First off, how do you conclude that all the other flights were grounded?
Secondly, the terms "blizzard" and "intense" are subjective terms with respect to landing minimums, or in this case, takeoff minimums. Each airline has a set of Operations Specifications (Ops Specs) that details what it can/cannot do, as well as having tailored Jepp plates detailing the appropriate minimums
For takeoff, and depending upon what was approved in their Ops Specs, they could be taking off with the visibility as low as RVR 1600 feet, or RVR 600 feet. The aircraft also has to be properly de-iced, and any performance penalties associated with runway clutter have to be considered. It's a quite reasonable presumption that they successfully met all the requirements, and thus took off.
B6JFKH81 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 20997 times:
Well, if the airport is open there is no limit to departing so long as you declare an "alternate departure airport" which will be above the landing minimums. The next problem would be if the departure control even has room for you to depart into their airspace.
Awesome pic though. There is nothing like an airport during a blizzard.
AirTran737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 20972 times:
It's called the miracle of Type IV fluid. Type IV is like squirting the wings and tail of an airplane with K-Y Jelly. It can snow, and snow and it won't affect the aircrafts performance. Why do you ask? At a certain speed Type IV sheers off the wing, and takes all of the snow, rain, and ice with it, and all critical surfaces will be clean. Type IV usually has a two hour hold overtime, so usually if used the plane is off the ground before the holdover time expires.
MD88Captain From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 20874 times:
He's not going without the required visibility and de-icing requirements. There is judgement involved sometimes, but AA doesn't run a shoddy operation. Trust the professional to make the safe decision. Either that or do not get on the aircraft.
Bobster2 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 20407 times:
The caption on the pictures says "February, 2003". It doesn't give a date. But there was a major blizzard in Boston known as "Presidents Day Storm of 2003" according to Wikipedia, dumping 27.8 inches of snow on Boston.
Stealth777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 19389 times:
Dont forget the conditions of the WN jet landing in MDW that overran the runway. I believe it was snowing a lot harder than the picture above. So if they could have done it (well the planes before them were able to do it) than the departure from BOS seems feasable.
MasseyBrown From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 18950 times:
Quoting AirBuffalo (Reply 8): Also, telephoto lenses greatly exaggerate the amount of precipitation, especially when photographing something far away.
I agree that the photograph probably makes it look snowier than it was. It's like watching a baseball game when a slight rain is falling - television makes it look like hard rain, but they keep playing.
Being an Midwestern native, however, I've seen my share of snowy take-offs and landings.
Ptharris From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 18266 times:
Quoting AirTran737 (Reply 4): Type IV is like squirting the wings and tail of an airplane with K-Y Jelly.
I've de-iced more than one aircraft in my time working for AS/QX back in "the day", and I've never heard anyone describe Type IV fluid that way. To the point and rather effective description. Thanks for the chuckle.
Also, I think everyone is forgetting... this aircraft isn't landing. Yes, there is considerable amount of judgement call on making a decision to depart in any kind of adverse weather. However, remember that just about any aircraft can take off in just about any kind of weather other than a hurricane or tornado would be the exclusions. It's all about landing and having a safe "bail out" area in case something went wrong. If they'd landed in what the photo depicts as a blizzard, I'd say the pilot was freakin nuts. Since we really don't know the actual conditions for the day, runway condition, ATIS, etc. etc. I really don't think it's fair to say this was a dangerous or questionable take off.
ThirtyEcho From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 16810 times:
Although this was definitely a snowstorm, we have no idea if it was a "blizzard," or what the RVR might have been at the moment, or if this was a "long lens" shot that would have made the snow picture seem worse than it was.
In any event, takeoffs are different from landings. Think of it this way: You are pulling out of your driveway at 5mph when the "driveway visual range" suddenly drops to nothing; you just come to a stop. Take the opposite case, analogous to a landing, where you are exiting a freeway at 70mph and the visbilty suddenly goes to zip. You're now in a world of hurt. You can't just execute a missed "exit" and climb above any unseen hazards, ahead, because your car can't fly.
AA777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 14646 times:
The snow could look more compounded depending on how far the plane actually was from the photographer... ie, it may LOOK like its snowing like a blizzard- but it might not be. The snow on the ground indicates either there is relatively little snow, or it was the beginning of the storm. Either way, I dont think it was a problem.