Thursday, August 9, 2012

Trust me, I was never really gone.

Okay, aside from some stray thoughts I haven't posted here in a long time.

Trust me, I was never really gone.  Life just got really really busy for a while.  But that's soon to change, it should get even more so now.

Anyway, back in May, having had enough of Columbus and Ohio. I sought out a job in more polite climes.  I found one in Dallas fairly quickly and that's the short answer.

I'm a captain on a Falcon now.

The last month(s) I've been in indoc. training and then Flight Safety at DFW getting the type rating and then, finally, yesterday was the line check/299 checkride.  Sounds pretty simple, huh.

Not really.

The Falcon type I got is on a design that predates pretty much all of modern aviation's innovations, dark cockpit concept, ergonomics, standardization of instrumentation, etc. etc.  It was pretty much the first corporate jet on the market and as the saying goes, if you've seen one Falcon jet, you've seen one Falcon jet.

That being said, it's a very tough bird that'll take lots of abuse and aside from being underpowered (for a jet) it's really easy to fly.

Other than that, the 2 week initial type rating course that we were supposed to take at FS, turned into a 5 week exercise in hurry up and wait.  About the 3rd day of classroom of the 7 "book larnin'" days we were informed that the sim's visuals had broken and they were trying to fix it.  They'd know more soon and they would keep us updated as they learned it.  Apparently what happened was the Mylar screen that the visuals are projected onto had torn.  Well, the screen is vacuum formed to a curved frame and is kept that way by a constant vacuum action.  Then we find out that only Rockwell Collins, the original manufacturer of this screen system, had the ability to fix it, and they'd be a week getting a team together and getting down to Dallas to fix it.  So, we do our first two days of sim sitting in front of a poster on a wall pretending to flip switches and punch buttons.  Fun.

When that was finished they told us that there was a vibration that was causing the tears in the first place and they needed FAA approval to change the software to remove the vibration and fix the problem.  At this point we were going day by day as to when the sim would be back up.  The FAA being, well the FAA, it took them a week to shuffle the paperwork.


By that time, they'd found "structural faults" in the hydraulic legs the sim rode on.  These legs move the entire sim around to simulate aircraft motion.  Now, FS was telling us we'd be week by week instead of day by day.  Hey, paid time off!  Except, part of my paycheck was on hold till I'd finished my line checks.  So, basically, FS cut my pay by 1/3 for a month.

Finally, replacement parts were in, paperwork was shuffled, stamped, folded, spindled and mutilated by as many levels of bureaucracy as possible and 21 days after the last time I showed my face at the DFW training center, I was back for 7 straight days of sim sessions and my type checkride.  Which was 28 days after the training started and 14 days after it was supposed to have finished.  So, 7 days of motion sickness, H'Ray!  You see, even though the sim gets close to what you'd feel flying the actual airplane, it's still not reality and the balance portion of your ears are still telling you one thing while what's actually happening is another.

Anyway, yesterday we finished up with the checkride and I now have 3 full fledged type ratings on my pilots license. Learjet, which allows me to fly the Lear 20 series, the Lear 30 series and the Lear 55. Lr-40/45 which covers two more Lear airframes and basically means the only Lear I can't fly right now is the 60.  And the Falcon.  But I know guys who have half a dozen or more type on their licenses so 3 isn't such a big thing.

Oh, as an aside, under my license's limitations section, it now says English Proficiency.  I would never have known that being proficient in the English language would be a limitation.  I guess if you would ask the French, they'd say it was.

Of course, right after the checkride, we sped over to the airport to get our line checks and what we refer to as our 299 ride done.  Basically it was all the portions of the checkride that FS couldn't do, because they were either company specific or required to be performed in an actual airplane, not a sim.

That was fun, motion sick and all.  It basically turned yesterday into a 16 hour marathon.

On the bright side, my pay jumped by a 1/3 yesterday, so H'Ray for disposable income!

Oh! The move. That was... fun.

My friend Phlegm Fatale coordinates and schedules moves for a national freight company.  I'd used her before to move from Tulsa to Columbus and she/They were both cheap and very good at doing it.  So I contacted them for the move to Texas.  The same relocube cost me 3 times the Tulsa to Columbus price! OUCH! So, I went to UHaul to try to save some money.  The price they quoted me for buying and installing a hitch and electric connector on my Jeep, the trailer and packing boxes and materials was going to keep the move under a grand even including gas, hotels and food on the move.  Except they wont rent trailers to soft top Jeeps.  Which, if you ask me, is Jeepist on their part and we should picket them for being all jeepaphobes and jeepist.  Anyway, they would have ended up costing me half again as much as said national freight company quote for a truck, car trailer, etc. etc. so I went back to national freight company and had them do it.

You know, pretty much every line item that I budgeted for the move ended up costing about a grand more than I planned.

Part of the reason it was so much more expensive to move to Texas than to Ohio is all the jobs are down here and everyone is moving here.  So all the equipment ends up in the south.  The moving companies practically have to pay people to get their equipment up to the north.

While I'm at it, I really need to send out huge thanks to my friends in Texas for letting me couch surf while trying to find an apartment that I could afford and was within my insanely short response time of the airport. Lawdog, Phlegmmy, daniels, Desi, Thank You all so very much.

And that's pretty much what I've been up to in a nutshell for the last several weeks.  And aside from some minor stuff like internet for my apartment and buying new furniture, things are starting to settle down.  Although I still don't know if they'll give me time off for blogorado this year.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Random thought

Hamburger Helper and Tuna Helper should come with little things of hot sauce. Just sayin'.

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