Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Miami!

I hope Santa paid everyone a visit. While enroute to Florida he must have encountered light to moderate turbulence this morning because I know I did.

The morning started with a 5:15 check in. I took my visiting sister-in-law with me to the airport as she was returning to Halifax. I should have been in a good mood.

I meet my F/O and we notice significant thunderstorms on the radar covering most of South Carolina, Georgia and the northern half of Florida. Oh great! I call flight dispatch and they give me a song and dance that they have not intensified. Yes, but they are still there. While others are opening gifts, I'm thinking convective turbulence.

I had to get rid my morning grumpiness by getting a coffee but you would not believe the Toronto airport. It was packed including Tim Hortons and plan B Star bucks (two coffee emporiums). I had to resort to a "Second Cup" airplane coffee.

As you know, I always offer the F/O the first leg. He couldn't decide so I flipped a coin. It was my leg to Miami.

A major system was skirting Ontario and we got light chop in the climb. The thunderstorms started to pop up further south. We had a full load of passengers and could only get to FL350.
Not high enough. We skirted overhangs, convective clouds not "painting" on the radar coupled with heavy precipitation encountered at flight level 350 with a temperature outside of -57c.
I.E we were in updrafts. I must admit the blood pressure was elevated. I was maneuvering on heading mode for almost half the flight of three hours.

Finally in the descent into Miami we found smooth air. Miami approach vectored us really tight to the FAF (final approach fix) and kept us high. Here we go - a slam dunk approach. Plus she wanted us to keep the speed up. In order to regain a stable approach it was flight directors off with the gear down out of sequence. She did say, "Merry Christmas" while passing us off to tower. We land. But in 30 minutes we will be returning to where the skies were not happy.

I notice the flight plan back was basically the same way we came but we only had 60 passengers so we were light meaning we could fly higher.

We encountered light to moderate turbulence from 20,000 feet to 35,000 feet. At flight 390 it was smooth and we managed to duck around the thunderstorms with only a few bumps.

I set the park park back in Toronto one minute early. Singer Nelly Fortado was on my flight. I asked the in-charge to get her to sign my book, but she slept the entire flight.

Oh well, it's off to relatives for Christmas dinner.


dogbait said...

Did I say you guys earn your money?

stephen said...

Sounds like Santa had the good weather and left you the bad

Ian said...

Back in time for Christmas dinner always a good thing - and thanks for putting the blog up there too!

I'll post my Xmas Day over on my blog - Abby broke her ankle...the joys.

Two weeks holidays I understand - and hope you enjoy it!

Cheers Ian

From the Flight Deck said...

Dogbait. Many think being an airline pilot is a care free cushy job and for the most part - it is. It's when big contenders like: weather, congestion delays, mechanical glitches, regulations, labour unrest,contract issues, unruly passengers, passenger medical issues, etc. come to play, then it makes for interesting scenarios. There's no doubt about it, this job is dynamic.

Capt. Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

Stephen. I concur. Santa must have it in good with mother nature.

Capt. Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

Ian. Christmas dinner at my brother's was excellent. Although I took on 3000 calories too many.

Sorry to hear about Abby. During our move two years ago back to the Toronto area my wife broke her ankle on moving day.I spent most of the morning looking for crutches.

I'm on my employee website looking for open flights. B is either for Barbados or Bermuda. Sometimes I wonder if it's better to buy
confirmed seats. But wait a minute, being a pilot and having the reputation we do, that won't happen. It's similar to the fact a pilot never buys a newspaper at the airport.


Susie said...

Hello Doug

Hope you had a good Christmas. I've now read your book and learned more than I ever did from my brother!

We called him yesterday to wish them all happy Christmas - and sounds like we missed quite the day.

Hope we'll meet when Ian is over next month.

Take care


PS Heading ourselves on Air Canada to Cuba in the next few days.

From the Flight Deck said...

Susie. Glad to hear you learned some aviation from my book. Yes, hopefully we can all rendezvous in January.

Where in Cuba are you heading? I think Air Canada is up to five Cuban destinations.


Ian said...

Hello Doug:

I can't remember the last time I bought a newspaper either - opening my wallet frightens the moths in there too!

People think we call someone up, get the best seats on the bus, and head off into the distance - I wish! Sometimes, and I hate to say this, popping onto Easyjet to head to Scotland for next-to-nothing is easier - but it is still a great perk.

Sorry to hear about your wife on moving day - Abby's getting used to her crutches, but this will likely mean our trip to the Caribbean will be postponed - but we'll work it out.

Off to the New World tomorrow evening, for a tea party, and back the following night. Quick eastbounds currently too - my personal world record is currently 5 hours 58 minutes to LHR.

I see my sister is having another go at me - but, wait till she complains about her flying lessons ;)

Glad the feast was worth the early start, on-board coffee or not!

Cheers, Ian

PS Good luck finding your flight to the heat.

From the Flight Deck said...

The family even have me checking on flights to Dubai with Emirates out of YYZ on the A380.

Sometimes I feel like getting in the car and heading south until it starts warming up. But with a family of five jammed in a BMW sedan that thought quickly

Back the website to look at flight loads.