After landing yesterday morning after a red eye from Edmonton, and getting as good as rest as I could muster, I'm off to LAX. My commuting f/o from Sault Ste. Marie greets me with everything done as he's been at the airport long before check in time - typical of commuters.
Everything indicates a normal flight. After all, the full moon was yesterday. Five minutes to push back I query the in-charge about documentation. Did we have the 'general declarations and where is the paper confirming a security check on the airplane has been done? I get blank stares both from the F/O and in-charge about the security one. We search the flight deck. Nothing. Call operations. "Someone will be right there," we're told. Meanwhile, we are missing a "J" class (business) passenger and their bags will be sequenced. That's odd, "J" passengers are seasoned travellers, they don't miss flights. After a 12 minute delay they find her imbibing the hospitality in the Maple Leaf lounge.
We push and we taxi on Bravo for runway 23. Taxiway Alpha is closed getting resurfacing with Bravo needing it as well. YYZ uses huge well lit "Xs" to denote taxiway closure. I won't mention what one American pilot said about possibly arriving to a KKK meeting. Oops.
I'm thinking pleasant thoughts, possible beer on my layover ( I think Capt Sully had pleasant thoughts while overlooking New York prior to...) and a disconcerting POP, SWISH noise directly behind my seat occurs. It sounded like a freshly shaken pop (soda) can spewing it's pressurized guts. I look over to my f/o for answers because I'm taxiing and all I see is widening eyes and hear a series of expletives spewing from his mouth. Plus he is dodging something ejaculating from behind my seat (Simpilot264, hopefully you don't spill coffee on your keyboard, as you did reading my "crab on" comment.).
It turns out the halon fire extinguisher made itself loose from it's mooring, fell on the floor, and started to blow it's load all over the flight deck. I stop on taxiway B and we inform ground. How did that happen with the safety pin attached? Hmmmm. We talk to maintenance and it's an RTG (Return To Gate). I call the in-charge to explain what transpired.
The fire extinguisher took ten minutes to change but we had t0 wait 30 minutes for a push back crew. One rampie visited the flight deck saying they were pulled off another flight to push us back but the flight they were pulled from was behind us waiting to taxi to the gate. "Houston we have a problem." We have a Mexican stand off, as they say.
They finally get a tug, another crew to move the airplane behind us, but the head lights didn't work on the tug. We wait. Another rampie enters the flight deck only to show we weren't the only ones having a bad day. He shows us a picture on his cell phone of a blown chute on Etihad's B777 that occurred a couple of hours before.
The extinguisher spewed over my overnight bag and left a huge wet spot of the flight deck carpet.
Next to a pilot's personality, his layover clothes are his biggest birth control. (So say flight attendants). They might now may ask, what's the name of the cologne you're wearing? Halon.
Joking aside, I check the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets). This is a one inch booklet found in the flight deck library depicting various liquids and their danger. (hydraulics, fuel, oil and fire extinguisher repellent was on the list). Providing it didn't get into our eyes it looked like it posed little risk except for the ozone layer.
My f/o gave an impressed look of how I remembered to consult this booklet. To be honest, it was the first time I ever opened it. Finally, we push with a datalink stating a "small area" of thunderstorms are developing along our route.
During the climb, dispatch datalinks us with a SIGMET pertaining to the "small area" of thunderstorms.
They begin to paint on the radar. We elect to deviate south. We end up over Wichita, Kansas. Heck we are overflying Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz's state. One of the three States which sees the most thunderbumpers in the U.S. We watch our fuel as this "little area" (I'll never forget that term) turns out to be my longest deviation for weather. The seat belt sign was on for an hour and a half. I had to deny my crew meal until things subsided.
I figure it wasn't worth wearing. Actually the rides weren't that bad.
Finally, we turn the corner at Wichita and watch the last of the fireworks. Two airliners decided to fly over these things topped at 38,000 feet. Both experienced "lift" at FL390 and FL400. Think stall speed and Max speed marrying, i.e. the dreaded "coffin corner."
I reflect with the F/O as the light show goes by our window about Air France. They were at 36,000 feet with Cbs topped 15,000 to 20,000 feet higher than the ones we contended with. It made my skin crawl.
Further on a brisk westerly wind proved conducive to a mountain wave effect over Denver, Colorado. Continuous light chop greeted us on the approach to LAX as a stiff westerly wind prevailed. We did lots of rolling and it was hard for me to find the infamous parking lot where commuter pilots live in their campers highlighted on the CBC documentary, Dead Tired.
The F/O did a great job putting it on. The park brake is set with one hour and 15 minutes of block growth.
We make our way outside of the terminal only to wait 30 minutes for the driver. Apparently he fell asleep. I guess we are not the only ones who tire in the transportation business.
Today the weather is beautiful, sunny and 22 C. California is living up to its name. After working out at GOLDS gym and riding a bike up and down Redondo Beach with my f/o, I concur, there sure are lots of beautiful people living here.
Halon Doug in LAX