Friday, May 24, 2013

Delayed Part 2

 *Forgive typos...wrote this while sitting in coach next to a almost 3 year old. 


Day 2 started with a delay....of course.


We had 4 legs and had to deal with a lot of weather.


Blocked out on leg 1 at 12:53PM. Minimal delays and we blocked in a few minutes early at 2:27PM. We then had almost a 3 hour sit....was supposed to be 2 hours.

Blocked out at 5:53PM. Immediately hit with a ground delay for the DTW. Eventually we made our way to the runway and away we went.


Detroit is under major construction. I figured we would land on 22R. Nope we got 2lL which made for an incredibly long taxi. I talked to three different ground controllers and 2 ramp controllers to reach the gate.


Decent 26 minute turn and it was my turn to fly.


Most of the time we have the FAA required fuel on board and maybe a little extra. This dispatcher loaded us up with 700 pounds of taxi and contingency fuel for possible delays. We had none.


This meant we were going to be overweight for landing by 500 pounds. Time to get creative.


I climbed with a high rate of speed, but a low climb rate. That helped a little. Each time we got a descent I started down right away and quickly. That helped a bit....but it wasn't enough.


Once on approach my Captain told the controller we needed to burn fuel. Thankfully the approach controller wasn't overloaded and gave us vectors for a big 'S' turn. I put the first setting of flaps out. My Captain advised the cabin of what the plan was so they wouldn't get freaked out when the gear came out. Flight attendants use the gear coming down as a clue that we are about to land.




Snapshot of the fuel burn turn. The Dashed line is our intended path. The green line is what we actually did.

Once that was done the gear went down and me flaps went out. I then raised the thrust up as we descended.


Once we were about 100 pounds over max landing we headed in since we knew we would burn it off on approach. These are all “funny” numbers as every carry on bag and person is an assumed weight.


Being heavy I waited a bit longer than normal to pull all the power out. Congested airport. The process is to land and take the first high speed exit and join the conga line.


Down and off.


Gate occupied. Off to wait it out on a hold pad.


Blocked in over an hour and twenty minutes late. Forty minutes later we were headed to the overnight.


Easy flight. Lots of turbulence...but easy. Arrived to have no hotel van waiting. I now it's a 12 minute drive. I called the hotel and was placed on hold for 3 minutes. I was then told the van was on it's way.....ETA 10 minutes. They didn't leave until I called.


By the time we got to the hotel it was midnight. Van time was 11 AM. Tired.

We got to the airport thinking it would finally be an easy day. We had 4 legs that day.


The inbound was on time. The problem was there was weather.....ground stop at the hub. Delayed.


Once we returned to the hub we originally had a 2 hour sit then a quick 2 hour turn....another hour and forty minute sit and then a quick flight to the overnight. For those visual it was like this



ABC-PPP 12:05 – 1:50PM

PPP-DEF 3:50 – 4:50PM

DEF-PPP 5:20- 6:15PM

PPP-GHI – 7:55-10:15PM


Well we didn't leave ABC until 2:56PM and arrived at 4:53PM. We thought they would pull us from the next turn as we already had a short 9 hour overnight in GHI. Nope. Due to weather they were just running everything late.


After an hour sit we blocked out for DEF at 5:59PM. Short delay and we arrived at 6:38PM. Quick flight.


Hoping to get a decent nights rest we tried for a quick turn. Well we had a quick turn, but another ground stop until 7:05PM.


Tower gave us a break and we left “early” at 7:04PM. My leg.


Being a short flight ATC told us to go fast and they would work us into the stream.


Arrived at 7:36PM. We hoped to keep the same plane and just blast off to the overnight right away. Nope.


Plane swap.


The inbound wasn't due in until 8:55PM. An hour light. We were now facing an 8 hour overnight.


Loaded up at 9:20PM. Fifty passengers plus a very tall mainline jumpseater. I felt bad for him as we was all folded up in the jumpseat. He was happy to have a seat going in the right direction (home!).


Problem. We were nose heavy. Normally they would pull the jumpseater to save time. This isn't the best course of action, but if it means being on time the powers that be demand it. Since we were already late we were loaded up with ballast (dead weight) of 120 pounds. Again funny math.


Blocked out at 9:32PM. We were number 14 for departure. My Captain and I already discussed that we would not being doing a normal 8 hour overnight. We wanted 8 hours “behind the door.”


With a regular 8 hour overnight the clock starts 15 minutes after block in and stops 45 minutes before departure.


I will give an example


In theory we could block in at 10PM and have to be back at the airport 6:15AM. Even at best that's maybe 6 hours sleep. We needed more.


Once again we were a little overweight for landing. Only a few miles of flaps down were needed and we were good.


Winds were 220 @ 9. I had the option of runway 18R or runway 27. I normally land 18C. I chose runway 27 as it meant a much shorter taxi. I'd rather deal with a quartering tailwind than long taxi. Runway 27 was 12,000 feet long. I only needed 4100 according to the performance charts.


Nice landing .Rolled to the end.


We were all dead tired.


Originally scheduled for a 8:20AM depature.


Arrived at the hotel at midnight. My Captain told operations we would be on a 8:30AM van and we'd likely be at the gate by 9:00AM.


Thankfully they don't argue when we state we need more rest.


I slept like a rock.


We all had a really good breakfast to start the day.


Arrived to the gate at 9:00AM. Right away we had an issue. The GPU (Ground Power Unit) was causing electrical glitches with the plane. No rampers in sight. I had to track one down to turn off and disconnect the power. Done.


Blocked out at 9:35AM. Being so late operations pulled us from our next turn. Just one leg in. Day 4 had to be easy right?


Long line for takeoff. Weather, reroute, turbulence....but we arrived at 11:03AM.


We were spent. There was no way I could safely operate another flight again.


Off for 3 days. Headed out for a funeral for my wifes grandmother. My airline has emergency passes for situations like this. We used them as it's Memorial Day Weekend.


Happy to rest for a bit.


  1. Jeesh, I'm tired just reading!

    Thanks for sharing, sorry to hear about your wife's Grandmother..

    Dave from the UK

  2. Agree with Dave, glad you finally got a rest! Curious about the ballast, what form does that take? Lead bricks of some sort? How is it secured in the hold?

  3. The ballast are big square blocks. They about two inches thick and about 2 1/2 feet by 2 1/2 feet square. The ones we took were 25 pounds each.


If you are a spammer....your post will never show up. Move along.