2016-02-15 DAL to HOU (Galveston)  HOU to Home

This was cool; going to Dallas not for a checkride, but to take a week getting the "Enterprise" home via the Gulf of Mexico. February here can be cold but we lucked out and got the upper 60's.


This is the cheapest I've seen Diesel in years. Even stranger was it being the same as regular gas. $1.55/gal.


I've never seen the new Network Operations Center so this was pretty cool.


The Training Center lobby of where I go for my checkrides houses this enormous model.


The coolest part of this trip, bar none, was getting two hours in one of our newest 737-800 simulators. At first I couldn't figure out how to get the visual on but a call to the tech revealed it to be easy, just start taxiing. Cool! Soon we were in business.

The first thing was to let Tim see what a typical departure was like. I loaded everything up like we were flying to LAX, taxied out and did a normal takeoff, engaging the autopilot in LNAV and VNAV at the usual points. Flying everything single pilot while explaining the procedure was kinda fun and not terribly challenging. Mostly because it's not that challenging when everything is working. Of course we also didn't have any complicating radio chatter going on.



After about an hour of flying around in the dark, one of the Sim gurus had a spare moment and came to give us the daylight visuals. How cool!!! Wow, is this thing capable. In the 20+ years I've been at Southwest I don't know that I've ever seen a full daylight visual. One thing that was weird was that inside the cockpit it was still dark but outside was like daylight.


We were in the one on the left. You can see a rubber chicken hanging from the sim between us. More in the sidebar.

We've maxed out our training center. Every bay is full so we're building a new building. Somewhere.


Next it was on to Dave Broyles place to see his version of scooter towing.


There are dozens of ways to skin the cats of towing and teaching and I'm just out there taking in as many as I can. David has been doing this for a long time! Unfortunately the winds picked up and became nasty. I took the wing out kiting to see how it was and had no interest in flying in that air. Yuck. I wonder if 10 years ago it would have been different. I'm definitely chicken now. I was getting periodically yanked off my feet. Not lifted, yanked. Then half the wing would move over 10 feet and fold up. It was king.


We met Andy McAvin and one of his former students for some beach play. Talk about perfect weather. This was the smoothest air I can remember. Beach air is usually nice but at least has some texture. This was super smooth. I practiced landing on little sand piles then landed on the Enterprise. Trust me, that's not hard with a 13 mph wind. Bummed we didn't get to spend more time with Andy, though. I did get to try out one of MacPara's newest rides (The Blaze) and one from a couple years ago (The Pitbull). The Blaze 21 was fast. I was only barely faster, no more than a half mph, on my Viper 18. The Viper probably needs the D's stretched, to be fair. Nice flying wings, easier kiting, too, with their lower aspect ratio.


Heeeeer's Andy! He's showing off a simple throttle holder on his machine.

And this was Francesco Desantis' idea, a rope to keep the prop from turning while starting the motor. Even if it were to go to full power unexpectedly it couldn't do anything.


Flying the beach rocks. This is Galveston and I marvel that people are building new houses here. The last time we came through was only a week after Ike and this place looked like a war zone (2008 Texas Treat).


This place is new.

Driving to New Orleans we wound up following, then being chased by a line of severe weather. The fun wore off quickly so we pulled over to sit back and work on various things including the bLog.

Going over bridges is always cool and a bit spooky. There were plenty of opportunities for both and, given the condition of parts of I-10, it made me wonder who was doing bridge maintenance.


Southwest Airlines Simulators and the Rubber Chicken Story

Yup, that's a rubber chicken hanging from our brand spankin' new 737-800 CAE simulator. A rubber chicken.

When I arrived at this airline in 1993 there were only about 4 sims and yup, they, too, had rubber chickens hanging from them. WTF?

Legend has it that long ago, during a period of maintenance headaches, someone hung a rubber chicken from one particularly troublesome simulator. Its problems vanished. Ergo rubber chickens all around. Some years later, a manager decided to remove them to be more professional. Simulator problems seemed to get worse and, ergo, rubber chickens.

That's my retold version, anyway. Kind of a fun story and it's nice to see that, although the airline treats safety very seriously, they don't necessarily take themselves so seriously.



© 2016 Jeff Goin & Tim Kaiser   Remember: If there's air there, it should be flown in!