King Air Pilot Day #1
So today was the big day, first flight ever that I didn’t have to pay for and instead for which I got paid! Huge milestone in this career change.
The day started with getting my uniform and the coveted wings and epaulettes, then some flight planning and a walk around inspection of the plane. Flight planned for CYYC to CFB6 with me as pilot monitoring (PM) then me flying (PF) for 3 circuits with take offs and landing to regain my currency to haul passengers.
The flight started out great, but as we got closer to Josephberg, the weather started getting bad and because there was a closed airspace right beside the airport, we couldn’t get an instrument approach in… so we had to proceed to our alternate Edmonton International. On route to CYEG, we made a request with the approach controllers to see if we could complete the circuits at CYEG and were thankfully granted permission – otherwise it would have been a mess with me not being able to fly with the passengers back to Calgary.
With the skies closing in at CYEG, we shot the ILS and noted ceilings were at 3500 ft, barely high enough for the circuits! After landing, we quickly lined up and I took the controls and did my first take off, not bad – could had been more on centerline. Climbing up we found the ceilings were really at 3300 ft and we needed some help from tower to stay clear of the clouds and I came around for my first approach. The approach was very good and the landing was actually incredibly good, considering the tricky crosswinds – I think my captain was even impressed.
The second take off was still not quite centerline but better but the circuit was even tougher with the skies really closing in. I got off the approach profile a bit and actually came in too slow and had to really work to get the landing and brought it down safe, but nothing like the first.
By the third take off, the winds were really howling and my take off was a bit sketchy as I am still learning to get the wind corrections in while actually flying the aircraft – a whole different experience than sim! Shortly after take off we realized we wouldn’t be able to complete the circuit without getting fully into the clouds (IMC), so captain got on the radio and we had to pick up a pop-up IFR clearance and I proceeded to shot and ILS approach. This approach and landing was better than the second, but still the winds made it hard for me to hit the speeds and the landing wasn’t picture perfect, but we were safely down and I completed my requirements for hauling passengers!
Pulling into the base, my Ramp buddies Alex and Jamie marshaled us in and gave me a warm wave as we unloaded. After a short visit we headed into the briefing room and quickly reviewed the flight and we discussed my needing to more closely watch my speeds on approach to give me the best chance of a smooth landing. We then had about 2 hrs before we were to expect the passengers who had to be bussed to the airport from Red Water.
Once the passengers arrived, we loaded up and I gave my first passenger briefing and we took off out of CYEG for CYYC. The skies in Calgary were looking good, but we were going to have to fly through and around some storms on our arrival. Again on this flight I was PM and already things are starting to feel easier and I think my radio calls and filling my duties went much better.
Once back in Calgary no unloaded we quickly reviewed the flights again and captain said I did a good job for my first day but to review a few of the PM duties tonight. Tomorrow we check in at 4:15 for a 5:00 positioning flight to CYEG and then we pick up passengers and head to Fort Chipewyan, a small First Nations community in Northern AB.
Phew, what a day!