Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Boston Bound

Another early departure from DFW yesterday. Just a turnaround though...DFW to Boston and back in the same day. My copilot had already set up the cockpit for an originating flight and was having his Starbucks when I arrived to the airplane. Karl and I have flown together several times in the years past. He is a very senior first officer. He's the fourth most senior FO on the MD-80 in Dallas. That means he has about 20 years of experience in the right seat! He gets to pick and choose what trips he wants to fly and his choice is to fly only turnarounds so he can be home every night with his 4 kids and wife. His wife is a first officer with Delta Airlines and she commutes to fly out of Atlanta. So they both have to juggle their respective schedules to keep their family going strong. There is finally some movement among the pilot ranks nowadays and he expects to be going to captain training in the next few months.

We launched for Boston with only about 90 passengers but we were carrying a full load of fuel due to weather conditions in BOS. There was snow forecast for our arrival time and we had to carry enough fuel to make it to BOS and also to divert to New York or even Pittsburgh if necessary. Our dispatchers always keep a close eye on the weather and they prepare our flight plans for us as well as continuously monitor our flight progress. They always try to make sure we have enough fuel and anything else we might need. They are great babysitters. But it is always up to the captains to make the final decisions on everything about the flight.

Climbing up to 32,ooo ft over Oklahoma and the sun was just rising over the cloud deck. The next big cities we would overfly would be St Louis, Indianapolis, Detroit, Buffalo and then Albany. The clouds were solid the entire way and we never even saw the ground. Sure enough, the snow was falling in Boston and we had to make an instrument approach to runway 22L. The visibility was pretty low at just under 1 mile and the ceiling was just under 1000 ft. I made a decent landing with no damage to the airplane and we taxied in for an on time arrival.

There were several flights that were being de-iced there. The photo above shows an American Boeing 757 getting de-iced before departure. The plane apparently had been parked for awhile and had accumulated some snow and ice and that stuff has to be removed before takeoff. Anything like that on the wing and tail surfaces can destroy the lift and the airplane won't be able to fly as well or maybe even not at all if there is too much contamination. So that's why it's very important to get de-iced before takeoff. Once airborne, the airplane has it's own systems to keep the ice from forming on all the lifting surfaces.

We boarded a full flight for the return to DFW. Lots of kids going to Grandmas house for the big Thanksgiving feast! The air traffic controllers at Boston Logan were doing a nice job of directing traffic considering the lousy conditions on the ground. Takeoff was from runway 15R right after an MD-80 took off from an intersecting runway. You can barely make it out in the photo.

Karl flew the leg back to DFW. This time we flew over New York City, Philadelphia, Charleston WV, Memphis, and then Little Rock. Once again we never saw the ground the entire way. It was 83 degrees at DFW when Karl made his customary perfect landing. Much nicer than snowy Boston.

Now for a few days off and some good food!!

Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

sjs said...

I found your blog because of the name barfbag. I collect barfbags. Check out

Anyway, I also live in Hull, MA. If you approach Logan from the South and see radio towers and a windmill, that's the town I live in.