I would like to thank Brian Losisto (Air Canada's photographer) for always allowing me to post his pictures. (The above thrust lever pic is his). Then there is Kelly Paterson from Calgary and plane spotter "Erik" from Germany. Of course, I have lots myself. On that note, if you feel a photo(s) may be in appropriate or the content I post a bit dubious by all means send me an email. I will ratify it! That's all I ask!
P.S I'd like to add Nadia from "la belle province" for her contributions!
Luxor Hotel. There is a "caution" noted on our approach charts. "Aircraft may experience reflection of sun from glass pyramid
located northwest of airport."
While waiting for my coffee at Tim Hortons in YYC (Calgary), I chatted with a passengeron my flight heading to Vegas. For five hundred bucks he gets to stay at the Luxor for four nights which includes return airfare from Calgary. It's cheaper to travel nowadays than it was 20 years ago.
It all started when ATC asked us whether we had the 737 "visual" ahead of us.
American ATC asks this a lot. It's asked in LAX, MCO (Orlando) and SFO and many other airports I fly to. By stating you "have the traffic visual" it reliefs them of separation and they can pack the airplanes in tighter. This is particularly a challenge when flying into LAX at night. There's plenty of airplanes in the sky with a million lights below, but they ask whether you have traffic in sight or at least the airport in sight. At first you say no, or you are not sure of the traffic but they start asking more and more or start giving directions where the airport is. Finally, you take their bait and say, "traffic in sight" or "airport visual."
We were to follow Southwest (I later find out they rule and slow up to get off quickly because their terminal is nearby) on final onto 25 left for a visual. Everything is looking good. ATC told us to maintain 210 knots. He forgot to mention the preceding B737 slowed up significantly. The F/O was flying and he hadn't been to Vegas in years. I see on our TCAS (Traffic Collision Avoidance System) that our comfortable five mile separation has dwindled to four miles and then three.
Meanwhile I'm calling out the separation hinting to the F/O to slow it up. He had it in the back of his mind to keep the speed up as per the last ATC request, but we were cleared to visually follow the 737 i.e. fly it accordingly. Finally, he tries to slow it up but one thing a jet can't do. It can't "go down and slow down." We get the gear down and flaps hanging, but we are so close I can see what type of APU Southwest uses (not really, but you know what I mean). Plus we are getting some "wake" from him.
Finally when checking in with tower they suggest an "S" turn. I can't remember the last time I did an "S" turn. We are cleared to land and I make it known Southwest slowed up way too much.
At Air Canada we have a new call, "stable." Basically we have to be on the glideslope, the aircraft must be configured to land and the approach speed must be within 10 knots, etc. We were stable, but Southwest ahead of us thought they were the only aircraft landing in Vegas that day.
We broke it off to the left to do the "S" turn. People below must have thought Air Canada was giving the passengers a tour. Keep in mind everything was safe but the work load rose exponentially (What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas).
Southwest clears quickly, and the F/O puts in on nicely!
(Vegas is no different than most busy airports around the world. For example, landing in London, Heathrow tends to be as close. You are literally seconds away from executing a go around).
We are told to clear on taxiway A6 and hold short of 25 right. Tower then says (I thought) "next time slow up," but the F/O corrected me. They said, "nice job slowing up."
The next day we came back to LAS from Vancouver and we were ready. The flight was full and we had an Embraer captain in the jumpseat. (There was an Air Canada pilot golf tournament brewing so seats were at a premium). He says our approach yesterday happened to him as well.
The F/O was flying again and he made certain we were "on the numbers."
After his "greaser," I said aloud, "redemption."
I have to admit, Las Vegas has to be the prettiest approach at night. With so many lights and close proximity to town, one would think they are landing in a theme park.