Day 3. I joked this morning in the hotel van that I was going to work harder today since I get an extra $0.53 an hour. Yeah....about that.
First two legs were mine. First was super short with just 23 minutes off to on. The second leg was long. Due to weather we had an alternate.
Enroute the weather at the destination was bad. Like zero visibility bad. We slowed down.
Thirty minutes out conditions didn't improve. We ran the numbers. We had 15 minutes of hold fuel. Literally 3 minutes before we were going to reach bingo fuel the visibility came up to right at minimums....1800 RVR. We headed in.
At 300 feet my Captain saw nothing. At 200 feet he saw the approach lights. I clicked off the autopilot and continued down. Right at 150 feet he called the runway. I looked up and saw a foggy mess. Easy landing.
The takeoff roll began normally. I called 80 knots and he replied. All was normal.
VR was 133 knots which is just over 150 MPH. Right at VR the plane began to vibrate severely. We looked at each other. I said "rotate".
He rotated the nose into the air and the vibration stopped. Everything seemed normal on the EICAS.
On climb out I advised tower, "I think we blew a tire on takeoff."
Tower replied ,"Roger what are your intentions."
I looked at my Captain and he pointed up.
"We are going to continue." I replied.
We were 6000 pounds over max landing weight. It was safer to continue and burn off the fuel than land. Tower couldn't verify our landing gear condition as the tower was fogged in.
At cruise I made a PA advising passengers of the strong vibration they felt and that we thought we blew a tire. Everything would be normal on landing except the presence of fire trucks.
Over the next two hours we had plenty of time to discuss the situation and the possible outcomes. I had the abnormal gear extension checklist at the ready in case the nose didn't come down.
We would land as soft as possible and keep the nose off the ground as long as possible.
On final we shot the ILS. Breaking out about 900 AGL we saw the runway lined with Fire Trucks.
We touched down on the mains very softly. The nose was kept in the air until it finally rotated down and the vibration started again.
Once down we came to a stop and the nose gear was inspected. The Fire Trucks stated the tires looked normal.
We looked at each other. We taxied off very slowly...flanked by Fire Trucks.
Thankfully it was just a blown tread on the right nose gear. There was no way we could have known that from the flight deck.
Off to sit for 2 hours before one more turn.
Guess I earned my $0.53 extra eh?