Thursday, August 9, 2012

No...that's a military airport

Morning 3 of a 4 day trip.

Trip had a late sign in and has a late finish.

Day one started with a 5:30PM departure. Nice crew. One of the flight attendants is a "senior mama" who is funny and knows how to do her job...great combo.

I took the first leg of three for the day. Blocked out 12 minutes late due to the inbound plane being late. Tried to make up time in flight. I made up exactly zero minutes.

The out station is very good. They turned us in 17 minutes. That's 17 minutes from the time we set the parking brake to them time we  released the parking brake to head back out. Not too shabby!

My Captain was able to make up more time and we blocked in 5 minutes early.

Leg 3 was just a 78 NM file. Seventy Eight miles....back in the day people would DRIVE to the airport for 78 miles. Bleh.

Off to on was just 18 minutes.

My Captain said they used to climb us to 78 NM! It was a lot of work to get down. This time we went to just 14,000 feet and it was still spoilers/flaps out to get down in time.

Long overnight.

Day 2 started with delays. Weather.

Blocked out 38 minutes late and arrived 35 minutes late. We would have been just 30 minutes late but we waited 5 minutes for rampers.

Comedy of errors. The boarding gate listed the wrong flight. The agent knew the correct flight, but ASSUMED we were not at the airport...much less on the airplane.

While waiting a First Officer who was on an aircraft next door came up and asked if we could help him out.

He had one turn left and was hoping to commute home on our overnight flight. He was supposed to block in at 19:40. We were to leave at 19:50. We were already delayed as was he.

My Captain let him know we would try, but were not going to fly super slow. You can only do so much.

After about 10 minutes of no one  boarding I went up to the gate. Lots of upset passengers. I informed the agent that we were all ready to board. Blocked out 35 minutes late.

Straight in approach to runway 31. There was only a GPS approach so I loaded it up as a backup to make sure I lined up with the correct runway. I always load an approach...even to an airport I've been to 100X times. More on why later.

The runway was 7200 feet long. Floated more than I wanted due to a little wind gust and about 4 knots fast on the approach speed. Had to use a little thrust reverse to slow down.

My Captain is nice, but a little antsy sometimes.

Most Captains let the First Officer decide when to transfer control after landing. This normally happens around 80 knots. Sometimes I can taxi off the runway via a high speed without transferring controls using the rudder pedals.

This Captain is quick to take over...around 110 knots he announces "My aircraft". Bleh.

Twenty four minute turn and we were out...27 minutes late.

Quick flight. blocked in just 19 minutes late.

Thirty minute turn. Hungry. Grabbed dinner for myself and my Captain while he set up the plane. My cabin crew had their own food.

Blocked out 14 minutes late. The commuting First Officer made it on board.

At cruise we broke out our dinners. Simple BBQ sandwhiches. Still kinda warm. I got used to eating warm/cold food years ago. Just part of the job.

A little weather to work around.

Small outstation, but its close to three other smaller airports.

The Approach controllers here can't seem to handle more than two airline flights at a time.

Another RJ was closer in from the opposite direction.

"Flight 939 turn left heading 080, slow to 250 knots for spacing."

"Heading 080? Confirm for 939?" I asked.

"Affirmative heading 080" he replied.

"Unable that will put us right into the weather." I replied. There was a pretty good build up with lots of lightening that direction.

"Ok, turn left heading 010."

"010?" I asked again.

"Well sir if you can't head 080 I need you to fly 010."

"Ok, heading 010."

Tight turn. Once on the heading we were cleared back RIGHT to a VOR.

"Unable, we will take a LEFT turn back around and make a 360 to head to the VOR." I replied.

"Approved as requested."


The issue was another RJ landing at our destination. The separation looked good to us before the vectors.

We were then given a heading toward the airport.

My Captain called it in sight.

I looked and saw a beacon...two white flashes and one green flash.

"That's a military airport." I replied.

"Yep that's the overnight." He replied.

I have been here 10+ times in the last three months....but only in the daytime. I forgot it's a shared military airport.

In and done. The previous RJ was so far ahead they were parked, deplaned and the crew was walking through the airport while we parked.

Today is 4 legs. Should be easy.

Now back to finding the right airport.

A Silver Airways Saab landed at the wrong airport recently. Way wrong. The runway they landed on was round 3200 feet long. The correct airport has a 7000 foot runway.

The runway they landed on can only support 12,500 pounds...a Saab 340 weight considerably more.

The plan is to unload seats to lighten up the plane to get it out of there.

Hope they have a good's a link.

1 comment:

  1. Even the military gets a little confused about the right airport once in a while. A C-17 landed at a GA airport last month, one about five nm from it's planned destination of MacDill AFB.

    I have had the privilege of flying in C-17s a few times, twice in the cockpit. My opinion of it being a truly amazing aircraft was proven by this event. An Air Forece Times article can be found at: 

    A video shot by someone at the airport can be found at:

    Oops, better them than I.

    Enjoy your days off.


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