Tuesday, July 21, 2015

It's been a while

I haven't been posting as much as I used to. I've been pretty disgruntled with my employer and thus don't like to think about it more than I have to.

This week I bid a trip that transited the east coast for a change. The trip included a JFK turn.

I haven't been to JFK in 4+ years. It's a busy airport with a lot of International carriers. I was pilot monitoring for the leg inbound. It was VFR at the airport, but we were assigned the VOR/GPS 13L approach for traffic flow purposes.

Most know that LGA and JFK airports are very close together. It's impossible to have a straight in approach to runways 13L/R as it would cut right through LGA airspace.

We were vectored over the top of LGA at 13,000 feet. We were  9 miles in trail of an Emirates Airbus A380. ATC vectored us in a descending right spiral. They snuck in an AeroMexico Connect Embraer 190. Fine with us as it gave more space between us and the Airbus A380.

The approach is fairly simple. We were told to maintain 3000 until established and cleared for the approach.

Soon after the clearance we were told to slow to 170.....then 160....finally 150. The AeroMexico Connect plane was not following the speed clearance it was given so it backed things up. Beautiful clear day.

There are "lead in" lights installed for pilots to see the turning path to the runway in low visibility. Still it was a severe clear day.

After passing ASALT we descended to 1500 which is required per the procedure. I could see the E190 ahead and lower. Passing the Canarsie (CRI) VOR we descended to 800 feet. I still saw the E190 ahead and the airport to my right. I mentioned to the Captain that "AeroMexico seems to have lost the airport." They were very low and had passed the 13L centerline.

Tower came on frequency and told AeroMexico to turn right heading 130 and asked if they saw the airport. They said they did....the turn to final was well below 500 feet. They didn't get wings level until passing the threshold. We were close behind and thought for sure we or they were going around. In reality it should have been them as they appeared to be very unstable.

We were on short final while they were still on the runway. Tower told them to exit the high speed and continue on Bravo. No answer. Tower gave the command two more times before getting an answer. They were clear just in time for us to land safely.

It was a tricky landing as winds were 200@15 which is a pretty decent crosswind for a turning approach.

Even though English is the official language of aviation around the world, it is not the first language for most pilots around the world. This is very apparent at any International airport. I'll be nice and say that ATC is staffed with very patient people. They often have to slowly state request multiple times and hope to get an intelligble answer.

We were 30 minutes early thanks to an overblocked flight. I found some lunch and took my time eating.

The leg back was mine. We were only number 8 for takeoff from 13R. Easy takeoff and departure.

About 40 minutes into the flight the Flight Attendant called and stated an overhead panel fell down on to a row of passengers. Thankfully no one was injured. Lucky for us we were headed to a maintenance base.

I landed 40 minutes early. Gate occupied by what I thought was an aircraft from my company. When I heard them call for push I realized it was indeed an aircraft I had personally flown many times.....but has since been given to another airline to fly. That really burned me inside even though I have no control over it.

The panel was fixed and we had one more leg to the overnight.

Today is 5 legs including a turn to an airport with just a 4800 foot runway....it will be my shortest runway at my airline yet.