The weather was perfect - scattered clouds, calm winds with temperatures in the mid 70s.
A perfect fall day. We were about 5 miles from the outer marker, exhausted from a 9 hour flight from Paris. The runway and our cars in the parking lot were only a few miles ahead of us and the end of our trip was just a few short checklists away.
"Flaps 5", I called. It was time to slow the 757 down to get it ready for landing speed. As the aircraft slowed to approach speed, I called for Flaps 20, Gear down and the landing check list.
No matter how many times we've flown these aircraft, a checklist is key. Fatigued shows its ugly face in many different ways and we didn't want to forget anything.
"Flaps 30, set final approach speed." With the aircraft perfectly configured, in light wind, it as almost like the 200,000 pound piece of metal flew itself to the ground.
*thump* as the main wheel touched the ground. Thrust reversers deployed. The aircraft was slowing down to taxi speed.
Mission accomplished. Time to head home for a few well deserved days off. Or so I thought.
Upon arriving at the gate and ensuring all checklists were l complete I checked my cell phone and saw a voice mail.
"First Officer, we had another crew member who called in sick and tomorrow you'll be flying to Austin for an overnight."
What? But tomorrow is my day off! What's my contract say again?
Not finding much help there I called back the scheduler. Turns out I'm stuck doing this assignment.
Not one to waste time, I ordered a hotel room. Whenever you're at an airport it is best to order a room as soon as possible. Once weather moves through all those rooms will be booked and you'll be sleeping in the terminal .
After dinner, I was ready to head to bed to face my two days off working to keep the airline going. For all you aspiring pilots reading this, realize that while flying airplanes is a great job, having your days off taken away from you is a pain in the butt.
I was planning on having a BBQ!