Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hot and Heavy

Next up was a trip to Paris, France.

The last time I went to Paris was in 1990 and we were using the smaller Orly Airport. Since then, AA has moved over to the much larger Charles De Gaulle Airport. It is the second busiest airport in Europe after London Heathrow.


Runway 17R at DFW was the departure runway. Takeoff weight was 405,000 pounds. Almost at maximum gross weight today due to a full passenger load and extra fuel for expected lousy weather that was forecast for our arrival time in Paris.


Takeoff was behind this British Airways Boeing 777 headed for London. Two minutes for wake turbulence separation and then we received our clearance.

Having flown the MD-80 for so many years, I was accustomed to takeoff speeds from around 120-130 knots with an occasional liftoff speed around 140-145.
But this day the outside temperature was high and we were using a reduced flap setting so our liftoff speed was a speedy 170 knots. That's 195 MPH! A blown tire or any other condition requiring an abort would be ugly. An aborted takeoff at that speed would still have us stopped with runway remaining but our brakes would be extremely hot and our tires would be about to burst I'm sure.

The takeoff roll seemed endless.....then came the "V1" and "rotate" calls from the FO and we lifted off smoothly and the Boeing climbed up nicely as we brought up the gear, then flaps, and turned to the northeast.

The speed limit in the US for aircraft flying under 10,000 feet is 250 knots. But since we were so heavy this day, our minimum climb speed was 260 knots so we requested and received relief from that speed limit from Air Traffic Control. So away we went at 260 knots until the transition to a 330 knot climb speed above 10,000 feet. Only 9.5 hours to go.
The crossing was mostly smooth and uneventful. Dinner arrived from the galley just as the sun was setting over the northeast coast of the US.

In a few more hours it was time to prepare for the arrival into Paris. The weather was not nearly as bad as forecast and we were able to fly a visual approach to a west landing. Look at all the rubber on that runway.....it needs a cleaning!


Paris is a beautiful city. There's always something to see. I spent several hours walking all over the place. I ended up near the Latin Quarter and the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon!!


The next morning it was time to go home to DFW. My wakeup call came at 7 AM local time which was midnight for me since I was still on Texas time. It's not so easy to get up at that hour and go to work. Luckily we get a rest break during the flight for some much needed sleep.


As I mentioned earlier, CDG is a very busy airport. We waited in the lineup for nearly 20 minutes before our turn on the runway came.


We launched right after this Air France A-321 landed.
The North Atlantic was looking pretty calm on the surface but I was still happy to be crossing it overhead at 550 MPH as opposed to mushing along on a ship in open waters. The leg to DFW would last 10 hours this day. Once again it was uneventful and mostly smooth......just like we like it.



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

14 comments:

Lee Moreau said...

Len, awesome in-cockpit photos, as well as the ones around France. Love reading your stories.

lace100 said...

Nice page and good content. I spent the past 25 years flying Alaska's Bush areas in everything from cubs to caravans.

Bill Payne

Otto said...

Really enjoy the pics! Europe crossings are hard on the body. I find going westbound to be much better of course.

As far as the callsigns, Opec is indeed ours! However on my trip we were under a "Reach" callsign. We have crews going through Hickam every few weeks so it was probably some of my buds.

Len (Barfbag) said...

Lee,

Thanks for the kind words. Thanks for reading along!

Len

Len (Barfbag) said...

Bill,

Thanks for reading! You should have your own blog! I'll bet you have some great flying stories.

Len

Len (Barfbag) said...

Otto,

Yeah, I hear the "Reach" call-sign a lot too. Next time I hear "Opec or Reach" in the vicinity I'll steer clear!!!

Len

Otto said...

Hey now haha..well in all honesty I don't blame you. At least in the Reserves most of the aicraft commanders and IP's are airline guys..but most of those Reach callsigns equal very young crews (c17, c5, c130s, kc10s). Reach is an active usaf cargo or fighter movement mission.

Joel P. said...

I know what it feels like to be taking off at a high speed. I flew on one of your company's MD-80s a couple weekends ago (ORD-STL). It was the first time I'd taken an airline flight since I started flight training in June. 120 kts sure felt fast after rotating at 55 all summer in a C172!

flygal61 said...

Len: I enjoy reading your blog, I may have even flown with you before. Just retired from AA 8/31. Keep up the great work, I love your photos and commentary.

Len (Barfbag) said...

Hi Karen,

Thanks for the kind words. Wish it was me that just retired! I hope AA makes it long enough for me to get out safely.

Len

KLIT said...

Looks like lots of fun!

Out of curiosity, what's a typical schedule like on the 767? Talked with a few regional pilots, most of them are 4 on - 3 off... what's a week look like for you? I can't imagine with these long international flights it's anything like that...

Len (Barfbag) said...

Hi KLIT,

The good 767 international schedules typically run 3 days on with 5 off. But we also have some 6 day trips with more days off in between. There's also quite a few 2 day trips thrown in also.

I'm not senior enough to get the good schedules. I can get the 2 day trips but I prefer to be on call rather than fly so many 2 day trips. (too much driving back and forth to the airport). So I bid reserve schedules....I'm basically on call with a set group of days off every month.

Hope that makes sense.

Len

Len (Barfbag) said...

Hi KLIT,

The good 767 international schedules typically run 3 days on with 5 off. But we also have some 6 day trips with more days off in between. There's also quite a few 2 day trips thrown in also.

I'm not senior enough to get the good schedules. I can get the 2 day trips but I prefer to be on call rather than fly so many 2 day trips. (too much driving back and forth to the airport). So I bid reserve schedules....I'm basically on call with a set group of days off every month.

Hope that makes sense.

Len

KLIT said...

Len, thanks - I figured it'd be something like that. Sounds like a heck of a way to make a living...