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It's been a interesting 12 months, this time last year I was looking for a job and paid good money to go to Morocco to fly a Boeing 737-800 for 500 flight hours. As things turned out I was offered a job in July with a rival airline based in Casablanca, flying both the 737-800 and the older 737-400. So now I get home to Accrington and my Girl once a month for a week or so.
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Comming home, 5th July

Posted 07-07-2009 at 07:53 by Boeing Guy

Coming home today, Sunday, been in Morocco for a month, missed my girl an awful lot. A few things have happened this month, I have moved into a Villa, with a Captain, in Mohammedia, about 30 minutes drive from the Airport and Office, Rented a car, at least until I can get my car over, Passed my 6 monthly check.

I started at 4.30 AM UK time got dressed stuck my case in the car and off I went. As I was rather early, I took the long route to the office, on the coast road. It was nice and quiet and got me to the office at the right time. On arrival I was informed that the aircraft was ‘On Ground’ this means there is a fault, in this case a Window has to be replaced, we would know more by 11AM (uk). The Aircraft has been parked up all night, but that’s too hard…..

So I look at my options, Lyon, Marseille, Milan. Milan is tempting, but the outright winner is Lyon, Oh dear the Aircraft is ‘On Ground’ as well. Milan it is then, I looked at the ticketing and cannot make the connection. Maybe Marseille could do. There is a Ryanair flight and it fits in with my plans, but I have to ring their booking centre. No idea where I can find the number for that, it does not seem to be on their website, do they not need my money then?.

All looks lost until one of the French First Officers tells me that the TGV goes to Charles De Gaulle every day, this looks better so I rush off to the airport, having first changed my flight to a later one from Paris to Manchester. Return the car and get to the plane. The Capt greets me and tells me we might also be grounded, great we have 5 planes, one is in major work and now 3 of the 4 that are left might be grounded as well, oh happy days…..

The problem involves the door, it is hard to close, both the Capt, the FO and myself, a freeloading FO, have no problem shutting and opening it, the Engineer looks at it and declares it fit, thank goodness.
We get away on time 8.30 (uk) and arrive in Marseille about 11.00 (uk)

I kind of rush to get a to the TGV station, there is a train at 12.00 (uk) and that will get me to Paris CDG in time for my flight home. The TGV station is rather big and the ticket agent speaks perfect English, he even tells me where to get a bite to eat and offers me a 1st Class seat at only €10 more than std.
I walk out to the train, I have no idea where I am going, it’s much bigger than the ones we have in England. I am told by a station clerk? That I should enter the carriage I am next too, the only problem is it is std not 1st, oh well got conned then!
After leaving the station I find the guard and he helps me to relocate to the 1st Class cabin, which is very nice and spacious. Good old French. Lots nicer, than theVirgin ones. We don’t get any free food, but that’s okay.

I start to relax now, on my way knowing that I will make it.

Once at CDG, a place I really hate. I struggle with my case and flight bag, have to manoeuvre several sets of escalators and stairs, only in France, before I get to the terminal. I arrive at check in, still in my uniform and Company and Airside pass showing, the girl weighs my case then frowns at my carry on. It is a Pilot Case, I have never ever had any problems with it with any airline including Flybe, whom I am flying with tonight for about the 8th time, but she insists I weigh it. Thankfully it just weighs 10kg, so she lets me take it, I would have rather not flown than let that out of my sight. I have never had trouble at Manchester or anywhere else with this case and it is the first time, bloody French!!

Still never mind, I head off to security and passport control, this is where my uniform comes in handy. As the advert says, membership has it’s privileges, I zoom though passport control and security, go to the duty free shops and buy my girl some choc’s, well she is worth it, even though they cost a small fortune.

Finally I have some time to sit, relax and take stock. My flight is not for an hour and a half, that’s usual when you have to make connections, and try to figure out how much today has cost me, all in the effort of getting home for a week. To be fair it does run into hundreds of pounds, but I could not care one jot, I am going home and that is without price, to sleep in my own bed, see the smile on my girl’s face, just writing this is making me a bit emotional…. sorry….

The flight is at 7.40 (uk) and gets into Manchester about 9.00 so home for 10ish, shower and bed for a good nights sleep.

I really enjoy my job, but it hurts having to leave my loved ones for so much of the time,

Knowing what I know now, would I become a Pilot again, with all the unsociable hours, the aggression from passengers, awkward Captains , Aircraft that sometimes go wrong, especially when you least expect it, 6 monthly checks on your flying ability with the option of firing you, Yearly medicals that you must pass, the threat of terrorism and the possibility that one day I might not come home. Being away from home for long periods, with the strain on your relationship it gives, having some, not all, cabin crew throw themselves at you, because you have a European Passport and refusing their advances (it’s not that hard, I am very much in love still after 13 years), dealing with the dangers of cosmic radiation , and any other nasties you may get in the far flung places we pilots go to…..

Well yes I would, in a heartbeat, because seeing a sunset and sunrise, at 40,000 feet is unreal, we have the best view in the house and are able to see the Earth Terminator most mornings and evening flights, (the divide between night and day). African sunrises over the Sahara. Clouds that make your jaw drop in awe at their size, after all they are just moisture, admittedly they can kill, and have done recently, but nerveless. The coast line of countries and view of the ground. Knowing that I can manhandle a 80 Tonne Aluminium Tube and not that many people can do that, having pride in what I do. Telling everyone I meet that I am a Jet pilot, sorry cannot help myself. Having Jill, my girl and all my family immensely proud of all I have done, being paid well for something I love really love and find fun. I would not change it for the world……….but, it would just be nice to come home most nights.
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  1. Old Comment
    Margaret Pilkington's Avatar
    enjoy your visit home and don't forget to tell these people just how much you miss them.
    I enjoyed your blog. I felt like I was there with you.
    Posted 07-07-2009 at 10:01 by Margaret Pilkington Margaret Pilkington is offline
    Updated 07-07-2009 at 19:47 by Margaret Pilkington (typo)
  2. Old Comment
    flashy's Avatar
    Posted 07-07-2009 at 19:38 by flashy flashy is offline

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