The Best Office in the World
A Day in the Life of an XOJET Pilot
SAN FRANCISCO, May 1, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- When we talk to our pilots, they often tell us they have "the best office in the world." We thought phrase that would make a great name for a blog post. Welcome to the first in a series of guest posts from XOJET pilots illustrating what life's like in the cockpit.
Today's guest post is from XOJET Citation X pilot Kimsua Chay, who blends his passion for photography and aviation to tell the story of a typical day for an XOJET pilot.
It's 6 a.m., and I'm sitting in the front end of the Citation X, one of the world's fastest civilian aircraft. The sun has yet to break the horizon, but my captain, Josh, and I have already been up for the last hour preparing our aircraft for a repositioning flight from Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans to Teterboro, N.J., where we'll operate a private jet charter flight to Gunnison, Co., later this afternoon.
At the moment, I'm sipping a scalding hot cup of coffee while I listen to the whine of the auxiliary power unit (APU) grow louder as it spools to life. It's all part of an XOJET pilot's daily routine, and only one of the many steps required to prepare our aircraft for flight each day.
The planning and preparation for each flight usually begins well before the XOJET crew even steps aboard the jet. If you could follow one of us around for an evening, you would probably see us hovering over our iPad 2, BlackBerry or laptop, reviewing everything related to our upcoming flight. This ranges from checking the most current weather forecasts to running performance calculations to ensure that we can safely complete our flights. Some days, we can accomplish this review in 5 minutes; on other days, it can take almost an hour.
After the Citation X's five multi-function display units come to life and while the two inertial reference systems start to figure out their current position, I begin to run through the checklist for our first flight of the day. This begins with the rotary test, trim tests, cockpit voice-recorder check and fuel cross-feed checks to verify that all of our aircraft systems are working correctly. While I do that, Josh finishes the pre-flight exterior walk-around to ensure that the jet is physically airworthy and then steps back into the cabin.
Now that all the checks are done, we position the jet on the runway and wait to get clearance for takeoff. Once we get the go-ahead and hit the throttle, the massive twin Rolls-Royce turbofan engines—each capable of 6,764 pounds of force—burst into life and our surroundings seem to melt into a blur.
Our climb out of New Orleans is smooth as we break through the early low layer of clouds that covers nearly all of Louisiana, Mississippi and nearby Alabama. The sun is now bright and we're still scheduled for an on-time arrival into Teterboro to pick up our passengers for our "live leg" to Gunnison. It's my day to fly, so Josh finishes our cruise checklist after we level off at 41,000 feet. I do a quick check on the weather in Teterboro to get an idea of what runways they'll be using so that we can plan ahead for our arrival.
Our next 40 minutes of flight time are spent monitoring the aircraft systems and the autopilot and checking in with various air route traffic control center frequencies. Time passes quickly, and we're issued our first descent as part of our assigned arrival into Teterboro. As we're descending, we run through our initial descent checklist, verify that the temperature and winds have been entered into the flight management system (FMS), check our landing distance numbers, verify that field elevation has been set for our pressurization system, and double check our frequency for the FBO that we'll be flying into. Once that's all complete, the pace of things picks up quickly. It's a busy morning in the New York area and after multiple step-down descents, radar vectors and frequency changes, we're set up for a 7-mile final descent into Teterboro.
With a light thump, our Citation X officially touches down. Once clear of the runway, I quickly run through our after-landing checklist and fire up the APU while Josh taxies us into Atlantic Aviation, where we're scheduled to pick up our passengers for our next flight into Gunnison.
It may seem like our work is over for the morning, but really it's just begun. With our next leg being a live leg with passengers, we once again load the flight plan into the FMS, check our performance numbers and submit them to the XOJET Operations Center in Sacramento, make a fuel order and essentially repeat almost everything that we've done earlier minus our first-flight-of-the day tasks. Josh then spends the next 30 minutes prepping the cabin for our passengers' arrival. This includes ensuring that our clients have freshly brewed coffee, ice and newspapers on board as well as verifying that their catering is delivered, correct and organized neatly on our aircraft. We also look over the finer details of the cabin, ensuring that the window shades are up, rogue fingerprints are wiped down, seat belts are in place, cabin lights are on and all AV screens are in airshow mode.
It's almost a never-ending job preparing our aircraft for our passengers' arrival. Sometimes we're prepping the cabin up to the very last second before our passengers step foot on our air stair door, but I personally feel that it's a task that we enjoy and take pride in doing. So if you ever see us running around like mad men or women prior to your arrival, rest assured that it's your XOJET pilots trying to provide you with the best service that we can!Media Contact:
Brian Park XOJET, 650-676-4700, firstname.lastname@example.org
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