Tuesday, December 22, 2009


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.


Ian said...

Wet, Windy and Wild - sounds like the triplets I wanted to date in my teens!

I looked at the METAR the other day for YYT and I thought "ouch".

Jacques from Airbus has his kinfolk Chuck in Seattle, who do good jobs with building in the failsafes - and in the scope of MEL and with Ops Maitenance happy -you did a grand job (and the right thing) heading out.

Believe most companies have 50kts absolute maximum wind for taxi on the A320s - same at AC Doug ?

From the Flight Deck said...

Ian. Good one regarding the triplets. I'm married to an identical twin and the other half is here visiting. I'd have to use other adjectives for them. :)
(I better not let my wife see this post)

Yes, after leaving YYT it seemed peaceful.

No, there's no limit for wind. Just our crosswind limitations for take off. For the Airbus 320 it's 29 knots with gusts to 38. But of course that's a demonstrated
crosswind by "Jacques from Airbus."


Dogbait said...

Damn, you had me gripping the arm rests of my computer chair!

From the Flight Deck said...

I'm now sitting in my computer chair. That's enough excitement for one day. Glad the post made an impression on you. Doug

Anonymous said...

With love from YVR, Men, u guys crack me up. love it.

From the Flight Deck said...

Thanks anon. Ian gives a lot of great comments. Capt. Doug

Ian said...

Hang on a minute Captain - you married the twin, I only ever got rejections from the triplets ;)

Off to Asalt and Battery with Rob my SFO!

Cheers to the egg nog.