Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Great Southwest

Enough complaining about AA...time for some sightseeing in the western US.

Last week ended with a turnaround to Las Vegas and back. As usual we were completely full. I can't ever remember not being full going to Las Vegas. It's an incredibly p
opular destination.

We launched behind this ATA DC-10. It's a former Northwest airplane now painted in ATA colors. I just read where ATA ceased operations so I imagine this DC-10 will be parked soon.

We climbed on up to 32,000 ft and enjoyed a smooth ride under clear skies across the Texas panhandle. We even passed this guy above us. It's pretty rare for an MD-80 to pass anyone but I think this was an RJ. They cruise a little bit slower than we do.

New Mexico went by and then came Arizona. It was a little hazy by then but I managed to get a shot of Meteor Crater near Winslow. It's a little blurry but you can still make it out pretty well. It's almost one mile wide and over 500 ft deep.

The descent started just after the Grand Canyon and took us over Lake Mead. The Colorado River feeds this lake. The water level is pretty low these days as you can see from the water line.
Then on my side along came Hoover Dam. For many years the road between Arizona and Nevada crossed right over the dam. The state line runs right down the middle of the dam. But in the photos you can see where there is a new bridge being built over the river. It should cut down on the traffic jams.
Once again it is a little blurry due to the haze but you get the idea. After that it was time to land and find our gate.

Just under one hour later we were full again and climbing eastbound across Arizona. The sun had set, smooth conditions prevailed, and we even had a nice tailwind on the going home leg. And to make an easy day even better, our gate was open at DFW, our ground crew was in place to wave us in, the gate agent was there to open the door, and I didn't have to wait too long for the employee bus to get me to the parking lot.

So sometimes the job isn't all that bad.

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


Dennis said...

The goog old DC 10. How many DC 10´s (Pax Version) fly in the USA today?
I was flown in 1986 with a LTU Lockheed L-1011 TriStar, it was very great. (from Düsseldorf to Las Palmas; 4,5 houres)
Best greetings from Germany

mlesser said...

No one else has commented so im going to haha. Always a good read Len, good photos as well. Whats happened to ATA, i love the DC-10, i'll be sad when it finally stops flying.


Len (Barfbag) said...

Hi Mike,

I guess it's the price of oil that killed ATA. We've had three US airlines go out of business in one week! I hope we're not next at AA.

Yeah, we once operated over 50 DC-10's here. I never flew it but everyone I know that did had great things to say about it. Most of ours went to Fed-Ex. They are the only ones around that are still flying them but they have all been converted to MD-10's now. (two man cockpits)


Len (Barfbag) said...


I believe that ATA was the last passenger operator of the DC-10 in the US. And they only had them for a few months until they went out of business last week. Fed-Ex still has some old ones but they are all freighters.


mlesser said...

My dad used to always be in the US for work so i used to fly from Sydney to San Francisco in the United DC-10s. I remember loving it as a kid, probably why i was so fond of them.

I know Aloha and ATA went bust, who is the third airline?

cheers for the reply,


Len (Barfbag) said...


The other one was Skybus. They were a discount airline based in Columbus, Ohio. They flew A-319's. They only lasted about one year.