Saturday, September 19, 2009

Slow Climb....Steep Descent

My OT trip yesterday was fun. Flew with a Captain that I had not flown with in months. Great to catch up.

He gave me the outbound leg. During the taxi flow he told me to start the other engine. Most of the time we taxi out on the left engine and taxi in on the right engine. I had not noticed that he started he right engine at the gate. There are operational advantages to taxiing out on the right engine. When I reached up to start the right engine (again I didn't notice it was already started). I announced, "starting number right" and placed one finger on the clock to start the timer and another finger on the start button. The Captain quickly came back with, "the right engine is already running". Thankfully the plane is smart enough to not reopen the start valve to an already started engine. I started the left engine and all was normal.

We were behind an ERJ who happened to be on the same departure SID. We both groaned when we heard his takeoff clearance, "Flight 913 RNAV to LAKES, Cleared for takeoff runway 14". Our initial fix was LAKES as well. The ERJ's climb out typically at 270 knots and at a much lower rate than we do. Even though we were full with 70 passengers and at at takeoff weight of 73,000 pounds when we knew we would out climb him.

Three full minutes passed before we were cleared for takeoff. Climbing through 2000 feet departure advised us to not exceed 250 knots until advised. Using the TCAS we could see the ERJ 5 miles ahead and 2500 feet above us. Clearing 12,000 feet we were cleared to speed up to 270 knots. At this point we were a little more than 5 miles behind, but just 1000 feet below the ERJ. Clearing FL180 we were now 1100 feet above the ERJ. ATC finally turned us right a bit and allowed us to speed up. By the time we reached FL 280 the ERJ was behind us just getting to FL 250. I love the CRJ700.

As we neared the out station the STAR advised to expect PERKY at 10,000. I had previously plugged this into the FMS. ATC advised we would get lower in 10 miles due to crossing traffic under us. The VNAV computer already advised to meet the 10,000 restriction I would have to descend at 2800 feet per minute...3.2 degrees. Normally we use 3.0 degrees for descents.

IAS was 320 knots at FL240. I began slowing to give myself a buffer. Finally we were cleared to cross PERKY at 10,000 , "if unable advise". The Captain looked over at me...I smiled and said, "eh no problem."

With 10,000 set in the altitude preselect I idled the thrust levers and rolled the VS down to 3800 per minute descent. I then smoothly extended the flight spoilers. One big draw back of extended idled descents is the cabin gets stuffy/warm due to reduced of airflow to the packs. The VNAV computer kept reducing the needed descent rate. Passing through 14,000 feet the required descent was just 2300 feet per minute. At that point I started reducing the descent rate. The plane leveled off at 10,000 feet with 2 miles to spare. Fun.

The out station wasn't very busy. Winds were 330@10. The long runway is runway 28 at 12,000 feet. We were assigned runway 32. The runways intersect on the eastern side. Runway 32 is plenty long at 9000 feet. Another regional jet was landing runway 28. They were one mile out while we were on a 4 mile final. I made an average landing. My attempts at a smooth landing were spoiled by the Ground Lift Dumping System. Under just the right circumstances (to numerous to list) the CRJ's lift dumping system activates pushing the mains onto the pavement. Sometimes it's smooth...every now and then it causes the plane to bounce slightly. Eh.

Once at the gate I asked the rest of the crew if they wanted any food from inside. We only had 30 minutes. The flight attendants rarely have time to get off the plane. I always offer to grab food for them. They both had food of their own. The Captain was fine as well. Off I went. Food in hand I briskly made it back to the plane. This outstation has super fancy jet bridges that pull back and then turn away negating a need for a pushback vehicle.

We left on time and were staring into the sunset waiting for takeoff clearance from runway 28. Away we went.

It took just 2 1/2 hours to reach the outstation. It would take 3 hours to reach the hub. The winter jet stream isn't in full force yet (as given evidence by storms sitting over the eastern half of the United States.) The headwinds were just 30 knots on the nose. In a few months they will be over 100 knots.

I took the time to update my charts. Took the better part of an hour. Ugh. I can't wait until we get Electronic Flight Kits.

[singlepic id=347 w=640 h=480 float=center]

Just ahead of us on our STAR was a 777. As we entered the terminal area approach assigned the 777 runway 30C. They then assigned us the same runway. This would mean we would be delayed a bit. We were happy when they reassigned the 777 to 30L. Nice. Smooth landing.

Since this trip was overtime for me I wasn't obligated to contact crew scheduling upon arriving at the gate. While waiting for the employee bus, a friend of mine from ATP walked up. He currently commutes to another base. He was based her until November last year. Since then he has been commuting. I mentioned how I am the most junior jet First Officer and that I soon to might be commuting.

On airport standby now. I was assigned a quick turn tomorrow. Not happy about it. Oh well.

1 comment:

  1. I here there are more CRJs on the way... and the ones you already have might be moving. Are you going to be affected?


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