Friday, June 10, 2011

Unintended Airport Appreciation

Day four. Just two legs. A scheduled 3 hour 40 minute sit in between.

First leg was interesting.

We were told to "position and hold" after a 747-400 freighter took off. The Captain and I both started our clocks for the 2 minute wait.

After just one minute we were cleared for takeoff. "Tower we would like to wait another minute for wake turbulence avoidance." I replied.

With a sigh, "Fine let me know when you are rolling, cleared for takeoff." the controller responded.

The 747 used every inch of runway. We were half full and I knew we would use much less. Safety first though.

Normal takeoff. No turbulence.

Two hours thirty minutes later I was flying the descent to cross a fix at 12,000. Around 15,000 feet we hit wake turbulence. Bad.

The plane started rocking, rolling and sliding. I grabbed the yoke and followed through for about a second before the autopilot said a virtual, "screw this it's all yours" and clicked off.

I fought to maintain wings level for 20 seconds with one hand on the yoke and one on the thrust levers. Finally it subsided.

The Captain asked approach, "What are we following?" The response.....a 737. The 737 had descended quickly...and dirty....causing the wake turbulence. Nice.

After all that fun I navigated around a small weather cell.

Winds were reported at 150@10. Landing runway 27. On final my MFD was showing 110@15.....a pretty good tailwind.

Once over the fence I nosed it over to try and shorten the float caused by the tailwind. Eh. About 3500 feet down the runway the mains smoothly kissed. If it had been a shorter runway (it was 10,0000 feet long) I would have forced it down earlier.

We put the plane away and then I ate lunch with my dad. While sitting there I checked my flight status...delayed. Then delayed more. Now leaving at 5:30PM instead of 3:40PM. I have two flights to get home now. Both were open earlier. Now are overbooked. Bleh.

Not sure if I mentioned this before, but all this commuting crap will end in September. I'll explain more as September approaches.....but at least I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

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