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DC To Montana On NW (many Pics)  
User currently offlineBZNPilot From Belgium, joined Feb 2006, 262 posts, RR: 1
Posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 7719 times:

Hi Everyone,

This report will cover a recent trip from Washington, DC to Bozeman, MT. I currently work in DC and live across the river in Virginia, but Montana will always be home and most of my family members are there. This particular trip was extra special given the occasion—my sister’s wedding on May 17.

I booked an award ticket for this trip back in January, which cost me 25,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles (with Northwest as the operating carrier). I’ve mostly abandoned NW after a long series of bad experiences, but because this was an award ticket, and because of the convenience of the itinerary, I decided to give NW another shot. All in all, it was a pretty good experience. Hope you enjoy this report.

Flight 1

Wed. May 14, 2008
NW1711
DCA-MSP
A320-212
N374NW (old colors)
Scheduled Departure: 17:31
Scheduled Arrival: 19:14
Actual Takeoff: 18:01
Actual Landing: 19:25
Flight Time: 2:24
Cruise: FL340
Seat: 23A
Load Factor: 100%

I left work in downtown DC at 16:15 and caught the blue line metro to DCA, where I arrived at 16:45. Though DCA is relatively small, it took about 10 minutes to walk from the metro platform down to Terminal A at the south end of the airport where NW is located (along with Spirit, Midwest, & AirTran). Luckily security was a breeze and I was at the gate at 17:00, just before boarding was supposed to commence. The aircraft, however, had not yet arrived.

At about 17:10 the old A320 finally pulled up to the gate. The deplaning passengers cleared out and the ground crew did their best to enable a quick turnaround. At 17:25 the gate agent invited the First Class pax on board, then invited literally everyone else on board a few minutes later (which resulted in chaos). I appreciate the effort to load the aircraft quickly, but boarding the entire coach section en masse, as opposed to by rows or sections, proved to be a mess. Still, everyone was on board and the door was closed by 17:50.

We pushed back a few minutes before 18:00 and taxied to the north end of the field for a RWY 19 departure. Just before turning onto the active runway, I caught a quick glimpse of my apartment building out the window, located a short distance away in Pentagon City.

At 18:01 pm we began our takeoff roll, lifted off smoothly, and climbed out steeply to the south. Over the Mt. Vernon area about 10 miles south of the airport we made a right-hand turn back to the northwest. A few minutes later, Dulles Airport came into view under the wing.

http://img216.imageshack.us/img216/9639/dcabzn1zo7.jpg

Here’s a zoomed-in shot of Dulles. The third RWY 1/19, which is currently under construction, is clearly visible.

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Soon after passing Dulles we climbed through several high overcast layers of clouds and the ride became very bumpy. In addition to the turbulence, which I actually don't mind at all, the ride was more uncomfortable because of an incredibly loud 2-year old girl directly behind me. She wasn’t crying, but rather was over-excited, screaming and laughing and constantly kicking the back of my seat. The mother made no effort to calm her child and at times even seemed to indulge this kid’s wild behavior. Several passengers made requests of the mother to quiet her kid, but she still didn’t seem to make an effort. For their part, the flight attendants either didn’t notice or didn’t care, and took no initiative to talk to the mother. At any rate, I tried my best to ignore the little brat and enjoy the view.

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We soon emerged from the overcast layers and the Captain informed us that we were level, for the time being, at FL260. She also mentioned that the turbulence would probably continue for the next hour or so, and that she’d instructed the flight attendants to remain seated and not begin the beverage service until the turbulence subsided. I passed the time by attempting to grab level pics of the wing and cloud formations—no easy task given all the bumps and jumps.

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Shortly after passing Pittsburgh, PA, we continued our climb from FL260 up to FL340. The ride became smoother as we flew higher and the flight attendants began the beverage service. I asked for a tomato juice with no ice, along with a water with no ice—both were served to me with ice. Not worth complaining about, but I suppose this particular FA either had a short-term memory or was not paying attention. Oh well. I didn't take any pics of the beverages, as we all know what a plastic cup sitting on a tray table looks like. Nothing special. Here are some more cloud pics, tho.

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Over central Michigan the cloud layer beneath us gave way to nice views of the landscape. I always find it interesting to watch the weather below change during the course of a flight.

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Soon the eastern shore of Lake Michigan appeared beneath the wing, along with Silver Lake State Park. The big sand dunes at this park are visible as the light-colored area near the bulge in the shoreline.

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Another shot of the dunes and Silver Lake just to the left thereof.

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As we headed out over Lake Michigan, the eastern shoreline disappeared behind us, and for a couple of minutes, the horizon showed nothing but water. Almost like a transoceanic flight…almost. Soon enough, though, the lake’s western shoreline came into view along with the Wisconsin countryside.

Here’s a shot as we approached the shore.

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We made landfall close to Manitowoc (south of the Green Bay area) and continued on a west-north-west course. A couple of minutes later, with the aircraft directly over Appleton, I snapped a photo of the town of Menasha, Wisconsin and Lake Winnebago. Though it is difficult to see through the haze, the town of Oshkosh, scene of the famous fly-in, is also visible along the lake near the top of the picture. In fact, if you really strain your eyes, the runways at Oshkosh can be seen as well. Thought I’d mention that in case any aviation fans just so happen to be reading this.  Wink

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At roughly this point in the flight, still some 250 or so miles from Minneapolis, we began a long, slow descent. The weather remained clear as we plotted along over Wisconsin, so I had a great view of the lush, green rolling hills and farmland. After passing near Eau Claire, we made a left-hand turn and assumed a southwesterly course.

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We soon passed the St. Croix River and crossed into Minnesota before making a right-hand turn back to the northwest. At this point we were roughly 30 miles southeast of the airport, at about 8,000 ft. MSL.

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The approach was smooth and the soft evening light made for more nice views out the window.

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We passed over the Minnesota River just before crossing the threshold of the runway…

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…and began our flare on RWY 30R at MSP.

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Touchdown was smooth, we exited the runway to the left, and headed toward the C Concourse. With the aircraft parked and docked, the pax began to clear out. It took another few minutes until it was my turn, and I hurried off, glad to be away from the annoying 2-year old, who, by the way, had persisted in providing her noise pollution the ENTIRE time. Oh well. Here is the final routing from DCA-MSP.

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Once in the terminal, I did a bit of spotting out the windows—mostly the typical NW ramp filled with 319s/320s, a few 757s and some occasional DC-9 classics. I really hope to make one more trip on one of these old birds before they’re gone forever.

After awhile, I headed over to Maui Tacos to grab a bite to eat and a beer. I knew that friends of my sister, also passing through MSP on their way to BZN for the wedding, would be arriving shortly, so I texted them with my location. After their inbound flight landed, they joined me for a quick beer before we all made our way over to GATE C14 for the Bozeman flight.


Flight 2

Wed. May 14, 2008
NW579
MSP-BZN
A320-212
N367NW
Scheduled Departure: 21:35
Actual Liftoff: 21:42
Scheduled Arrival: 23:01
Actual Touchdown: 22:35
Flight Time: 1:53
Cruise: FL380
Seat: 9A
Load Factor: 95%

Boarding began on time at 21:05 pm. The process this time, by the way, was much more orderly than what I had experienced earlier at DCA. Everyone was on board and the door was closed at 9:30. I also lucked out, as I had all three seats to myself despite a nearly full flight. We pushed back, the engines spooled to life and we made the short taxi to RWY 30R.

The takeoff roll began at 21:42 and we were soon airborne and climbing out of MSP to the northwest. I snapped a pic of the engine nacelle shortly after liftoff, still illuminated by the landing lights...

http://img216.imageshack.us/img216/2382/dcabzn18mb9.jpg

…followed by another shot looking back toward the winglet.

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The climb-out was smooth and the city lights of Minneapolis soon disappeared. In their place, the lights of the occasional small farming community appeared every so often in the midst of an otherwise dark landscape.

The flightdeck soon welcomed us aboard and announced the total flight time to BZN would be 1:52. The pilot also mentioned we would be leveling off in a few more minutes at FL380 and that the forecast called for smooth air ahead. The seatbelt sign soon came off and the beverage service began. I ordered a Diet Coke, no ice. This time the FA got it right. I stretched out across all three seats, grabbed my book and let the minutes and miles fly by. Who says flying coach can’t be comfortable (with a bit of luck, perhaps)?!

Every so often I glimpsed out the window. Each time, the landscape was mostly dark, either because of cloud cover or due to the sparsely populated stretches of South Dakota and eastern Montana. Here’s another shot of the left engine, this time illuminated by the red, rotating beacon beneath the fuselage.

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And another pic looking back toward the winglet.

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Before long, the flight deck announced we were starting our descent. I was happy to be nearly home! We descended through several cloud layers before popping out of the murk probably 5,000 ft. above the ground. Given the lack of lights below, I knew we were making an approach to RWY 12 over the rural fields and hills northwest of the airport. Had we been coming in for a RWY 30 approach, the lights of Bozeman would have brightened up my window, which was not the case.

Touchdown was smooth at 22:35, nearly a half hour early. With light braking we used up all of the 9,000 ft. runway, exited to the right and taxied back toward the terminal. Once docked, I was off the plane within a couple minutes and made the short walk downstairs to the reception area. My mother, sister, and her groom-to-be arrived about 10 minutes later and were surprised to find that I had arrived well ahead of schedule. As I didn’t have checked luggage, we headed straight for the car. Kudos to Northwest for getting me to BZN not only on time, but substantially early!

Below is our route from MSP-BZN.

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Bozeman—May 15-18, 2008

It was great to be home. The next 4 days were very busy, exciting, and joyful. I’ve included a smattering of pics from my time at home in order to provide everyone a glimpse of the community and landscape. A trip, after all, involves the destination as well as the journey, so I think this trip report should reflect that.

A pic of the Bridger Mountains from near my mother’s house on the south side of town.

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This is the neighborhood where I grew up.

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The Spanish Peaks south of town. The highest point, the triangular peak on the left, is Gallatin Peak, which tops out at 11,015 feet (3,357 M).

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These mountains provided the backdrop for the wedding, with the altar directly beneath the tree branches.

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Setting up for the wedding.

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The barn, which is quite nice on the inside, is where the dinner and reception were held following the wedding.

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A blend of fancy and rustic was the theme inside the barn.

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Some fields south of town.

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The Spanish Peaks again. In my opinion, May is the best month in Bozeman, as the peaks are still snowy and white, but the valley is green and lush.

http://img518.imageshack.us/img518/6373/bzn9hc2.jpg

On Friday, the day before the wedding, my girlfriend flew in from DC on UA/Skywest, via ORD. While waiting for her plane to arrive, I snapped a couple pictures of the front of the small terminal building at BZN.

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The mountains to the right of the terminal building are the Bridger Range.

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The wedding on Saturday went flawlessly, the weather was perfect, and it was great to share the joy of this occasion with the 150 or so family, friends, and guests who attended.

Before I knew it, though, everything was over and it was time to head back to work in DC.

Flight 3

Sun. May 18, 2008
NW1272
BZN-MSP
Type: A319-114
Registration: N325NB
Scheduled Departure: 14:00
Scheduled Arrival: 17:17
Actual Liftoff: 14:04
Actual Touchdown: 16:49
Flight Time: 1:45
Cruise: FL390
Seat: 16F
Load Factor: 100%

After spending the morning cleaning up the barn after the wedding, my aunt and uncle drove my girl and I to the airport. We arrived at 11:30 am, plenty of time for my girl to catch her 12:45 United Express flight to ORD, and with even more time for me to catch my 2:00 pm to MSP (by the way, we were on separate airlines as I had my AS award ticket on NW, while she had used her UA Mileage Plus miles for a United freebie).

After my girl checked in and cleared security, I hung out and waited for my father and stepmother to arrive at the airport. By sheer coincidence, they were booked on the same NW flight as I to MSP; from MSP, they would then journey onward to Amsterdam and Bergen, Norway for a business trip/vacation. So, the plan was for us to fly together as far as MSP and have a quick bite to eat at the airport before I headed for my connecting flight to DCA. Their flight across the pond would then leave MSP several hours later, at 21:15.

The two of them arrived at the airport around 12:30 and we all proceeded toward the self-service kiosks to check in. My check-in went smoothly, but the kiosk indicated that my dad and stepmother had to talk to an agent. Unfortunately, the agent informed them that the Bergen airport was closed due to a strike, and that their AMS-BGO flight was cancelled. He checked them in as far as AMS, and told them they would receive more information upon arrival there.

With boarding passes in hand, we all proceeded through security and to the gate. I grabbed a shot of our aircraft freshly arrived from MSP. Looking at this photo, I’m reminded of my childhood, when my father flew all the time as a private pilot and we spent many long hours hanging out with the crew at BZN’s small FBO. Quite often, we tagged along with the fueling guys to tank up the old Western Airlines 737-200s that flew in and out of BZN back in the ‘80s. In fact, I recall being 6 or 7 years old and standing next to the guy hooking the fuel hose to the wing. I was a lot shorter, the aircraft seemed even more massive, and those days are long gone. I certainly did not see any 6-year olds standing under the wing this time. A lot has changed at this airport, in the Bozeman community, and in the world in general.

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Here is another pic, this time a Skywest United Express CRJ poised for its trip back to DEN. I like the mis-matched nosecone.

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Boarding began on time at 13:30 and the three of us queued up. By 13:40 we were in our seats, 16D/E/F on the right-hand side. The aircraft pushed back 10 minutes later and we taxied out to RWY 30. Along the way we passed by what used to be the old FBO, now a fancy new one. Though I didn’t take any pictures of them, the number of biz jets sitting on the ramp served as yet another reminder of just how much things have changed at this airport—changes that have been both good and bad, I think.

At 14:04 we began our takeoff roll with a great view of the still-snowy Bridger Range just north of the airport.

http://img511.imageshack.us/img511/5062/bzndca3sx4.jpg

We rotated smoothly and blasted off into Montana sky. I grabbed another shot shortly after takeoff. I remember these ponds at the end of the runway from my childhood days of flying with my father. As a small kid I remember dreading the sight of them on approach, as it meant we were nearly home and the flight was nearly over (unless, of course, we were doing touch-and-go’s).

http://img178.imageshack.us/img178/4965/bzndca4oc1.jpg

As we climbed out to the northwest, I snapped a pic of Sacajawea, the highest point in the Bridger Range at 9,665 ft. (2,946 M).

http://img89.imageshack.us/img89/4296/bzndca5bw6.jpg

Soon we passed over the Horseshoe Hills north of the Three Forks area. Not far from here is where the Gallatin, Jefferson, and Madison Rivers converge to form the Missouri River.

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As we continued to climb, we made a right-hand turn back to the north, and then northeast. The Bridger Mountains soon came into view again.

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We soon passed directly over the north end of the range.

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Another shot of the Bridgers. Bozeman is at the south end of the range, just below and to the right of the winglet.

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The next photo is a zoomed-in shot of Sacajawea Peak. In case any skiers or mountain enthusiasts are reading this, I’ve pointed out some features of this mountain. The narrow chute within the rectangle is “The Great Northern Coulior,” or “Great One,” a favorite place for the local backcountry skiers. It holds snow through mid-late July, and I have had many wonderful ski descents down this beauty—one time even at night with a full moon.

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My dad, who is a geologist, kept his eyes on the window as well, following our progress from the visual cues of the various mountain peaks. He has spent the last 30 years studying every feature of these amazing mountains and knows them better than anyone.

Soon, Bridger Bowl ski area came into view. It’s visible in the following photo as the snowy, less forested area on the far left of the frame.

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As we continued on, the Bangtail Mountains, a series of smaller, forested hills appeared just below the wing.

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Another shot of the Bangtails, still holding on to a fair amount of snow.

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As we flew onward to the east, the massive Absarokee-Beartooth range came into view. These mountains, straddling the Montana-Wyoming state line, constitute an 80 mile-long arc along the northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park. These mountains are home to wolves, bears, a handful of glaciers, and endless possibilities for backcountry skiing.

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I grabbed one last shot of the mountains, this time with the zoomed-in winglet in the foreground, before we entered the murk of the high-altitude overcast.

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The flight deck soon announced that we were level at FL380. Total flight time, we were told, was 1:45. The seatbelt sign remained on because of a few bumps, but the beverage service began. The three of us ordered 3 waters, plus my father had a coffee and I had a Merlot for $5. We also ordered 2 bags of snack mix for $3 each.

At one point, my father spied one of the First Class passengers as he was getting out of his seat to go to the lavatory. It was Max, Montana’s long-time Senator—a career politician, my one-time boss, and one of the most powerful people in the U.S. government (for example, he controls much of the U.S. trade agenda thanks to his position as head of the Senate Finance Committee). I couldn’t help but wonder if he was upgraded to First Class, or if my tax dollars paid for his extra legroom. While I hope it was the former as opposed to the latter, it was cool knowing he was on our flight.

As we continued our cruise, I lowered the window shade and turned on my computer. The three of us passed the time looking through all the pictures of the wedding the day before. As one can imagine, looking at several hundred photos took up most of the rest of the flight.

When we started our descent, I switched off my computer and opened the window shade. We were greeted by sunny skies and the farmland of Minnesota below.

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Our approach took us south of the airport before making a left-hand turn back to the northwest. Soon we were configured on short final…

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…and we passed over the Minnesota River again just before the airport perimeter.

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We touched down smoothly on RWY 30L at 16:49 CDT, an hour and 45 minutes after departing BZN. We exited to the right and proceeded to the G Concourse. Below is our flight path from BZN-MSP.

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The three of us deplaned and headed to Rock Bottom Restaurant, just off the main terminal at the start of the C Concourse. We ordered wine, food, and chatted for an hour or so until it was time for me to head for the DCA gate. I said farewell to my father and stepmother, wished them a great trip to Norway, and hurried down the C Concourse.


Flight 4

Sun. May 18, 2008
NW398
MSP-DCA
A320-212
N364NW
Scheduled Departure: 18:53
Scheduled Arrival: 22:13
Actual Liftoff: 20:03
Actual Touchdown: 22:54
Flight Time: 1:51
Cruise: FL370
Seat: 20A
Load Factor: 95%

Boarding began on time and I was soon in my seat, near the back of the aircraft on the left-hand side. The door closed a few minutes before our scheduled departure time of 18:53, and all seemed in order.

At about 19:00, the Captain announced that a fuel indicator in the flight deck wasn’t showing the proper amount of fuel, based on the quantity that had just been added to the tanks. He said he would put in a call to the maintenance team and that he would give us an update in about 20 minutes. Most of the fellow passengers seemed to take things in stride.

Sure enough, about 20 minutes later, we were greeted with another announcement. This time, the Captain indicated that we would be able to depart despite the fuel indicator, but that the maintenance team would have to perform the so-called “stick method” to verify that the correct amount of fuel was on board. I’m not sure exactly what this means, but if the words are at all descriptive of the procedure, I’d imagine it’s basically similar to checking the quantity of oil in an automobile—putting the dipstick in the tank, pulling it out, and looking at the line. If anyone knows more about this procedure and wishes to elaborate, feel free!

I grabbed a shot of the maintenance team briefing the pilot.

http://img526.imageshack.us/img526/851/bzndca20xa7.jpg

At about 19:45, the Captain announced that not only was the stick method complete, but that in the meantime, the fuel indicator had also begun to function correctly. At any rate, we would soon be on our way. We pushed back a few minutes before 20:00, roughly an hour behind schedule, and taxied out to RWY 30R. Our takeoff roll began at 20:03 and we climbed quickly out of MSP.

Shortly after takeoff, we made a right-hand turn to the north and then to the east. I grabbed some pics as we continued our climb over western Wisconsin.

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As we were flying east, the sun set quickly behind the aircraft. I took one final pic before stowing my camera for the rest of the flight. Notice the nozzle inside the rear of the engine—very cool detail thanks to the light from the sunset.

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The pilot eventually made an announcement apologizing for the delay and mentioned that we were about to level off at FL370. The beverage service began shortly thereafter, and I ordered water and a Chardonnay. The wine was $5 bucks, as usual. I passed the time by reading, and after I finished my wine, closed my eyes for a while. After all, it had been an exhausting weekend.

I woke up when the seatbelt sign dinged on as we were beginning our approach into Washington. The city lights and the Washington Monument appeared some minutes later, far below off the left-hand side. Based on our position and altitude, I knew we would not be making the exciting “river approach” to RWY 19 to DCA. Instead, we continued southward and were soon abeam the airport, probably 5-10 miles east thereof, on the downwind leg. Sorry, no pictures—my point and shoot camera probably would not have revealed much, anyway.

After a 180 degree left-hand turn, we stabilized on the final approach to RWY 01. As is often the case at DCA, touchdown was firm and we used all of the relatively short runway. We exited to the left on the final taxiway, before heading back down to Terminal A toward the south end of the field. Here’s our route from MSP-DCA.

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I called my girl as we taxied in and asked if she would make the three-minute drive from our apartment to pick me up. Given her shorter layover in ORD, and my delay in MSP, she had arrived over two hours earlier and was already home. The aircraft arrived at the gate just before 23:00, and I was off the plane about 5 minutes later. I arrived at the pickup curb just as my girl pulled up in the car, and 5 minutes after that, we were home. Convenience is one of the many perks of living near the airport, in addition to the great spotting opportunities.

So, what is my final impression of NW on this trip? Despite the delay on the final leg and a few other minor mess-ups, Northwest was basically okay. And in some cases, NW did a great job—like getting me to BZN a half hour ahead of schedule. Though I’m mostly a dedicated UA passenger at this point (that is, if I am paying for a ticket), I would consider flying NW again if the fare was especially appealing.

Finally, apart from the fun of flying, this trip was absolutely wonderful given the occasion. It was great to see my sister “tie the knot.” All in all—a wonderful few days.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed. Feedback always appreciated!

14 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineCALRAMPER From United States of America, joined Jun 2008, 92 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 7594 times:

Great report. Sounds like you experienced a typical NW flight.

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
he gate agent invited the First Class pax on board, then invited literally everyone else on board a few minutes later (which resulted in chaos). I appreciate the effort to load the aircraft quickly, but boarding the entire coach section en masse, as opposed to by rows or sections, proved to be a mess

Unfortunately, this is now NW procedure for boarding a plane. They seem to think it reduces turn times regardless of the fact that everyone crowds the boarding gate and clogs the jetbridge and the airplane aisle.

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
the Captain indicated that we would be able to depart despite the fuel indicator, but that the maintenance team would have to perform the so-called “stick method” to verify that the correct amount of fuel was on board. I’m not sure exactly what this means, but if the words are at all descriptive of the procedure, I’d imagine it’s basically similar to checking the quantity of oil in an automobile—putting the dipstick in the tank, pulling it out, and looking at the line. If anyone knows more about this procedure and wishes to elaborate, feel free!

You have a good idea of the general procedure. It requires a mechanic to measure the amount of fuel in the tanks with a special measuring stick for the type of aircraft and to make a logbook entry attesting to the amount of fuel on board



ETOPS-Engines Turn or People Swim
User currently offlineCAP2008 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 255 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 7552 times:



Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
Soon the eastern shore of Lake Michigan appeared beneath the wing, along with Silver Lake State Park. The big sand dunes at this park are visible as the light-colored area near the bulge in the shoreline.

That's a beautiful area (the whole western side of the state for that matter, from silver lake all the way to Mackinac!), its a shame the dunes will consume silver lake in a hundred or so years.  Sad


Great TR  thumbsup 
Thanks for sharing



The mother of the last KC-135 pilot has yet to be born.
User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21505 posts, RR: 56
Reply 3, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 7436 times:



Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
This time, the Captain indicated that we would be able to depart despite the fuel indicator, but that the maintenance team would have to perform the so-called “stick method” to verify that the correct amount of fuel was on board. I’m not sure exactly what this means, but if the words are at all descriptive of the procedure, I’d imagine it’s basically similar to checking the quantity of oil in an automobile—putting the dipstick in the tank, pulling it out, and looking at the line. If anyone knows more about this procedure and wishes to elaborate, feel free!

That's pretty much it. It's not that simple procedurally, of course, but the general principle is the same.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineTranspac787 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 3186 posts, RR: 13
Reply 4, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 7320 times:

Nice TR sir, well done.

I'm surprised that your MSP-BZN flight had a few seats available on it. The MSP-Montana routes along with MSP-California have some of the most consistently high load factors across the entire NW domestic system.

I've always wanted to see Montana - never been there. Your pics make me want to see it even more, so thanks for the inspiration!!  bigthumbsup 



A340-500: 4 engines 4 long haul. 777-200LR: 2 engines 4 longer haul
User currently offlineAtrude777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 5692 posts, RR: 52
Reply 5, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 7265 times:

Agree with Matt here, the gorgeous montana pics you provided are beautiful and stunning!

Great Report! Very thorough! I flew NWA back in 2005 and enjoyed them, a typical NWA flight nothing fantastic, but nothing bad either, I also would fly them if significantly cheaper then whom I normally fly, AA.

Alex



Good things come to those who wait, better things come to those who go AFTER it!
User currently offlineBZNPilot From Belgium, joined Feb 2006, 262 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 4 hours ago) and read 6722 times:



Quoting CALRAMPER (Reply 1):
It requires a mechanic to measure the amount of fuel in the tanks with a special measuring stick for the type of aircraft and to make a logbook entry attesting to the amount of fuel on board



Quoting Mir (Reply 3):
That's pretty much it. It's not that simple procedurally, of course, but the general principle is the same.

Okay, thanks for the info CALRAMPER and Mir. Interesting!



Quoting CAP2008 (Reply 2):
That's a beautiful area (the whole western side of the state for that matter, from silver lake all the way to Mackinac!), its a shame the dunes will consume silver lake in a hundred or so years.

Good to know. I've yet to visit that area, but it looks nice.

Quoting Mir (Reply 3):
The MSP-Montana routes along with MSP-California have some of the most consistently high load factors across the entire NW domestic system.

Yeah, I've noticed over the past many years that NW flights to/from BZN seem to be consistently full. I think United Express has done well with its ORD-BZN route, too, and in fact recently upgraded to mainline A320 service for the summer season. MT seems to be an increasingly popular destination.

And thanks Transpac787 and Atrude777 for the nice feedback!


User currently offlineKingAir200 From United States of America, joined May 2006, 1611 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (6 years 1 month 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 6481 times:

Nice TR, especially the pictures. Unfortunate you got the loud child treatment on the way over to MSP from DCA. I am continually surprised by the inability of some parents to control their kids.

Quoting CALRAMPER (Reply 1):
Unfortunately, this is now NW procedure for boarding a plane. They seem to think it reduces turn times regardless of the fact that everyone crowds the boarding gate and clogs the jetbridge and the airplane aisle.

In all honesty, I don't think it really makes much of a difference. It's not as if people actually listened when they boarded by rows before anyway.

[Edited 2008-06-18 18:21:09]


Hey Swifty
User currently offlineAirframeAS From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 14150 posts, RR: 24
Reply 8, posted (6 years 1 month 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 6458 times:

Great report!

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
perform the so-called “stick method” to verify that the correct amount of fuel was on board.

That is pretty much self-explanatory. The aircraft has 'dipsticks' under the wing that are the float type sticks. they are spread out throughout the wing in various locations. It takes some math to figure out exactly how much fuel you have given the various locations the sticks are at. Each aircraft type has their own locations.



A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
User currently offlineBurnsie28 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 7531 posts, RR: 8
Reply 9, posted (6 years 1 month 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 6241 times:



Quoting CALRAMPER (Reply 1):
Unfortunately, this is now NW procedure for boarding a plane. They seem to think it reduces turn times regardless of the fact that everyone crowds the boarding gate and clogs the jetbridge and the airplane aisle.

They did several month long study on it and it does speed up the boarding process believe it or not.



"Some People Just Know How To Fly"- Best slogan ever, RIP NW 1926-2009
User currently offlineTeo747 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 140 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (6 years 1 month 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 6070 times:

Great report! As a fellow Bozeman native, it was nice to see the pics of the area. My first aviation memory is flying on Western and loving the big 'W' on the fuselage, so I was glad to hear them mentioned!

I've been on the BZN-MSP/MSP-BZN flights many times over the years, and they are almost always packed. The last time I flew the route in August, I was absolutely shocked when there were empty seats on the aircraft in both directions.

[Edited 2008-06-19 22:37:14]

User currently offlineDALCE From Netherlands, joined Feb 2007, 1676 posts, RR: 7
Reply 11, posted (6 years 1 month 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 5945 times:

First of all congratulations with your sisters' marriage.

What a great report, the scene of the wedding is just stunning.
You really made a big effort in putting such a detailed report online, it was a great read.
Also you made superb pictures of the scene and also on board the aircraft.
I could only imagine one thing to make this trip even better......and that would be 1 leg with a NW DC9-30 series  Smile  Smile

Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work!
Can't wait to read another chapter in your travelling stories.

Cheers,
Joost ( D-ALCE )



flown on : F50,F70,CR1,CR2,CR9,E75,143,AR8,AR1,733,735,736,73G,738,753,744,319,320,321,333,AB6.
User currently offlineSK601 From Belgium, joined Jun 2005, 976 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (6 years 1 month 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 5938 times:

Very nice, detailed report. MT is one of the States I'm not familiar with, but the pics look nice!

BTW, did your dad ever made it to Norway?


User currently offlineBZNPilot From Belgium, joined Feb 2006, 262 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (6 years 1 month 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 5713 times:

Thanks for the feedback everyone!

Quoting KingAir200 (Reply 7):
In all honesty, I don't think it really makes much of a difference. It's not as if people actually listened when they boarded by rows before anyway.

Good point! Despite the airlines' best attempts, having an orderly boarding process has always seemed an exercise in futility.

Quoting Burnsie28 (Reply 9):
They did several month long study on it and it does speed up the boarding process believe it or not.

Interesting. Well, perhaps chaos is the best kind of order!

Quoting Teo747 (Reply 10):
Great report! As a fellow Bozeman native, it was nice to see the pics of the area. My first aviation memory is flying on Western and loving the big 'W' on the fuselage, so I was glad to hear them mentioned!

Hi, fellow Bozemanite. NIce to hear from you and thanks for sharing your memories. I never did get the chance to fly Western back in the day. My first airline memory was an old NW 727 flight from BIL-BZN back in the mid-80s; only 20 min. in the air, but as a small kid, it was incredible!

Quoting DALCE (Reply 11):
First of all congratulations with your sisters' marriage.

Thanks very much, appreciate that!

Quoting DALCE (Reply 11):
I could only imagine one thing to make this trip even better......and that would be 1 leg with a NW DC9-30 series

Actually, I'm heading back home in early July and specifically booked a Dulles-MSP flight on a NW DC9. I wanted one last chance to experience this classic bird before it's gone!

Quoting SK601 (Reply 12):
BTW, did your dad ever made it to Norway?

Yep, he did. Ended up being routed into OSL on the last KLM flight of the night. The airline paid for his hotel in OSL that night and a rental car for the next day, which he drove to Bergen. He was actually happy the way it turned out, as he got to make the beautiful drive across Norway, which otherwise would not have happened. All is well that ends well!

Thanks everyone!


User currently offlineBruce From United States of America, joined May 1999, 5042 posts, RR: 15
Reply 14, posted (6 years 1 month 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 5636 times:

Hey BZNPilot, nice pics over Wisconsin! I'm from Green Bay... and I flew on 198 from DCA to MSP and we followed almost the exact path, maybe just a couple miles to the north. I was sitting on the other side (planned it that way!) so that I could see Green Bay. I got lots of great photos. And we did the same approach that yours did - coming in from the south at MSP.


Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
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