Flight plan

My flight plan....

This blog is to inspire and motivate those pining for the skies. I will also virtually open the flight deck door and allow a peek behind the scenes.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

What a blast!

A jet blast deflector

Jet blast defector behind the biz jet.

I'd like to thank everyone for sending potential enRoute questions for the magazine. Unfortunately, not all will be published, but they are great questions and worth some answers. Here's two from a follower in YOW (Ottawa).

1. What precautions, rules-of-thumb, etc. do you follow on the ground to make sure the blast from those enormous turbofans doesn't flip a Cessna (or Dash-8, for that matter!), turn a marshaller into Mary Poppins, blind someone with flying debris, or catapult a baggage car through the terminal window? Do you ever feel your own plane shaken by blast from another pilot who's not being careful enough? I've noticed that ground often clears planes across the apron "at your discretion", presumably meaning "blast is your problem, not ours".

Our procedure is to use a maximum of 40% NI (power) during taxi. We have charts in our ops manual to determine critical jet blast areas but if we adhere to the 40% rule we should be okay.
Having said that, sometimes ramp control will tell us to manoeuvre at minimum thrust because of traffic behind us.

While bunched up in airports like La Guardia the jet ahead of us can sometimes shake us a little, especially if the guy ahead is a little over zealous on the power. As well, if we are really close you can see the SAT (Static Ambient Temperature) and TAT (Total Ambient temperature) readings shoot up due to the warm jet exhaust.

"At your discretion" is more of a legal term. Meaning if we have an incident it rests all on our shoulders. Ground control in YOW uses this phrase all the time but they still want us to call them. "Taxi to the gate at your discretion." Also when we do a cross bleed engine start, we must ask ramp control or ground control for permission because we have to increase the thrust of the running engine to supply enough air to start the other engine.

As a note: In LaGuardia, the asphalt is very sticky in the summer and to be honest it sometimes takes a little more than 40% to get moving. In fact, it's recommended NOT to taxi single engine in LGA.

2. Does Canada have any really difficult airports for midsizepassenger jet landings, like Burbank and Chicago/Midway Airports in the U.S.? Which airports make you feel the need to quadruple-check weight, winds, surface friction, and landing-distance calculations before you pick up the ATIS?

I just went from the east coast to the west coast in my head and all of them don't pose a problem. Most are 150 or 200 foot wide runways and most are fairly long except
maybe Deer Lake, Newfoundland. There was always talk about lengthening the runway but that's as far as it went.

The problem arises when we fly to our alternate airports. For example Hamilton, Buffalo, London, Ontario, Stephenville, Nfld. The comfort factor is not there plus the runways tends to be shorter. As well, when I fly to the Caribbean things are scrutinized a little more.


whywhyzed said...

Does Canada have any really difficult airports for midsizepassenger jet landings, like Burbank and Chicago/Midway Airports in the U.S.?

What about Kelowna YLW? I used to visit my in-laws there every summer, and I was told once that AC pilots had to have special training/checkout to get in there. Since they lengthened the rwy, maybe not true anymore? (although I thought it was more about the narrow approach thru the mountains and not rwy length)

From the Flight Deck said...

Whywhyzed. Good point about Kelowna although Air Canada did relax the qualifications for YLW. Below is the official scoop according to the gospel. I'm just perusing over the Jepps plates and it does have a humdinger "special engine failure procedure."

You probably heard about our incident about five years ago
when one flight thought Vernon (about 40 miles down the road) was Kelowna. Luckily they realized their predicament.


Prior to operating to/from Kelowna, crews are to completely familiarize themselves with the Kelowna pages of the Jeppesen manual with special emphasis on transition routes, missed approach altitudes and minimum safe altitudes. Crews are also required to familiarize themselves with the

Kelowna Route Briefing Notes. A review of these documents should also be accomplished at least once per 12 month period. There are no other qualification requirements prior to operating to this airport.

whywhyzed said...

No I don't remember the Vernon incident - I've flown in there in a 172, though. I think it's 3500 ft. I can't imagine mistaking the two.

I grew up in Montreal, right beside the old Cartierville airport where Canadair was at the time. Their rwy was more or less lined up with 24R at Dorval (excuse me, 'Trudeau') and I seem to remember an airline actually landing on their strip on time.

YLW is a beautiful place, BTW. You should get in there sometime, or maybe it's served with the E90 now I guess.

From the Flight Deck said...

Whywhyzed. I remember Cartierville. Looks like the place turned into high-end condos. I agree, calling the airport PET(Pierre Elliot Trudeau)instead of Dorval takes some getting use to.
Just like Halifax. It's now the Halifax International Robert Stanfied Airport. Ironically, the guy had a fear of flying.

I've been to YLW a couple of times during my F/O 320 days. I agree it's a beautiful place. It's on my list as far as potential ski hills this March break.

Many moons ago I also tree planted in the area, but now it's just a blur.