December has been slow with updates from my side. So it's time for a mega update! This because December had multiple faces for me. On one side it was a really slow flying month, a medical renewal, my first OPC and leave and the holidays on the other side. I was schedueled with only 8 sectors in December. But more importantly, back to the sim! The OPC (Operators Proficiency Check) is, together with your LPC, (Line Proficiency Check) a six month recurring sim check. And mine was due just before Christmas. Glad to get it out of the way before the holidays. My OPC was slightly different than normal ones as my examinor was being examined (still get it?) by the CAA for his recurrent. But all was fine and after two days (8 hours in the sim) I was signed of to operate as a CAT A First Officer. After your initial training (LPC) you are classified as a CAT B F/O which imposes several restriction on your limits. Once you do your first OPC (six months after your LPC) you get the upgrade to CAT A F/O. The main reason I'm happy with this upgrade is that it allows me to do takeoff's from London City again! Talking about London City, I managed to snap a rather unusual picture of a empty ramp! Funny thing was that I saw a fellow EPST collegue taxi out and heading towards Luxembourg. It's nice to see a familiar face, and fellow EPST guy on the line, wherever you are! I couldn't snap a picture unfortunately as I was doing my walkaround as he taxied past us. (yep that's you Max...)
A good friend of ours gave me a special Christmas seat cover to accompany me on my flights leading up to Chrismas. Quite a funny statement and it served it's purpose. I couldn't withhold you the picture...
Lately most of my time is filled with two or three day Madrid trips. Good for the flying hours but even better for the scenic views down below. Just the other day we crossed the snow covered Cordillera Cantabrica mountains (480 kilometers long with peaks over 1800meters) which provided us with this amazing view! (near Santander and Bilbao)
On the way back from Madrid we were pushing agains this jetstream at FL320. Overhead Bretagne with Jersey on our left. (EGJJ) Groundspeed was 319 knots.
Found another picture in my archive taken from my hotel room near The Tower Bridge in London.
And below the Pentland Hills near Edinburgh covered in a frosty white layer.
This month I'm schedueled to do quite a lot of Zurich trips as well so I'll more then likely get my fair share of snow covered mountains. I haven't been to Zurich in ages so I'm quite looking forward to that. Coming back to those Madrid flights, just the other day I flew with a captain with over 13000+ hours, mostly in the Royal Air Force. (RAF) That means you'll get war stories for 2 1/2 hours straight, absolutely fantastic! The enthousiasm, passion and exitement was so clearly present that time litterally flew by. Glad that I'm schedueled to do more trips with him in the coming days. Looking forward to it already...
One of the aspects I like about the job is the fact that one day can turn out completely different that you origionally expected it to be. One classic example was a day when I was schedueled to position from Edinburgh to Frankfurt via Heathrow (on BA mainline) and then operate a flight back to London City to nightstop and fly back and forth between London and Frankfurt the next day. Due to the extensive fog covering the whole of the UK southcoast all of the flights going towards London were given hudge weather delays. For us that day ended up in a 3 hour wait at Edinurgh, taxi to Glasgow, then with Flybe to Southampton and onwards with them to Frankfurt. Although a cancellation of two of my flights it was still a great day! I've never flown with Flybe and never on a Dash-8 Q400. And I had never been to Southampton. It did cost me two sectors, so I was now down to six but it did gave me time to spend some quality time at home with my wife Marije. We're a touring airline as it's called and I'm away from home 16 or 17 days a month. So this slow month, especially in december, was a welcome surprise.
Besides work my wife and I managed to get out in the countryside with a good friend of mine who came by from Holland. Temperatures dropped to an all time low, at least for us, -6 to-8 degrees celcius! We whent to visit the Edinburgh Santa Run 2007 in the Princes Street gardens and a place called Cramond to do some scenic walking and visit Lauriston Castle. A great day out but very cold as you can see by the pictures! 30 pictures in total.
Not much later it was Christmas and New Year. The city was all dressed up which provides me with some very nice photo opertunities. On the first day of the Edinburgh Hogmanay 2007 we whent to see the famous Torchlight Procession. 20.000 people carrying a burning torch (5 pounds per torch) provided me with some nice photo ops. Part of Princes Street was packed with viewers as the procession kept coming down The Mound for 45 minuites (!) ending up on Calton Hil. !During new years eve we had tickets to watch the fireworks display from Princes Street. 1.3 million pound worth of fireworks (weighing 8 tons) light up the sky for about 4 minutes. Until recently, New Year fireworks were launched only from Edinburgh Castle. In the last few years, six more locations around Scotland's Capital City have been added to the light show. Edinburgh has a total of seven hills and, at midnight on Hogmanay night, all 7 light up, with fireworks from the Castle being the centerpiece. Enjoy the pictures of Edinburgh's Hogmanay and new year's eve 2007 - '08. Starting with the Torchlight Procession;
And New Years Eve...
in total 1.3 million pounds worth of fireworks were set off. 6000 seconds long 60.000 single rockets. After all the celebrations we went into town to see some friends of ours. We had a really nice time and we got a taste of the traditional Scottish Haggis! Not my taste but while you're living in Scotland you've gotta try Haggis one time or another. Thanks Mike!
Again lot's of new photo's on my flickr page More than shown on this page.