Friday, January 18, 2008

The Water Emergency

Today I had the rare long layover. I typically try to get short layovers and spend as little time in hotels as possible. It gets old in a hurry.

But today our pickup time wasn't until 4:30 PM so I had some goofing off time. I spent that time with a short walk over to a nice shopping center in Palm Beach and grabbed a sandwich at a deli.

Then back to the hotel for a few hours of pool time before pick-up.

This was to be an easy day...only one leg home to DFW.

We boarded an almost full plane and headed out to runway 9L behind an AirTran Boeing 737. Inbound traffic was fairly heavy so we had to wait about ten minutes for our turn to launch.

Takeoff was to the east out over the coast. The sun was just setting as we made a wide left turn back towards the west and started the climb up to 34,000 ft.

Then passing 10,000 ft the cockpit chime rang.

"We don't have any water in the aft lavatories or the coffee makers!!!" one of the girls practically screamed.

Then the chime rang again.

"There's no water in the forward galley and lavatory!!" our #1 flight attendant shouted.

I was flying so I had the FO deal with the girls. They desperately wanted to know if there was anything we could do to get the water flowing again. To them it was an emergency. (In their defense, having to deal with a planeload of irritated rich Palm Beach passengers might have seemed like a genuine emergency!)

Apparently the ground crew had serviced the water back at Palm Beach but when they finished, they forgot to turn a valve back on that would pressurize the system. So the result was that we had no water pressure and there was nothing that we could do from the cockpit to fix it. (This wasn't the first time that this had ever happened.)

Hearing this the girls collectively asked, "Can we go back and get it fixed?"

After we both stopped laughing, the FO told them that we couldn't go back and to just put some water bottles and wet naps in the lavs. I then made a PA about the water problem and apologized for the inconvenience and on we went to DFW.

Other than the water emergency, the flight went just fine...smooth skies, a decent landing, an open gate, and another flight was in the logbook.

For a look at some more of my photos, please aviate over to Plane & Simple


sianie said...

Hi! I've just stumbled accross your blog while at work today and i must say it is completly fascinating! I'm From England and seeing your photos of America and Mexico just make me want to holiday over there so Much!
Thanks for a truley great blog and a chance foe escapism while doing a boring office Job!


Len (Barfbag) said...


Thanks for the kind words. Come on over!!! This country could sure use a few more tourist dollars (pounds in your case).


Otto said...

Love the picture of the Gulfstream bird..made me laugh ;)

mlesser said...

I really enjoy your blog! I like the MD-80s, but out here in Australia its all 767's, A320's and 737s domestically.

Thanks again for the blog,

Len (Barfbag) said...


I liked it too....funny!

Len (Barfbag) said...


Thanks for your continued reading. I forgot to mention before that the Conquest I used to fly was ferried to Australia. I flew it to Melbourne in 1985. What an experience that was. I wonder if it's still there.


mlesser said...

Ha! Thats amazing, to be honest. What were the legs to ferry that out to Australia? Chances are it still is in Melbourne. There is a lot of General aviation in Melbourne - Essendon Airport. I see lots of Conquests, 402's and 404's (although i live in Sydney/Outback Australia). Great place to fly to. Im hopefully starting on the PA-31 Cheiftan in 4 weeks, so we'll see where that leads to!

Len (Barfbag) said...


We had ferry tanks installed in Oakland. From there we flew to Honolulu. Spent the night there. Next day to Pago Pago, Samoa. Spent the night. Next day to Norfolk Island. Lunch and fuel there and then on to Melbourne that same day.

It was pretty exciting...I especially enjoyed Norfolk Island. A beautiful place!

Have fun in the PA-31...I have a few hours in those. They're nice.


Tom said...

I had a question about your aircraft. I don't know what airline you're flying for, but I do know that the MD-80 is very slowly being phased out/retired with almost every airline including AS, AA, DL, etc. For those airlines, it appears to be that its replacement is the Boeing 737NG. Assuming your airline is also doing this, what are your feelings on this?

Also, have you had the opportunity yet to switch over, do you know when you might, and do you believe it will be to the 737 or a larger aircraft? How does that work?

Len (Barfbag) said...

Hi Tom,

I'm with AA in Dallas. You're correct that the 80 is very slowly going away. The 737 will be the replacement as far as I know. I've never flown the 737 but everyone I know at AA really enjoys the airplane. It is much more fuel efficient than the 80 and holds a few more passengers. Also the 80's are starting to have many more mechanical issues..I see us taking many more delays than we ever used to for maintenance reasons. (The fleet is just getting old.) Most of AA's 80's arrived during the 1980's.

I've been on the 80 since 1993. I could have been on the 767 several years ago but I would have been very junior and having to fly lousy trips. On the 80, I'm senior enough to get the days off I want and get pretty good trips.
I hope to be moving over to the 767/757 fleet sometime this year. I'm just waiting for some more of the old guys to retire and make some room!