A Day on the Lufthansa Cityline CRJ900 Flight Deck!
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My way into aviation and the Lufthansa Cityline Flight Deck
Hello dear readers. My name is Dominik! I am happy to have the opportunity to give you a little insight into short- and medium-haul flight operation. Before I start, let me add some information about me. I gained my first flying experience when I was fourteen in a glider. Thereafter, I have made the private pilot’s license for propeller aircrafts. After I have finished school, I started my training at the pilot school of Lufthansa in 2010.
Short prior the ending of my Airbus A320 rating, Lufthansa decided not to hire pilots from their flight school anymore, as long as the negotiations with the pilots union are not be finished. In this situation, I had the choice. To fly A320 in one of the Lufthansa Group airlines, or to make another type rating. The new rating was for the Bombardier CRJ900 for Lufthansa Cityline, which is a subsidiary of Lufthansa for short- and medium-haul regional flights. In my opinion, that was the best option for me, as my home base would then become Munich airport.
Starting the Day with the Early Bird!
I invite you to join me for a typical autumnal day in October. My duty plan consists of three flights on the first day and the check-in at 5:55 AM. More or less motivated, due to the early hours, I get ready and drive to the airport.
The first thing to do is the cockpit briefing together with the Captain. I log myself in the IT-system with my crew ID. Then, I download the documents for the first flight, which is scheduled to Budapest.
The briefing documents include the routing, the fuel data, the whether at the destination, our departure aerodrome, and additionally the weather at alternate airports. Moreover, we receive the so-called NOTAMS, which literally means Notices To Airmen. They include information about failed systems or construction sites at the airports, which could limit us. For example, if an airport closed a taxiway or if a certain approach procedure was not available, we would find this out due to the NOTAMS. Last but not least, we get the information about the technical status of the aircraft and details about booked passengers.
Let’s go flying!
Budapest reports foggy conditions. Besides that, there are no limitations and the technical status of the aircraft is “clean.” Therefore, we decided to take fuel for twenty additional minutes of flying time. After that, we are on our way to meet with the colleagues from the cabin and talk with them about the upcoming day. Briefing always includes an emergency briefing to repeat abnormal cases and to have them fresh in mind. Once finished with all topics, we are together on our way to the aircraft!
The first thing to do on the plane is the “power-up.” During which everyone has a certain thing to do. My job at this point is to “feed” our flight management system with the data about the routing and the performance. While I’m doing this, I finally receive the first coffee of the day 🙂
As soon as everything is prepared, the passenger bus is arriving at the aircraft and we are able to depart MUC on time. During the first flight, I am “Pilot Monitoring” and my duties include taking care of the documentation of the flight and communicating with the air traffic control.
Awesome flying weather and a Hollywood Star!
During our cruise flight, we already receive the news that the fog in Budapest is disappearing. That means we can expect a normal instead of low visibility approach. It turns out that the reports were right, as we touch down in sunny conditions on runway 35R at BUD airport.
As well as during the “power-up,” the tasks in a turnaround are clearly distributed. I will be “Pilot Flying” on the way back to Munich. That is why I am briefing the planned instrument departure and planning what we would do if something unplanned happened, again.
The highlight of the return flight is a really famous Hollywood star who happens to be one of our passengers. As he is travelling first class, he arrives a few minutes earlier than the rest of the passengers. I am using the opportunity to talk with him shortly about his movies.
I am wondering why he does not take a private jet (at least the CRJ almost looks like one ;)) Who is the passenger? I might give you the answer to a private message 🙂
Let’s get back to Munich!
But now back to the flight! We are running about five minutes late because we had to offload a piece of baggage from a passenger who checked in but did not show up at the gate to board the aircraft.
During the cruise flight, we are checking if it gets critical for one of our passengers to reach the connecting flight in Munich but nothing like that occurs. Approximately twenty-five minutes prior landing I am starting our descent into Munich and the Approach Briefing.
As we are approaching from the South, there is some high terrain of the Alps during the descent, which we have to take into account. However, with sunny weather and good visibility, it is not a big deal. Our landing runway is 26L at MUC airport and we touchdown on time, as we were able to regain the five minutes delay during the flight.
Two flights were done, one to go – Amsterdam calling
Once we arrive at our parking position, the turnaround routine procedure starts once again and we are preparing the last flight for today – to Amsterdam. I will be again the “Pilot Flying” and take a closer look at the weather and the NOTAMS.
Amsterdam reports typical coastal weather with a gusty wind but besides that, the weather is sunny and all airport systems are working normally. As Amsterdam is a pretty big airport and there are some gusts, we decide to take fuel for fifteen extra minutes of flying.
During the flight nothing spectacular happened, so the focus is on the gusty approach to Amsterdam. 18R will be our runway for landing. I can definitely feel the gusty wind during the final approach, as I have to work hard with the controls to stay on track. But let me be honest: landing like this is much more fun, at least for me. 😉
The pretty long taxi time is typical for AMS, so we arrived around five minutes late at the gate. After a short talk with our colleagues, who were taking over the aircraft for the flight back to Munich. We are on our way to the Crew bus, which brings us to the hotel. We are arriving at 1 PM. The rest of the day for us in Amsterdam before flying back to MUC in the next morning.
The outlook for the next day is 4 flights and another overnight, this time within Germany, in Dresden. The departure out of Amsterdam airport you can see on my youtube channel in a time-lapse version.
More stories from the Cockpit!
I hope you have a little insight into the short-haul aviation now and an idea how a typical day in aviation as a Lufthansa Cityline pilot looks like. This time I tried to stay pretty general. For the next time I will pick only one flight and it will be more in detail.
I hope you enjoyed reading the blog. I would be happy if you would follow me on Instagram @dom310a. Also, feel free to subscribe my youtube channel for more videos in the upcoming month.