CYYT 220700Z 07033G48KT 1 1/4SM -RA BR OVC007 03/03 A2914
The day started with a 4:40 wake up call (3:00 a.m Toronto time). One can hear the wind pounding on the hotel window. What a morning, the aircraft was rocking and rolling and that was just at the gate. We had a very light load to CYOW (Ottawa) and the flight plan showed nearly 40 minutes under sked because of a rare easterly wind aloft. During engine start on push back we get the cautionary message: AUTO FLT RUD TRV LIM1. The rudder has two limiters for travel limitations and one failed. Just what I need during one of my windiest take offs. I was uncomfortable with this degradation, but by consulting the MEL (Minimum Equipment List) and MOC (Maintenance Operations Control) in Montreal we decide to go. "Jacques from Airbus" built the airplane with two limiters and it's deemed safe to go with only one. Hmmmm?
We taxi out. It's dark, windy as hell and raining. Dispatch sends us a SIGMET (Significant meteorology) forecasting severe mechanical turbulence due to strong gusty surface winds at 4000 feet and below. No kidding.
The winds were 070 degrees true or about 090 degrees magnetic so they were close to being down the runway. It was the first officers leg. He asked me if I prefer to do the take off, but I bestowed faith in him.
We took a gust to the side at about 80 knots and thought...hmmm. We used full thrust (we did not use a flex take off because of potential windshear). We get airborne and the instruments are all over the place. Remember from my last post...CYYT has precipitous terrain.
Also on the plate it states: Moderate to severe turbulence, windshear, and downdrafts may be encountered. This place is not for the faint of heart. The F/A said two ladies in the front seats were holding on to the seats pretty hard.
Through 3000 feet it smooths out nicely. Arrive in Ottawa early only to wait ten minutes for a crew to marshall us in.
I do the walk around in Ottawa after feeling kind of bad sending the F/O out in storm force winds in Tore Bay. The temperature is minus 20 and blowing 20 knots. I froze. We push back after an aircraft swap and the "LEAD" rampie observes frost on the wings. It's to the deice center we go.
Now home in Toronto and the weather seems so docile.
It's festive time so eggnog is on the to-do list...but with rum in it.