Monday, December 3, 2007

Old Mexico

The maid came a knockin at 8:00 AM in spite of my "Do Not Disturb" sign on my door. So I got cleaned up and went downstairs for a buffet breakfast in the hotel. It was a little expensive at $20 so I got my money's worth! Four or five trips to the buffet line and I was stuffed! The papaya was extra good.

I met up with my FO and we walked over to the airport and waited for our plane to arrive from Dallas. It was slightly delayed because of the continuing ash cloud from the erupting Mt Popocatepetl. But we soon boarded and were headed out for runway 5R.

Mexico City has an elevation of over 7,000 ft. Airplanes must use much more runway for takeoff than at normal elevations because of the less dense air. So the takeoff rolls seem endless. Our liftoff speed was right at 170 MPH. Not much runway left in case of an abort! The climb took us out towards the northeast and up over Tampico and then northbound along the Gulf coast. Back in United States airspace over Brownsville, Texas then over San Antonio before the descent for DFW.

Through Customs again and back to the same gate for a return trip to Mexico City. Next door to us was an American Airlines Boeing 777 being loaded up for a trip to Frankfurt, Germany. Look at the size of the engine! It is as wide as the cabin of an MD-80. Lots of tires too...6 on each side.

So back south again to Mexico City. This time it was a little earlier but still a night flight. The enroute weather was good and we made good time at 34,000 ft. The trip took us over the cities of Waco, Corpus Christi, and McAllen, TX. Then after crossing the Rio Grande river we passed over the cities of Reynosa, Ciudad Victoria, Tamuin, and Pachuca before starting the descent for MEX. The volcano was still active and causing a few traffic delays but we made it OK. We even had a real gate this time and Customs went a lot smoother.

My head hit the pillow this time at 10:00 PM

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