Monday, May 30, 2011

Don't hit the mountain

Today is day four. One leg in...and it's delayed.

Day three is the longest day. Four legs. The overnight airport is next to a mountain. Normally we land on runway 8 which is a straight in approach TOWARD the mountain. The missed approach involves a steep climbing 180 degree turn to avoid hitting the mountain.

Most of the time the winds are blowing over the mountain and favor runway 8. Last night was odd. Runway 26 was the favored runway.

My leg. There is no charted approach to runway 26 due to terrain. It was all visual and seat of the pants.

I briefed the approach and included that I would have my terrain RADAR on and keep it as tight as possible to avoid hitting the mountain. Planes and mountains don't mix. Cleared for the visual.

The winds on the ground were reported as 220@23. At 2000 feet AGL they were 180@54. This made for a tricky traffic pattern.

The Captain called out the winds as I turned left base. The right side of my terrain RADAR was sprinkled with yellow and red (meaning terrain just below and above my altitude). I made a very tight turn to final were there winds at 1000 feet were 190@40.

Over the runway the winds finally came around to 220@29. At 50 feet I began "kicking" the nose over to align with the runway. The high wind made for a very smooth touchdown.

The terminal was near the approach end of runway 8 thus I used no thrust reversers or brakes (10,000 foot runway) during rollout.

Today is go home/end of the month day. Original arrival time was 6:30PM. That would leave me two flights to get home.

The inbound is delayed. Our new arrival time is 7:45PM. Leaving me just one flight to get home. And it's full. Yay?

As of right now I've flown 77 1/2 hours this month. All time record for me.

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