Monday, December 7, 2009

Frigid Edmonton

Even though this picture is old (compliments of a "rampie" in CYYC) you get the feeling of bitter cold. Incidentally, there are no three or four engine "Canadian" registered commercial airliners operating in Canada. Air Canada's fleet is entirely two engines.

Flight to Montreal was uneventful. Even though the F/O has not flown in weeks, he greases it on 24 left and we clear at the end with little braking and idle reverse. We now have to deadhead to Ottawa. It's a short flight and I'm having flashbacks of the sim ride as it's one of the same flights. I get J class because our contract states Captain always get business class (membership has it's privileges) but F/Os have the upgrade potential based on availability. For some reason this incredibly short flight is full and the F/O is seated in the back of the bus in a middle seat. 

Departure time has come and gone. The captain makes a P.A stating there is a maintenance issue. This is the same plane we are taking to Edmonton. After a circuit breaker reset the DFDR (digital flight deck recorder) is working.

We get to Ottawa at our departure time. The F/O does the walk around and I volunteer to get the flight plan meaning I have to walk the length of the terminal to print it. Just what you need when you are running late. The DFDR issue needs attending to. Gotta call maintenance. Flight plan and log book states #1 pack is U/S. We are restricted to Fl 315 meaning heading west we are stuck at FL 300 so climbing to get out of possible bumps is not an option. (Am I back in the simulator?) This is okay traversing Canada in the winter, but heading south dodging thunderstorms translates into a different story. We look out the window and moderate snow showers decides to pay the airport a visit. I brief the in-charge and make a P.A, it's off to the deice pad for a quick spray. 

The over four flight is smooth and during the flight we are getting the latest Edmonton weather noting the temperature drop. Upon arrival it's MINUS 35 C. We have to do a cold temperature correction to the ILS MDA  (minimum descent altitude) of 50 feet. Typically, when it's that cold, a one heck of a high pressure system is dominating, meaning VFR conditions except in local conditions. Local conditions are snow showers forming by scooping up moisture from open water sources or in this case, ice fog. At 50 feet above the runway, right at flare, the runway visibility gets a little mirky in ice crystals. The landing goes well with a long landing roll only to realize Edmonton is in a deep freeze with lots of snow on the ground. We arrive one hour late only to find our gate is occupied. Not a problem, we are told gate 54 is open instead of Gate 50. 
However, one of the wheels to the jetway is frozen. After 15 minutes of rocking and moving the jetway back and forth the passengers finally deplane.

It's great to be back in the saddle.

Just finished a buffet breakfast at the hotel. Another perk to the job, 50% off the menu.


Ian said...

Hello Doug,

In the sadness of my current events here back home in Scotland, this caused some hilarity and I am ashamed to say my sister (not the one from Ancaster funnily enough) who has been reading both our blogs, found a pair of tartan thermal long johns. Why they are in tartan I have no idea as no-one will see them (hopefully).

She has guess your size, and during our hopeful rendevous in the near future I am under strict instructions to hand them over...


Edgard Pacheco said...

As always Captain Doug, a great post. And also a great photo (not wanting to be outside in that weather conditions!). Good luck and good flying!


From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Ian. Thanks for the thermal donation. You Scots sure are generous. I neglected to mention my sister-in-law is Scottish. She's from Stirling and she too has aviation in the blood. She flew for Canada 3000 as a flight attendant and now for Sky Service. She is definitely not as generous as your family.

I can't believe I showed up in Edmonton with just a tunic. No overcoat or gloves. You would think an ex-meteorologist would know better.

I'm presently in Montreal where it's much warmer, minus 3 C in light snow.


From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Edgard. Now in Montreal having flown from Edmonton and Toronto. Thanks for posting. Doug

Ian said...

Hi Doug,

Great post on Edmonton. I had forgotten your A340s are all gone now - once saw an A340-500 from AC at Hong Kong - looked quite the beast.

With mum now laid to rest beside dad, things are winding down on the Fife coast. Will leave St. Andrews on Friday - back in the saddle Tuesday with 2 on-call/standby days, and you can be sure this near to Christmas, I'll be called out.

Hope your trip to CYUL went well. I heard one of our 763s diverted to Newfoundland - will try and find out more.

Cheers, Ian

From the Flight Deck said...

Ian. Yes, sadly all of the A340s are gone. The A340-500 had lots of power, could get to altitude quickly and could carry lots of fuel. The only glitch was it liked fuel,about 8000 kgs/hour.

Again, my condolences. It's never easy.

I'll check my union website forum about the diversion.

Thanks for all the posts.


From the Flight Deck said...

Ian, First of all, I thought the diversion was one of ours but it's one of yours. Here's what I found from my union forum.

By The Canadian Press

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - A British Airways Boeing 767 had to make an emergency landing in Gander, N.L., Tuesday after the pilot reported smoke in the cockpit.

The aircraft was en route to the Bahamas from the U.K. when it was diverted.

Brian Hicks, a manager at Gander International Airport, says the plane landed safely at about 11:30 a.m. local time.

The plane's 147 passengers and 16 crew were held in the terminal until the problem was resolved.

The jet took off again about 90 minutes later.

Erl said...

Your blog just keeps getting better and better. Great pics of your travels and experiences.

Bought your book a while back and read it cover to cover and backwards again!

Fly safe and keep blogging!


From the Flight Deck said...

Erl. It's comments like yours that keeps me blogging.

A big thank you!

Capt. Doug