Sep 11

Cleaning the plane

by in Dont drink the water

What a cruisy week this has been, it started with a monday of not much, just cleaning the plane, Tuesday we did a small small trip to Ranchi (30minutes away), then another day cleaning and a couple of half days in the office.

Ranchi the flight to and from it was ok, just the normal thunderstorms to fly around, but the arrival was a bit strange and hectic. The weather although cloudy with some low clouds was ok, there were breaks in the cloud where you could see the ground, it was a little windy so the air was clear but still the automated weather reporting machine at the airport that the air traffic controller was using to asses the visibility was saying 2500m, even though it looked like there was more than 10km visibility to us. For the first time since I have been here the air traffic controller asked what our required minimums for landings were, of course I hadnt looked at the minimums apart from what was written on the instrument approach plate. But here in India there is a rule, that says for the first 100hrs of flying in a plane in India, even though you may have thousands of hours flying the plane in another country, that the air is different here and for the first 100 hrs you must increase the landing minimums, specifically making sure the visibility isn’t low. For this we have whats called the Z plate, or the 10-9Z chart that lists these increased minimums for each airport for new pilots. Of course after she asks this question I then look at the Z plate and realize we need 3200m visibility to be reported at least before we can even start the approach. By this time we are over the top of the airport, passengers in the back needing to be on the ground for a TV interview in 1 hr, and at the moment no way to land. But after setting up the plane to enter the hold (the poor FO was still lost as per normal) I realized that we could do the ILS (instrument landing system) approach to the other direction as its visibility minimums are higher even for a person learning to fly like me but the wind was right on the 10kt tailwind limit. It took a little convincing but finally the air traffic controller allowed us to land on the other runway. It was the FO’s leg, so I asked him if he’s comfortable doing this, he says he is but not flying the thing….ohh …so we transition to me being the pilot flying.  Get the plane configured and setup for the new approach and new runway and 10 minutes behind schedule we land uneventfully. They park us on ‘the old apron’ which is about 500 ft of taxi way that suddenly ends with a washout and 50ft dropoff (and nothing to mark this of course), and a tiny weed ridden parking area off it, just big enough to turn around on. We then sit and wait in the unairconditioned terminal for the next 4 hrs…lucky I bought a book! The FO still being new to this corporate flying and hurry and and wait way of life still doesn’t carry a computer or book with him…instead he sits around moping that his bored. I of course have absolutely no sympathy for him, and continue reading my Jeremy Clarkson book enjoying my couple of hours of nothing while he tries to doze off in a busy, hot, noisy airline terminal.

We did some cleaning of the plane also this week. Now in the USA you would never clean a corporate jet as a pilot, we have people and cleaning services to do this. But here I like the change of scenery it gives me, sure its stinking hot and the hanger has no flow thru, so its like being in a oven, but its much better than the office. Plus its kind of relaxing to sit there are clean. We have no water in the hanger so this has created a problem, the Indian way of cleaning a car or plane for that matter is to use a wet rag and wipe it down….. bad idea. As you can see by looking at our jet, its covered in scratches, even the inside all the high gloss wood work inside is scratched to shit. But I remembered when they would clean our jets at the last job they would do it out in the open without water, and I remembered the stuff they used, its called Wash and Wax All. Its amazing stuff it  comes as a concentrate, you mix it with water, spray it on and wipe it off (well this takes a little arm work actually) and presto you have a sparkling shiny plane that looks like new. It would be great for a car, I don’t know why the company doesn’t sell it in walmart or some store like that it would sell like hot cakes.

Talking of Walmart, have you seen the new site People of Walmart. Oh its funny, its pics people take of what people do in walmart and more importantly how they dress.. have a look http://peopleofwalmart.com/

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