I had just finished washing and drying Windbird’s hull and was just about to begin applying her annual coat of wax when my cellphone rang, startling me. I checked the number— my airline’s crew scheduling department—and my heart made a little leap of joy. This is not my normal reaction to a call from crew sked, especially while on reserve, but these are not normal times. I hadn’t flown in nearly six weeks, and like many of my fellow airline pilots these days, I could have really used some landings to avoid an extra trip to the simulator. I answered the call a little too eagerly.
“Hi, Sam, this is James in crew scheduling. I’m just calling to let you know you’re released to 30 hours rest at 1 a.m. this morning.”
Of course. Drat. I’d been on call for six days without an assignment, and Part 117 regulations require that I get 30 hours off duty once a week. During a normal summer, the break would be a welcome respite for a hardworking, New York-based Boeing 737 captain, but in the midst of a pandemic, there are 50-plus of us on reserve on any given day for a small handful of departures. Ironically, Dawn and I sailed Windbird north from Florida to New York City last month to make reserve duty easier; now I could just about sit reserve from the moon. I do have a request in to be the first pilot used, but so do many captains senior to me, and I’m feeling about as lonely as the Maytag repairman.
Thus, my first four months on the 737 have yielded but 66 flight hours. My airline’s massive displacement bid just came out, and as expected, I will be kicked off the airplane come December—out of the left seat altogether, in fact, all the way back to the right seat of the 757/767 from whence I came. It’s a disappointment, to be sure, but things could be much worse. I’m going back to an airplane I love, I’ll be fairly senior at the base, and I still have a job. Nearly 2,400 of my colleagues were left unassigned on this bid and are in danger of being furloughed once the CARES Act money runs out in October. The economy is tentatively starting to recover, though, and hopefully, I’ll be able to upgrade again in a few years. Maybe I’ll take the opportunity to “learn French” as an Airbus A320 captain, s’il vous plait.
In the meantime, I thought I’d pass along some notes on the 737, since I’ve been critical of the design in the past. That was based solely on my (quite ample) time jump seating on 737s and comparing them to the older 757s I was flying. Now that I’ve actually trained on the world’s most-produced airliner and flown it a bit, my thoughts on the “Guppy” have evolved somewhat.
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Sudden Surprise Trouble
What the FAA taketh away, it giveth back.
LIFE IN THE AIR: Living the Dream
The journey from M X to CFI
Doc, David, Herb and the Cops
A once-in-a-lifetime B-29 flight
WHEN THE MUSIC DIES
VFR FLIGHT INTO IMC
WE FLY: FLIGHT DESIGN F2
AN ALL-AROUND ALL- COMPOSITE TREAT
What works on one airplane might not work on another.
THE FLYING STATION WAGON
Blame for the 737 Max
The FAA designee program is too big to fail.
Leaving the flight deck amidst a pandemic
An Aviation Mentor
Why it’s so important
CHINA NOT READY TO ALLOW THE BOEING 737 MAX BACK IN THE AIR
Beijing isn’t ready to follow the United States in allowing Boeing’s 737 Max back into the air after a pair of fatal crashes two years ago.
NASA bands together with industry for a return to the moon
Boeing To Outsource It Work To Dell, Eliminate 600 Jobs
Boeing Co. has said it will outsource a significant amount of information technology work to Dell starting in April, including support of cloud services, databases and information technology. The move is expected to eliminate 600 jobs.
CANADA OKS RETURN OF BOEING 737 MAX AIRCRAFT
The Boeing 737 Max can return to Canadian airspace beginning this week, officials said, concluding nearly two years of government review after the aircraft was involved in two deadly crashes that saw the planes grounded worldwide.
WAITING FOR PASSENGERS, AMERICAN PUTS BOEING MAX IN THE AIR
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EUROPEAN REGULATOR MOVES TO CLEAR BOEING 737 FOR FLIGHT
European regulators took a step closer to letting the Boeing 737 Max fly again, publishing a proposed airworthiness directive that could see the aircraft cleared within weeks after being grounded for nearly two years over deadly crashes.
FAA CLEARS BOEING 737 MAX TO FLY AGAIN
After nearly two years and a pair of deadly crashes, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has cleared Boeing’s 737 Max for flight.
NICE KNOWING YOU: LONDON HEATHROW'S FAREWELL TO BA'S JUMBOS
British Airways’ last two Boeing 747 planes at the airline’s historic base of London’s Heathrow Airport made their final flight Thursday, the fleet’s retirement having been brought forward by the coronavirus pandemic.
Boeing Says Pandemic Will Cut Demand For Planes For a Decade
Boeing is lowering its expectations around demand for new planes over the next decade as the coronavirus pandemic continues to undercut air travel.
FAA CHIEF TESTS CHANGES TO BOEING'S GROUNDED 737 MAX
The head of the Federal Aviation Administration, a former military and airline pilot, said Wednesday that he liked what he saw during a two-hour test flight of Boeing’s revamped 737 Max jetliner, a key step as the agency considers whether to let the plane return to flight after two deadly crashes.