Archive for February, 2009

Berck Update

23 February 2009 at 9:50 pm
by Jonah

Berck hasn’t been very talkative, but this seems like the most efficient way of letting everyone know things.

He’s got his favorite instructor, so not much to complain about there.

His roommate moved out, so he has a whole house to himself. Unfortunately, he has to share it with a myriad of dead crickets on the floors and the occasional gigantic roach that shows up.

His bed has wheels on it that makes it move across the floor whenever he turns over.

He talked the driver who picked him up from the airport late Sunday night to stop by Wal-Mart on the way home. His house has a fridge and a kitchen. He eats sandwiches and drinks Newcastle and Bass.

His house is about a mile and a half from the classrooms. He walks it instead of waiting for a shuttle. It takes him about half an hour.

His class is between 10 am and 7 pm.

There are 8 people in his class, including three females.

His instructor gave them Dash 8 patches for MS Flight Simulator, so Berck can practice at home. He spent all of Saturday morning doing so. He hadn’t gotten to the electrical system yet, so it took him a while to figure out how to turn it on.


17 February 2009 at 8:13 pm
by Berck

Still haven’t learned much.

17 February 2009 at 5:36 pm
by Berck

Yesterday was the first day of class, so I didn’t expect to learn much. Fortunately, for once, we didn’t have do undergo drug testing and fill out endless reams of paperwork like I had to on my last 3 first days.

Instead we did a brief review of material in the General Operations Manual. This included things like, “How many hours after giving blood must you wait to serve as a required flight crew member?” (72) Or more complicated very-boring questions about required weather, derived alternate minimums, exemption 3585. Or the 7 conditions under which the Captain has to perform the takeoff if the first officer has less than 100 hours of part 121 experience in the airplane.

Today, we showed up expecting to start digging into systems. We’d gawked at the unfamiliar switches and gauges on our Dash 8 cockpit posters and were eager to start understanding the airplane. Unfortunately, in classic Mesa fashion, our books failed to arrive today, so we went home after some more boring GOM review.

I left my stack of CRJ books in the back of the classroom on day 1. They told me to bring them on Day 1 and didn’t ask for them, and I’m not hauling them around any more than necessary. Good riddance to the damn things. I should be able to carry around significantly fewer books for the Dash.

I’ve been intermittently memorizing new numbers for the airplane. Without systems books, it’s impossible to start understanding how the airplane works, but numbers are numbers and one must memorize new ones for every airplane one flies. When I started flying, there were several dozen numbers that could be memorized for a Cessna 172. Now that I’m flying airliners, there are hundreds of numbers to memorize. Fortunately, memorization isn’t hard, just boring.

The reason I changed my mind and went to Seattle after all is that on Friday afternoon, Jonah let me know that her employers have said that they are only going to be able to afford to employ her half time after the end of March. That means that we’re about to be very poor, and I couldn’t really justify driving to Phoenix when round trip gasoline would cost at least $120 or so. So, since I wouldn’t be driving to Phoenix, there seemed to be no reason not to go to Seattle since that’s free. I didn’t leave a blog because I decided to go about 20 minutes before Jonah came home for us to drive to the airport.

Anyway, this could prove to be a significant hardship for us. Flying the Dash 8 instead of the CRJ means that I took a 27% pay cut. It seemed worth it so that I could be at home, but now it doesn’t seem to make as much sense. Without this job, there’s not much reason for us to stay in Colorado Springs.

That said, we don’t have any immediate plans to move. Jonah’s hoping that her employers will change their minds, but that seems unlikely to me. I can’t change my mind about flying the Dash now, at least for quite some time.

I’m not at all sure how long my job is likely to be around. Mesa stock just gained 25% today. If that’s all I told you, it’d sound like things were looking up for Mesa, but it’s easy to lie with statistics. That 25% gain was a $0.01 gain. Mesa’s stock was at $0.04 yesterday, and went up to $0.05 today.

My living conditions are obnoxious. There are dead crickets all over the floors. I’m sleeping in a very uncomfortable twin bed that roams about the room when I roll over. There is almost no furniture in the house. The last house I stayed in at least had a desk and dresser in the rooms. My room has a twin bed and a night stand.

I’ll post some pictures.

Attaboy, NY Times

16 February 2009 at 8:38 pm
by Berck

Here’s a totally reasonable, factually correct article discussing Colgan 3407. It’s rare that the news media fails to make glaring errors in reports about airplane crashes. I’d like to commend the New York Times on doing a decent job, here.

Elliott’s 3rd Birthday Party

16 February 2009 at 7:35 pm
by Jonah

“Uncle Buhck” and I went to Seattle this weekend to help nephew Elliott celebrate his 3rd birthday.