Wednesday, October 10, 2012

RVR Club

The first rule of RVR club? You don't ask about RVR!

Kidding of course....kinda.

On day two of my trip.

Day one was three legs. I took the first, my Captain took the next two.

Easy day. He flew a little fast to the overnight as it was just 8 hours 30 minutes long.

Scheduled arrival time was 9:40PM. We blocked in at 9:32PM. Every minute counts.

This morning started early of course. I did have a dream I woke up an hour early full of energy. Then I really woke up at 5:05AM...and I was really tired.

Downstairs for breakfast at 5:40AM. I have become very good at making Belgian waffles. Seriously. I know just the amount to pour in. I twist the handle of the waffle iron like a pro. If I get furloughed I WILL apply at the nearest Waffle House!

In the van at 6AM. Airport at 6:20AM. Blocked out 6 minutes early at 7:04AM.

Two leg day, both were mine.

Long flight. A little tired.

An hour out weather was reported as: 02007KT 1/2SM BR OVC003 18/17 A3009

ILS approach. The temperature dew point spread was concerning. It was still early...once the sun started to heat up the ground the temperature and dew point would likely merge.

I briefed the ILS approach to the runway closest to the arrival termination point.

The approach controller advised to expect the approach I briefed. Then it happened. RVR and vis started dropping...but only on one side of the airport.

They quickly put all regional jets on the other side and all mainline on the near side. Reason? Mainline has a higher percentage of CAT III and CAT II trained and equipped air crews and aircraft.

We were given a new approach.

I promptly setup and briefed the new approach.

Set up for a downwind. As we checked in we heard a request for the RVR.

"RVR landing is 1800, midpoint 1200, rollout 600"

Now to be fair we didn't hear who requested it....or for what airport it was for. By the chart we needed 1800...for all points.  Since we didn't know which airport it was for we assumed it was for somewhere else.

We did notice the lack of aircraft checking in though.

ATC slowed us to 160 knots. First set of flaps went out.

Lined up for a 18 mile final. Told to contact tower at the FAF.

We played the game by the book.

Autopilot on.

I called for the flaps 45 at the FAF and the before landing checklist.

By the time it was done we were about .1 miles inside of the FAF.

My Captain contacted the tower.

"Cleared to land, landing RVR 1800, midpoint 800, rollout 600."

Since we were INSIDE the FAF we could continue the approach, and as long as we had the required elements in sight we could also land.

At 500 feet I was on approach speed at 138 knots.

At 240 feet my Captain called the approach lights in sight. I could then continue to 100 feet above touchdown zone elevation.  I clicked the autopilot off and prepared to go around.

At 130 feet he called the runway in sight. I looked up and saw a very foggy runway. I also noticed the plane was slightly right of course. A quick glance down I noticed the needles were dead centered.

I made a shallow bank to the left and kept my eyes on the centerline lights. Touchdown.

The visibility, as expected , went down during the roll out. Tower could not see us, they were using position reports and ground RADAR.

We cleared the runway. Only on other regional jet landed after us for 50 minutes. Everyone else diverted.

We were happy to have been on time and landed. If we had arrived at the STAR termination point 5 minutes later we would have diverted ..on minimum rest...and had a very long day.

Forty minute turn. RVR was up to 4000 for the next takeoff. Planes were arriving again.

Easy leg to the overnight.

During the flight I passed my 3000th hour of flight time. Sounds like a lot...but seeing as I've been at my airline for almost 5 years...and came here with 550 hours...not really. That's about 500 hours a year. This is mostly due to me being THE bottom guy for 2 years and sitting reserve.

Just one more warning. I'm working on the back end of this blog...might be unavailable for a few hours one day. No need to worry.

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