Tuesday, March 26, 2013

It's ok, we will go around

It's currently morning of day 2 of my 4 day trip. I got in to the hotel at midnight....woke up at 6:30AM today on my own. It's a time that programmed into me as that's what time my daughter has woken up (on her own as well) for...well her whole life. Van time is 1:30PM.

I went down to the lobby and made another perfect Belgian waffle. If I ever get furloughed I will apply at a hotel to be their Belgian waffle maker. I've perfected the pouring of the batter, the quick snap of the griddle and the delicate extraction of the waffle to make a tasty and perfect breakfast. Almost every hotel I stay at has a waffle maker in the breakfast area.

I've flown this same trip 3 times this month. This is the 4th. I've stayed in the same hotel rooms (rooms 310. 303 and 159) each week. Kinda creepy staying in the exact same hotel rooms....but also comforting.

My Captain and I switch who starts the trip each week. This week was my week. Full flight on the first leg. Gusty day. Arriving at the out station, winds were 340@14G21.

The longest runway at 8200 feet is runway 27. Runway 33 is 6100 feet long. I pondered using runway 33 as it's right into the wind......but I liked the extra distance offered by runway 27. Crosswind landing it was.

I'm a firm believer in the worse the conditions the better the landing. Reason being is when it's clear and calm I relax more and end up jamming it on.

When there is wind, low visibility or both....I think more....and work harder.

Sure enough it was like butter.

"Well thanks for setting the bar so high for the rest of the trip," said my Captain.

"Eh, I got lucky." I responded.

After clearing the runway my arms, hands and fingers started dancing around the cockpit. The after landing flow is so ingrained I have sometimes completed the flow without thinking about it. Of course I always back up my flow with a checklist.

The next two legs were his. A whole 5 passengers on the second leg. Seems low but it's 4 more passengers than we had a few weeks ago.

Arriving into the terminal area we were given a 90 degree turn for spacing. We went 24 miles off course before being turned back. As payback we were given the runway closest to our gate.

"You're following traffic, one c'lock 6 miles a 757 at 3000 feet." stated the approach controller.

On that clear, nearly full moon night, it was easy to spot.

"Traffic in sight," I responded.

"Follow the 757, cleared visual 33L, speed your discretion." responded the controller.

We were level at 4000 feet and doing about 200 knots. My Captain made a wide turn and lined up to the left of the localizer to mitigate wake turbulence.

"He sure does look like he's flying really slowly." I stated.

"Yeah UPS is normally pretty quick." replied my Captain.

At my home airport UPS parks at the far end of the runway. They normally fly the approach quickly, land and use minimal braking to get to the end of the runway as quickly as possible.

For whatever reason this guy was going really slow.

We were on a 10 mile final doing 170 knots and gaining on the 757. Normally flights into my hub are assigned 180 knots to a five mile final. Not tonight.

I asked tower for the inboard runway hoping to avoid spacing issues between the 757 and us. Denied.

My Captain called for flaps, gear and the before landing checklist.


Flying just 130 knots on a 8 mile final. The 757 was barely 3 miles ahead....maybe 2 and a half.

"This is going to be close." I stated.

"Ah it will be fine. " said my Captain.

The 757 had landed and was taxiing VERY slowly down the runway.

"UPS 824, traffic on a mile final do you have the next left turn?" queried the tower.

No response.

"UPS 824 take the next right high speed, traffic inside of a mile final." stated the tower.

"UPS 824, UPS 824 take the next right exit traffic, inside of a mile final." commanded the tower.

"Go around, heading 340." stated the tower.

Up and around we went.

"You okay with 3000 feet?" I asked the tower.

"Heading 340, maintain 3000." stated the tower.

"UPS 824 do you require any assistance?" asked the tower.

"Tower UPS 824 do you mind if we taxi to the end" asked the 757 pilot.

"UPS 824 I've been trying to call you several times, since you didn't respond I had to send traffic around." stated the tower.

"Sir we didn't hear anything." stated the 757 pilot.

"Well the aircraft behind you heard me, the aircraft taking off next to you heard me and the aircraft in position can hear me." stated tower.

"We didn't hear anything sir." state the 757 pilot.

"Heading 340, 3000 contact departure 126.57" stated tower.

We were buzzing over peoples houses at 3000 feet. We went right next to my house.

Worked back into the pattern we tried it again.

The fuel tanks flashed yellow. We are given the FAA required amount of fuel and a tiny bit extra. The go around cost us that bit extra.

Uneventful landing. Instead of being 20 minutes early, we arrived just 5 minutes early.

Go arounds are cause for paperwork at my airline. I had an hour break so I typed up the incident report.

The flight to the overnight was scheduled for a 10:40 PM departutre. The release called for us to tanker 1600 pounds of extra fuel called ferry fuel. The dispatcher weighs the cost of fuel at the out station vs carrying the extra fuel from the hub. If it's cheaper to tanker and we can land under max weight we will tanker.

I was sitting in my seat reading a story on Autoblog.com when I saw hands waving at me from below. It was a fueler. He motioned me to come down. Due to a possible overweight situation we would be de-fueling us, taking away the 1600 pounds of ferry fuel. Fine.

Quick flight and done.



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