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Spotting That MSP NRT 744 Departure  
User currently offlineMsp12r From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 31 posts, RR: 0
Posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 2158 times:

I am a frequent spotter at MSP and I often time my visits to catch our once-daily NW 744 flight leaving for NRT .

There's just one problem: It's often hard to guess in advance whether that flight will use MSP 's 10,000 foot Rwy 12R/30L or its 11,000 foot Rwy 4/22.

Some days (like today) it's not hard to figure it out: We had winds 220 at 19 gusting to 26 - so it was a departure on Rwy 22. (Although regular traffic was landing and taking off on 30L and 30R in spite of the 90 degree crosswind and +/- 10 knot windshear on approach - which made for an especially fun afternoon of spotting as the landing aircraft crabbed their way in).

On days where the runway choice is not as clear cut as today, I have to listen in on the ground frequency and wait until I hear that flight get its instructions on where to taxi to. That doesn't leave me enough time to reposition myself in the best place to watch the takeoff if I've guessed wrong.

So, what I'm hoping for is some help on a formula I could use to make the most educated guess possible about which runway this flight will take off on.

On any given day, the variables that I WILL know are wind direction and velocity, aircraft type (747-400) and the runway lengths of the two possible runways (4/22 11,000 feet, 12R/30L 10,000 feet). What I WON'T know is: takeoff weight - I'm guessing this varies somewhat from day to day based on many factors - and other intangibles like what that particular captain prefers to do given the conditions.

Can anyone help me out?

Thanks, MSP12R

P.S. This is my first post on a.net. I've been visiting the site for a long time, but I finally joined up today!

MSP - where the DC 9s and DC 10s make their last stand
7 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineContinental From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 5557 posts, RR: 15
Reply 1, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 2067 times:

Hey, welcome to the forums! I also live in MSP, except I live under the approach paths to 30L, the opposite end of your runway!

Anyway, I also have trouble sometimes trying to figure out what runway to use. It usually uses 12R/30L when I'm there, but occassionally I have seen it use 22/4. The takeoff weight does vary each day, could be loaded with passengers with bowling ball bags, and on somedays it could be halfful with some like baggage (though I'm assuming this flight is always full). The only way to figure it out is listening to ground frequency. But if you guess wrong, you're at the wrong area. I really don't think there's any other way to predict... If there is a way, please let me know as well!


User currently offlineMsp12r From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 31 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 2061 times:

CO ,

Thanks for the welcome. Today looks like it will be another no-brainer for NW flight 19 to NRT - ATIS says MSP winds are 290 at 23 knots gusting to 30 knots. So bowling balls or pillows notwithstanding, it will be a 30L departure today if that holds up.

It's those low wind situations that are tougher to guess - is 1 knot of headwind on 30L worth more than 1,000 more feet of runway on 22?


MSP - where the DC 9s and DC 10s make their last stand
User currently offlineCALMSP From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 4190 posts, RR: 8
Reply 3, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 1966 times:
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seems like most of the time they are taking off on the cross-runway. Of course I now work nights so I dont always see the 744, but it was always seem to be taking off north-south.

User currently offlineMsp12r From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 31 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (12 years 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 1822 times:

So how much of a cross-wind would it take to get a 12R/30L departure?

Today was especially surprising:

The valid ATIS departure information at the time of today's NW Flight 19 744 departure from MSP was:

winds 110 at 19.

Yet, NW Flight 19 took off on the crosswind Rwy 4.

Is it safe to say that a 744 pilot would rather have 1000 extra feet of runway (11,000 vs. 10,000) than 19 knots of almost direct headwind?

I have been out there on days when 12R/30L was used for this flight, so I know I'm not crazy.


MSP - where the DC 9s and DC 10s make their last stand
User currently offlineCorey07850 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2537 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (12 years 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 1744 times:

Im not familiar with MSP at all... but 1000 feet of runway isn't that much, but 19 knots of headwind is huge.

User currently offlineLHRman From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2004, 398 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (12 years 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 1722 times:

In the UK we have delivery which tells the pilots there SID and more info on there route (eg slot time and runway that they will depart from). This is normally done 10mins before pushback which means the plane will get airbourne at about 35mins after the call was made. That allows me to get into position to view the plane that im looking for in the best place. I regularly did this with concorde as it was a lottery as to which runway it was going to use:D. My advise is to use this, or if the states don't do this just take a guess. If its a regular service you will have plenty more ops to see it!

Thanks Dave  Big thumbs up

Always after the picture you can't get..
User currently offlineDragogoalie From Australia, joined Oct 2001, 1220 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (12 years 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1713 times:

well, if you are there to see flight 19 leave on saturday (the 15th) I'll be on it  Smile/happy/getting dizzy. Be sure to take pictures  Laugh out loud


Formerly known as Jap. Srsly. AUSTRALIA: 2 days!
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