Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Navigating New York at Night

Yesterday started with a "Rapidair" from Montreal to Toronto. I noticed we had our boss (Senior VP Operations) on board. I made sure I made a flawless announcement empathizing our "on time" arrival and as per our new company memo, ensure we use the words "Rapidair" in our announcements. We are losing passengers to the competition on the Rapidair flights and this is one way we are dealing with it. I guess every little bit helps. On short final, I joke to the F/O flying, "remember the boss is on board." He joked back, "thanks for jinxing me."Needless to say he put it on nicely.

The boss came up and schmoozed a little saying things are looking up and our loads next week should be nearing 100,000 a day for Christmas. He even acknowledged my enRoute column.

Enough of the P.R stuff, it's off to U.S.S LaGuardia. We noticed there is a new FMS arrival onto runway 31. The Expressway Visual has given way to the "Melro FMS Expressway Visual 31." That way we let the airplane navigate as well as adhere to low altitudes needed to get the airplane on the runway. One has to be "dirty" (flaps and gear) ahead of time. We checked the LGA ATIS in Toronto and they're doing the Visuals on 31. Yes! However, as we near the lights of New York the winds are becoming more northeasterly, a precursor to the East Coast's first winter storm. Translated, it's the ILS on 04. Bummer!

Having said that, about 30 miles back ATC told us to notify them when we had the Hudson River in sight. What does he have up his sleeve? The river is in sight and we are told to "fly the river' at 3000 feet. An eerie sense on uneasiness came over us as we both mentioned "Captain Sully." The same place, in the same make of plane and nearly the same time of year. The view was spectacular as we flew downwind with Central Park, the Empire State building and an infinite amount of bright lights."Air Canada 722, do you have the B757 at your 10 o'clock in sight?" Here we go, as mentioned, I don't like following airplanes at night over bright cities. A hesitant, "traffic in sight" comes from my F/O. The B757 throws off some wicket wake. In fact it's deemed a heavy for that very reason although it's lighter than the 300,000 pound cut off.

Sure enough as I night navigated New York we hit his wing tip vortice. Lucky it was only one and I gave him a wide berth watching him on TCAS and staying above his profile. We get to New York, New York 25 minutes early only to wait for a gate until schedule arrival because we have only three gates available at LGA. "Hurry up and Wait!"


benjaminrowley78 said...

You talk about Captain Sully so I was wondering if you have ever had a run in with a bird and had to do an emergency landing?


From the Flight Deck said...

Ben. I mentioned Captain Sully because we were heading south on the Hudson, in the same airplane and during the same time of year.
The F/O even mentioned "I wouldn't want to be in the river tonight."

As far as birds, I've hit a few, but nothing significant. We did ingest a small bird when I flew the Bae 146 a.k.a "the Smurf Jet" when I flew for Air Atlantic.
It happened on take off out of Ottawa causing an engine fire warning on one engine, but we determined when the thrust level was brought to idle, the warning went away. We circled and landed with the flight being cancelled thereafter.

Capt. Doug

Susie said...

Dear Doug:

Having read my brother's blog and your own blog, I wanted to compliment you on your enthusiasm which comes through in the way you write.

I ordered a copy of your book, which I hope to get before I return home to Ancaster (which I hear is frigid)! I will read it on the British Airways flight home - without my brother yapping in my ear and talking through what the plane is doing!

Really enjoy your blog (and didn't realize my brother could write either)!

Take care, Susie

From the Flight Deck said...

Susie. Thanks for ordering my book. I really think you'll enjoy it because it will open the door as to what your brother does for a living. And yes, he does a great job blogging. I guess it's addictive like flying.

Winter has arrived with vengeance. Maybe I brought it with me from Edmonton? (See Frigid Edmonton) The family and I are already talking warm destinations
for Christmas break.

Ancaster? We are practically neighbours!

Doug in Oakville

Susie said...

Hello Doug,

Yes we're not far from one another. Ian is coming over to see us in January, so I can always cook an east coast dinner at home - my husband is from Halifax originally by the way!

I'm staying at Ian's place from Monday - he gets back from his trip on Tuesday, and I'm heading back to Ontario on Thursday for the holidays. I will have your book to accompany me on my flight, rather than a brother yapping at me!

I've read most of your blog - it's great. I have a Scottish friend who is a flight attendant on Air Canada, married to another Canadian - must be something in the water.

Ian'll be jealous on your BMW - he's always wanted one ;)

He bought me 3 flying lessons for my birthday in September - but I still haven't organized it to tell you the truth - I am a little scared - something I didn't tell him.

Take care, Susie.

From the Flight Deck said...

Susie, your husband is from Halifax? I suppose you don't want his name splashed on my blog, so I won't ask.

I mentioned to Ian my sister-in-law,who also lives in Oakville,is from Stirling. She is a flight attendant for Sky Service (Canadian Charter company).
Like you said, must be something in the water.

Three flying lessons? I assume that's with Spectrum Airways in North Burlington? That was nice of you brother because a pilot lesson is pretty expensive nowadays.

I'm certain a B777 captain can afford a BMW. Maybe you should buy him one in return for the flying lessons. lol


P.S I realized I never offered my condolences. I know your visit was not on a pleasant note so I apologize for my oversight.

Susie said...

Dear Doug,

Thank you for the condolences means a lot to us.

Yes, from Halifax, and loves his Keiths! Doesn't work in aviation tho - but will be good at helping with broken bones after your hockey!

3 flying lessons for the big 4-0, and yes at Burlington. I am really quite anxious about it!

Hope we'll get together when Ian's over in Ancaster to see us.

Take care, Susie.

Take care

Mike said...

Hi Doug -

Mike here - Transat A310 Captain based at CYYZ T3, not a French guy - all Ontario me, so pretty unusual in the Blue Star!

Great blog - some great stuff - and Ian from B.A. good also.

You two might have gotten me to start my own about life in TSC, but I'm not as good a writer as you guys I think.

Good job, looking forward to more.


From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Mike. Welcome aboard! I know of a few ex-Air Atlantic pilots that joined the ranks of Air Transat.

Have you flown with Sebastien Roussel? I worked with his father as a meteorologist back in Halifax.
As well, I mentored Sebastien for quite some time hoping he would get on with us. But for some ridiculous reason it didn't work out.

As far as starting your own blog, go for it! Ian (The Flying Scotsman) just got into it a few weeks ago, but he's pumping out the posts. And good ones at that! As far as writing well, that's an urban myth. Perseverance and spell check is all you really need.

Again, welcome!

Capt. Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

Susie. You're man loves Keiths? I'll be there! As their motto goes, "those who like it, like it a lot." Having said that, I bet Ian likes his Guinness.

Thanks for the invite.

All the best.


Mike said...

Hi Doug,

Heading south myself later on today - the Caribbean turns now in full swing.

Have been with Seb - must be your mentoring that has gotten him to be an awesome pilot there! It is sure a small incestuous world out there in Canada especially.

I'll be following you onto the "new" Airbus series next year, leaving the workhorse A310 behind. You kind of become attached to them, so although looking forward to challenges but will miss my old friend.

I might give the blog a bash sometime too.

Keep up the good work.


Susie said...

Hello Doug

When Ian's over visiting on his long weekend, we'll make it happen!

And when he's over Ian drinks Rickards Red, and is fond of the black stuff too - you're right!

When spring comes, I will take my 3trial lessons, but will read your book first (which was delivered to Ian's place).

I came down to England a day early, and have just waved Ian off to work. He's like a little kid looking forward to flying again.

Enjoy your trip out East too.

Take Care, Susie

From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Susie. I'm where Keiths beer originates- Halifax. But Rickards Red is not bad either.

Hopefully, I'll have the time off when Ian arrives. I have the first week of January off, but the family and I are planning a vacation.
My wife just told the world on Facebook we are going to Sydney, Australia.

That's the thing about airline types, we don't know for sure where or when we will end up when using passes.


From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Mike.

I agree, Seb is a great guy that's why it's upsetting with what happened at Air Canada. But, as they say in life, "things work out for a reason."

You're going on the A330? Nice airplane. It's like a sports car. Lots of pep and sexy.

As far as blogging, glad to hear and see another captain is on board. I must be doing something right to attract the competition. :)