Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Sass that hoopy frood!

Tomorrow, May 25th is Towel Day, in honour of Douglas Adams. For those that have no clue who Douglas Adams was, get out from under a rock will ya!

Douglas Adams was the writer that gave us such amazing books as "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" and "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency". He unfortunately passed away in May of 2001, at an early age of 49.

Towel Day is a memorial to his work and influence on the masses.

So, pick up your towel, you strag, and get hoopy.

Monday, May 22, 2006

A face outside the window pane

Well, I survived the first two days of line work at YVR, and actually quite like it. 12 hour days are long, but it goes fast. I think that if I were to work there full time I would move back out this way, maybe to South Vancouver, or Ladner. This staying with the family thing is tough to do. I am used to being alone, and having people around all the time is a bit of an adjustment. But I am enjoying the fact that I actually get to see them. I actually was able to take my kid brother out for breakie today!

So, today will be my first 12 hour grave yard shift. There is a bit more to do on an overnight stay for the planes, but a bit more time to do it in. The tough part will be staying awake! And then sleeping during the least there will be no one home for most of the day.

The plane in the photo is aircraft 800, the newest of Harmony's fleet. It was loading when I took this photo, we had just towed it over to the gate, we had finished the walk through, and were waiting to see it go. We tend to hang around till we see it taxi away to make sure there are no problems on departure. The day consists of long periods of waiting, interspersed with short periods of mass insanity. And that is what line maintenance is all about!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Floating down through the clouds

Today was the first day of my working visit at YVR.

Started with a very early morning with a 0630AM departure to Calgary. Nothing too difficult, a minor problem with a flight attendant, but Sammy did an awesome job of solving that one.

Then we went over to a different gate and prepped the next departure. Pretty standard, wake the airplane up, fire up the APU, and then a quick walk through to make sure the night guys didn't miss anything. Everything was ready to go, and the plane departed a bit early.

The next plane wasn't due in for a few hours, so we grabbed our partner working on a different gate and went for coffee and breakfast. It is fascinating to be walking around in all the "secret" hallways and corridors that are through a terminal building.

Next plane arrived on time, and we had four hours to do some Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR, the "black box" that they look for after a crash) testing. While doing the testing, we found a problem with one of the observer seat audio controls. So, a bit of troubleshooting, and a few phone calls to Maintenance Control, and the problem is solved.

After that, the plane loaded and left. Sam and I ran over to the last plane that was sitting in the parking lot to update a bit of software, then the day was over.

12 hours goes by fast!

I am staying at my parents place while I am working at YVR, and as a pleasant treat, my Grandfather is visiting too. So, I have seen most of my extended family. My uncle has been by twice, Mom and Dad, my youngest brother and my
Dad's Mom (Oma). Too bad that I have to be working such long days while they are here. And Grandpa is leaving tomorrow, so I won't get to see him tomorrow night.

Time is fleeting, but I wish it would slow down just a bit for a little while...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The echo of a distant time

Well, I finished work in the hanger today, and won't be back until October. Well, I need to go in to get some work details figured out, but I won't be working in the hanger for five months.

I start at YVR on Saturday, playing line worker. I am little excited, a little nervous, after all, I have never had the opportunity to work at such a large airport. The funny part is, the guy that will be showing me the ropes out there is a guy that I showed the ropes to when he started in aviation! Proof once again, that life is a big circle.

I still have a lot of things to do before heading to France, I still haven't confirmed departure dates, wages, shifts, where I will be staying, etc.

And I still need to learn some French. But really, is knowing French really that important in France??

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The moment is at hand


Things are getting crazy now, less than a month till I head to France for the summer.

Found out today, that I am being transferred to YVR to work until I leave so that I can get a bunch of line experience. This means that my shift has changed as well, 4 on 4 off. It also means an hour long drive to work. I moved close to work to avoid that. So, looks like I will be staying at the parents place while I am working out at YVR.

I also talked with work about when exactly I leave. It is looking like it will be June 12th that I will be leaving. That will give me time to get there, time to get over the jet lag, and time to find out where and when I will be working.

The best part so far is that I asked to get another week off after I have finished my "tour of duty", and they said yes. So I will be spending an extra week traveling around Europe, and that way I can spend a bit more time visiting with Han's and Meggie.

Now, I just have to get through my Restricted Radio License exam tomorrow, and then I will need to learn a bit of French. I am sure I will pick a lot of it up when I get there, but it helps to have a start before leaving.

Oh, and Andy, happy birthday buddy. You are almost part of the establishment.

Monday, May 08, 2006

On a wing and a prayer

Saturday afternoon, after the training session, Jim, George (the instructor) and I went to the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field in Seattle to see all the aircraft their. The highlight for me was..well a few planes. The SR-71 was amazing, seeing the prototype for the 737 was neat, and going into the original Airforce One was too cool. The WWII warbirds were also very interesting, and it was the first time that I had seen a P-38 Lightning in real life.

Finished up with the simulator yesterday. Ran through a bunch of engine start problems, a engine fire, and a few function tests. Then, we taxied the aircraft. Well, Jim taxied, I got ill. With full motion on the sim, having the machine jerk and bounce as Jim steered, it became very rough on my poor stomach. I had to ask the instructor to turn the motion off, then I had to get out and catch my breath. Even with that, I was through for the day. So, I missed out on the flight and stall with full motion on. Jim was saying that he was feeling a little queasy too after all of that, but I was ruined. I went back to the hotel and slept for a couple of hours before leaving for home. It looks like I am going to be going back down again on Thursday to finish what I started. That and give another student a hand, since you need two in the trainer at the same time.

Back at work today, it was same old - same old. I was officially asked to go to France for the fire season, and I said yes. I will be probably leaving early June and will be back in October some time. This will definitely be a fantastic experience for me, and I will learn a lot about line maintenance. This will open some huge doors at work for when I get back too.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Just an earth-bound misfit, I

I died.

Sort of.

First day in the DASH-8 Q400 flight simulator. After doing an engine start, and going over different systems, I jumped into the captains seat and flew off out of YYZ (Toronto) for a leasurely flight around Lake Ontario. I did well on take off, although I forgot that we stear with our feet in a plane, but once we were airborne, and I figured out how to fly, it got a bit easier. I only over-sped the plane twice, and mangaed to keep the aircraft about where it was supposed to be and got to where I was supposed to go. Even managed to line up for landing...well, the auto pilot did, but I had to set the course, and program the Flight Management system to do this.

The landing though...not pretty. Being the first time flying, I predicted an ugly touch-down and I was right. Drove that plane straight into the ground. She handles like a dump truck at low speeds, and I flared way too late. I think that if I had kept the airspeed up, and not had so much flap, I might have had a better chance.

The scary thing is, we didn't have the motion on. But with the video moving so realistically, I felt like we where in motion.

So, tomorrow my partner Jim gets to fly. He has had a pilots license before, so this will be very interesting to see if you can put it down in one piece.

I will try and get a couple of pictures in the cockpit tomorrow to put on Flickr. Maybe I will get our instructor to take a couple for me while we are flying.

And I might be able to come down again later this week to play again. One of the other guys on the course doesn't have a partner to work with, so I am gonna try and get a few more hours of time in the right seat.

More tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Into the distance, a ribbon of black

Was told today that I am wanted in France fairly the begining of June. And that I would be there till mid-September. Guess I am finaly working at a fire base for fire season. Albeit, the fire base is in Marseille...

So, this means that I have quite a lot to do in the next little while. Friday I head down to Seattle for simulator training; I have to get my house cleaned up before I go; gotta make sure that I have someone to look after the place and my plants while I am gone; need to learn French; need to get my Restricted Radio License before I go and should probably get some new socks. Wow, I am gonna be busy!

I have told work that I must be home for Megan and Hans' wedding, and that I want to be free to run up to Denmark to party in September. Other than that, I am so very pumped about getting away for a few months.