First day of my OE--operating experience. I don’t want to show up late for my first day and both Chicago and Atlanta have forecast of rain; even thunderstorms in Atlanta. So I catch the 11:40 AM flight from Chicago which is full. I earn a few gray hair between the boarding area and the airplane. I miraculously manage to grab the last seat, which I didn’t know I had until literally 3 minutes before pushback. That was after leaving home at 9 AM and an hour drive from Oswego to OHare and parking at a hotel pretending to be a guest so I can jump on their shuttle to the airport (new hotel, since the other one now refuses to give me rides).
So I sit in the uncomfortable jumpseat of a regional jet all the way to Atlanta trying to relax. Once in the crew lounge in Atlanta I have to catch up on a zillion memos. Standard practice when you’re a new hire. You spend two months learning the rules but now you need to learn all the changes / amendments / addendums to those rules. The computer keeps track of the memos you read. I was "delinquent" for this rotation.
The bad weather is moving to Boston--my destination tonight. I’m nervous though I’ve done those "OE flights" at previous airlines before. They’re never easy. The learning curve is steep despite weeks spent in the simulator. The real world… is so real.
I grab a coke and a bacon cheese burger because the stress of getting to work is not bad enough for my body. I can’t find the OE Checkairman yet and we’re past report time. I call him. He’s running late, he says. Waiting for the crew bus to pick him up at the parking lot.
Now our departure is delayed an hour and a half because of bad weather and volume of traffic. 8:30 PM pushback. Won’t be at the hotel until 11 PM if we’re lucky. It’s a dark night. I check the flight plan one more time and go over some of the items that are "deferred" or not working on that airplane--like the overwing heater device. I was told in training that those overwing heaters never break. My ground instructor had only seen it happen twice in 15 years. Well, it’s broken on my first flight.
I also notice the aircraft tail number : 911.