Around the Pattern

Ramblings about flying for fun and profit.

Tag: Osaka

Flying to Asia Again

It’s amazing that you can become so familiar with a place so far from home. I guess at this point in my career, familiarity is a good thing. I’ve taken the tours I want to do, now layover time is spent trying to catch up on sleep, getting some exercise and using the computer and internet to keep up with blogging, programming and what is going on at home. Good restaurants with reasonable prices are discovered quickly around layover hotels.

The flight over to Japan went reasonably well yesterday. Just a minor glitch on departure. A circuit breaker was popped, preventing some of the business class lavatories from indicating that they were occupied. Not what I would call a ‘safety of flight’ item as long as they didn’t fix it by gluing the circuit breaker shut. In the end, it was a paperwork exercise to defer the repair to the next station where maintenance had time to troubleshoot and repair the problem.Osaka Kansai airport, Japan

Other than that, the only concern was a report of possible code 3-4 turbulence as we neared the Japanese coast. That would equate to whitecaps in the coffee cup and then liquid sloshing out of the cup. Bad enough to prevent the cabin crew from conducting their last meal service. Turned out that it didn’t materialize for us. We were a bit ahead on our fuel burn, so we descended below the reported bumpy altitudes for the last 90 minutes of the flight. That gave us nothing worse than light turbulence with an occasional moderate bump. Irritating, but not unworkable.

This is the same trip/pattern of flights that I was on about a week ago. Next stop, Taipei tonight. Well, tonight over here…

On the Airway Again

I’m out on another trip in the far, far west. This one is a 6-day jaunt with three layovers. I was just about to leave my commute hotel room for my check-in when I got a call from scheduling. Just a 3-hour delay in the departure time. OK, so much for trying to pre-plan my sleep cycle.  Once we got started, though, things seemed to work smoothly. Well, except for the time I was in the bunk. Sometimes sleep just doesn’t come, no matter how hard you try.  So, those last 3 hours of the 12:30 flight time were pretty nasty. A night arrival, one hour bus ride and I was in a real bed again, though almost 180 out from the body home time zone.

Now I’m almost through day four, a 30-hour layover in Taipei (TPE). Wake-up is at 4 am tomorrow morning for a 3-hour flight to Osaka (KIX). Then a 24-hour layover and a 12-hour flight back to the US.

I’m not sure what will happen then. I’m at the mercy of the scheduler for the rest of the month, temporarily a reserve pilot. Next month my schedule-holder position becomes active and I will be able to control my life a bit more.  The bidding program gave me two trips next month, one of these 6-day KIX-TPE trips that I’m on now and then a 9-day later in the month with layovers in Tokyo (NRT) and Shanghai (PVG).

Sounds exciting unless you’ve been doing it for 20 years. After a few months of going to the same places, you get sort of jaded. You have a routine that you develop, going to safe, familiar places for your meals and tend to not look around. Once in a while a ‘new’ crew member will talk you into a different outing, but the more trips you repeat, the nicer it is to have something familiar to make it feel sort of like home.

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