My alarm clock rang at exactly 5am yesterday. I rolled in bed weighing my options. I could sleep in and wake up at 1pm and be extremely fresh and spend the day idling around, or I could embark on an adventure and try to get back to Kuching when flights are overbooked. In fact, the Kuching route is so full that even if we put passengers on the wings there still won’t be enough space for everyone. I know because we have this uber secret terminal that we can check to see exactly how many seats are left on a flight.
At 5:26am, I made up my mind to go back. The bus from Subang leaves at 6am so I had 34 minutes to get ready. I made it just on time. Met my shift mates on the bus since they’re working today. The reason why I woke up so early was because the first flight to Kuching was using an Airbus. So there are more chances of people not turning up. But when I got to the standby counter I was told that there was already 14 people on standby. It was then that I realized that I need to take drastic action.
After a brief visit to the ODC, I managed to get the approval to use the jumpseat on that flight. I met the same guys who helped get my jumpseat the last time. Thanks a lot guys, you really made my day!
This was my first time on an Airbus jumpseat so I was pretty excited. It’s not as cramped as the 737 jumpseat and it’s a widebody glass cockpit aircraft, flown by two joysticks, not unlike the one I use to fly at home. And after 3 months at ASU I also have a better understanding of the ground movement and the procedures in dispatching the aircraft. All these while I’ve observed and participated on the ground. So now’s my chance to see it from the pilots’ point of view, and fill in the bits and pieces that I would have normally missed out if I’m on the ground.
I would say it was a great experience observing the flight crew do their pre-flight. There was something wrong with the APU so a ground pneumatic cart was required to start the engines. Previously I would be on the ground observing the pneumatic ducts being connected, giving clearance for engine starting and watching as the engine spun to life.
Now instead I’m in the cockpit observing the communication between the pilot and the ATC, indicating that they would be starting one engine before pushback, and then communication with the ground crew to pressurize the pneumatic manifolds, followed by engine starting and the subsequent disconnection of the ground pneumatic cart. Everything was happening like clockwork. It was fascinating to be able to experience that in a different perspective.
I requested permission to take photos during the flight from the Captain but unfortunately I didn’t have my D90 with me. The kind stewardess took it so she can
camwhore keep it in a safe place for me. Anyways it was a wonderful flight. The autopilot took care of everything that I had the time to have a discussion with the Captain about navigation related topics. And while coming in to Kuching airport I saw the Captain hand flying the Airbus on to the runway. Now that’s something I was really impressed with.
Well it’s really great to be back. Will post video of the take off and landing soon!