall of the convention center. If your crew hotel is the same as my pilot boyfriend's airline's PHL crew hotel, it has an elevator lobby just outside the entrance to this 19th C. cavernous structure. It is awesome. Another easy quirky thing to do on a weekday afternoon in downtown Philadelphia is to walk down Market Street to Macy's ( formerly Wanamakers') department store, home of the world's largest pipe organ.Free concerts every day at noon and 4 PM. You can shop for gifts for the girls while the organ rattles your teeth!
Feel free to drop me a note next time you'll be in Philly. Mike and I will give you the tour!
Sep 11th 2008 9:42PM Send me a note next time you're in Philadelphia!If you have time for nothing else, I can take you to the Simeone Foundation racing car museum that just opened very near to the airport!
Sep 8th 2008 7:59PM A very thoughtfully written column, Kent. I have been seeing a divorced airline pilot for about 3 years. He lives in the UK, I in the US. Luckily his airline has two flights a day to my city.So he gets here often, either as operating crew or as a passenger.When he arrives, I pick him up at the airport just like any other partner picking up a loved on at the train station. Only difference is, if I get to the airport early enough I get to see him land the plane.
But we are apart a lot, naturally. Sometimes it is only for a few days.Earlier this year it was a few months due to some intense training.
We try to schedule our vacations together, but he has more vacation time than I do. That creates choices for him, like to spend his vacation hanging around my house while I work,or spend it doing something he wants to do, but doing it without me.
He also has enough seniority to put together rosters which bunch up his work days, leaving a bunch of days off together so he can stay here. While this is very nice, it does leave him pretty tired when he first arrives. Also his airline doesn't make any of the quick changes to his roster that the boyfriend of the writer of the question gets.
I don't really have a hard time managing when he's not at my house. Expectation probably has a lot to do with it. I lived on my own with my daughter for many years before we met. I am happy when he can help out with practical things when he's here; he's great with the lawnmower and has been "checked out" on my dishwasher and laundry machines. But if he isn't here, I take care of things as I always did.
I often think that what makes this relationship easier than most airline marriages is that we aren't trying to raise the same children. Those missed recitals and birthdays must be very painful. Those were the things his former wife had to deal with.
Jul 10th 2008 10:28PM Senior First Officer Mike groaned when I told him about your flight without the autothrottle. I thought that particular ailiment sounded familiar; he had a long-haul flight on the 777 without autothrottle and it sounded life a real-life version of that old vaudeville joke: "I just flew in from Chicago and boy, are my arms tired". No one had ever heard of that happening on the 777 before and there is evidently no training for it ( although there is on the Airbus, must happen more often...)
Aren't ground engineers amazing? One night two years we were all going to Heathrow ( SFO Mike as a passenger, my daughter and me) when something didn't look right. From the lounge Mike could see that the lights on the 777 were not turned on at a time that they should be. Long story short, there was a hydraulic failure which caused a very long delay and put two engineers to work in the freezing February night. Duty hours came and went. The flight would have been cancelled but Mike volunteered to be a third man on the flight deck. We took off with moments to spare before they were all out of hours again. We were probably the only happy passengers that night.
What would I do with an extra day in Paris? Take that FatTire Bike tour of Giverny!I suppose they put the bikes on the train to Vernon and then you ride from there through the countryside to Giverny?Can't wait to see what you decided to do.
Jun 29th 2008 5:25PM Our recent experience with airline-based ( in this case British Airways) pilot's training showed me that it is a two edged sword.There are things to enjoy ( such as the challenge and the technical stuff that appeals to the love of flying) and things that are very unpleasant ( such as the intense scheduling which separates the pilot from loved ones for long periods of time). Often these two emotional states are difficult to separate; at the end of his recent Airbus training, Senior First Officer Mike ( my sweetheart) no longer cared about the outcome, he just wanted it to be over. And in the end he got his wish, which, despite suceeding in the techinical checks, was to go back the the 777 and never fly that "nasty little airplane" again!
Mike's dad was also a pilot ( his granddad piloted boats in the harbor at Shanghai) and. like Kent's, advised his son against pursuing a career in commercial aviation. It was terribly unstable during the span of Mikes' dad's career ( late 1940's through 1980's) At one point they sold their house in Enlgand and moved to India for a job, only to find the airline folded soon after. But Mikes' back-up career plan is probably about as satisfying to him as Kent's is to Kent: teaching English. Unfortuantely for those students whose lives will never changed as mine was, Mike really was gifted as a teacher of great English fiction. But he is much happier as a pilot.
I often ask him what the two pilots, cooped up in a small space for hours at a time, find to talk about. Comes down to a s few topics and a pattern. Seems like first they establish what fleets they've flown on in the past, which may branch into do-you-know-so-and-so. Next topic has to do with seniority and retirement, an especially actute subject on BA's 777 fleet, with its bottlenck in promotions. From there, investments, golf ( two very short converstaions with Mike) and what to do down route.Occasionally he flies with another pilot who is also a musician.
Hope you do get into the Bastille/Marais area in Paris on your next trip!
May 20th 2008 7:49PM Lovely to read your view of Paris. My favorite section of Paris is the Marais, near Place des Vosges. We stayed once in a apartment upstairs from a cafe called Chez Janou which I can highly recommend. In that area is a street famous for falafel stands ( rue des Rosiers).The Marais boast three fantastic museums,all made from restored mansions: a stunning Jewish museum ( 71 rue du Temple) where the security entrance will be familiar to any airport habituee, a Picasso Museum and a museum about the history of Paris, Musee Carnavalet. I used to walk by a museum about hunting but I never went in.Next time.
You might be amused to learn about what a UK pilot ( almost-Captain Mike from BA) has to do to get an FAA Airman's Certificate. A long involved process which required agency-to-agency communication by snail mail, then a trip to the FAA regional office near PHL, an hour or so of schmoozing with the nice folks who work there,including a floatplane enthusiast, and a promise that the plastic card will arrive by mail in 120 days! All this so he can fly me around New Jersey in a rented Cessna or maybe a Stearman if we can find one. Should be worth it!
May 10th 2008 11:53PM A very pertinent topic! Thanks for the very interesting video. I forwarded it to Almost-Captain Mike, who just came off BA's 777 fleet. I wonder how his new airplane (A320) rates in the try-to-break-my-wings department?
Mike's training is almsot finished, by the way. Some delays due to availability of check captains. He's down to the last few sectors which appear to be scheduled on a catch-as-catch-can basis every few days. Very tedious for us.