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Southern US Road Trip (II):UA PAH-ORD, LH To BRU  
User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 628 posts, RR: 5
Posted (1 year 6 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 6750 times:

Continued from Part I here:

Southern US Road Trip (I):BRU-FRA-ATL On LH (by BrusselsSouth Mar 28 2013 in Trip Reports)

We eventually enter the "Birthplace of American Music"... Welcome to Mississippi:

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We stop in the nice town of Corinth, which has a couple of historic attractions to offer:

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Across plains and forests, nice discussions make time fly, and after some time we enter Tennessee again, and all of a sudden, guess what we see?

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Like in Huntsville earlier today, it doesn't take more than that for BNAOWB to take exit 23B:

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And up we are for a Memphis airport drive-by. Despite the recent drastic reduction of scope by Delta, Memphis remains a very active airport, thanks in great part to the massive presence of FedEx here:

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The airport is not that far away from Memphis. Soon, we pass in front of Sam Phillips' famous Sun Studio where Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Charlie Feathers, Ray Harris, Warren Smith, Charlie Rich and Jerry Lee Lewis, to name a few, recorded throughout the 50s:

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I enjoyed Memphis very much. The very downtown area has been revitalized around Peabody Place, and everything outside that exposes various stages of decay that actually fit the city like a nice piece of jewellery would further enhance an already beautiful woman:

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Of course, we paid a visit to the Lorraine Motel, site of the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968:

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And we enjoyed the first views of the mighty Mississippi River for the first time on this trip:

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Weather was a bit on the cold and windy side though. We spent the evening eating typical barbecue washed down with beer, and tasting some Jack Daniel's (we're in Tennessee after all!). While we're usually allergic to tourist traps, we still decided to focus our evening on famous Beale Street (which was quiet that night):

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There's only one place in Memphis where such a great day can decently end, and that place is the famous Peabody Hotel:

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On the next day, we leave the Peabody early and cross into Arkansas, already the 5th state visited on this trip, on the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge:

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A couple of miles later, we leave I-55 to explore random towns of Arkansas, like Turrell:

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As the day come to life, so do the vast amount of typical American school buses bringing kids to school. This is so cliché to European eyes:

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The police station in Turrell is... modest, shall we say:

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Just as my existing "westernmost record" was broken in Cherokee, Alabama (see above), we decide that the small town of Marked Tree, Arkansas, would set the new record as it is the westernmost point of this trip:

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So, since Marked Tree suddenly becomes so significant, we have to pay a visit to its small airport, where no single plane is visible:

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As we take this picture, we wonder whether I could be the first Belgian to ever visit this airport:

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And here's the exact setting of the new "record" in downtown Marked Tree. Not sure how many locals will become aware of this most important fact:

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After some driving on Arkansas' flat, straight secondary roads, we end up in Osceola. Interestingly, even BNAOWB struggles with the correct pronunciation and has to ask locals, who apparently cannot even agree on how it should be:

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As one of the two county seats of Mississippi County, Arkansas (how many counties in a state are named after another state?), Osceola features a beautiful 1912 neo-classical courthouse with a copper roofed dome:

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As well as a couple of historic buildings which are a testimonial of past more prosperous times, like this "Plantation Bank building":

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This mural shows the courthouse and depicts a cotton plantation (to the right of BNAOWB) and a boat on the Mississippi River, a scene that reminds where the town's wealth came from:

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Overall, our visit to Osceola is certainly very interesting. However, we both agree that despite the many businesses on the edge of town, the downtown area is eerily quiet for a Monday morning, with many vacant stores:

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As we leave, we encounter this 1972-1976 vintage Ford Ranchero, a first for me:

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Just a couple of miles away from Osceola is the French sounding Sans Souci landing site where we stop for another look at the wide Mississippi River:

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Back onto I-55, we enter Missouri:

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And exit at New Madrid, a town famous for the seismic fault line that has caused (and could still cause) major earthquakes before:

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Despite the different pronunciations, I suppose the "Madrid" part of the name is the reason for having a Spanish flag flying here:

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Main Street:

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New Madrid County courthouse:

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A levee protecting the town from flooding offers interesting views of the Mississippi River:

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After this bridge on I-57 we'll be...

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...in Illinois, the Land of Lincoln!

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The section of our itinerary through Illinois is so short that it only includes one town: Cairo (the Egyptian theme is still going strong after Memphis...):

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Trade on the Mississippi River ensured Cairo a period of prosperity, but economic and population decline combined to racial turbulence turned the town into a showcase of abandonment... or so do many articles say, because my visit showed that, while Cairo, Illinois, is not exactly the place I would recommend for a lovely vacation, I've seen worse before:

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An interesting place near Cairo is Fort Defiance State Park which, in addition to being a fortification of strategic importance during the Civil War, is also where the Ohio and Mississippi rivers meet. The exact point of confluence is where I stand (sorry for all the trash):

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This bridge across the Mississippi river links Illinois to Missouri:

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While that one on the Ohio River...

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...leads...

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...right into...

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Kentucky!



After we crossed into Kentucky, we start to see signs to the final destination of our road trip:

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Barlow, Kentucky:

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After more driving through Kentucky:

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We reach the outskirts of Paducah:

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And soon enter the downtown area:

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The historic downtown part is really nice with many historic buildings and a couple of dining options. We have lunch at one of those:

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Paducah lies at the confluence of the Tennessee and the Ohio rivers, which gave it some good prosperity:

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Interesting murals have been installed along the Ohio river banks:

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After the meal and more good chatting with BNAOWB, it's unfortunately time to go to Paducah - Barkley Regional Airport for my return to Europe:

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So, apparently, there's an airport terminal somewhere here:

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Sure enough, after a bit of rural driving, we reach one:

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In terms of scheduled flights, Paducah isn't your ideal spotting location, with only two UA Express flights a day to Chicago. Yet, it has all the amenities needed, including two car rental companies and its small size gives it an interesting "local" atmosphere:

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Following suggestions in this thread: How Early Can You Check In With Bags? (LH/ORD) (by BrusselsSouth Jan 24 2013 in Aviation Polls), I try out of curiosity to ask the check-in agent to check me in for my ORD-MUC-BRU flights. While she says it's possible, but only at the kiosk (?), her very confused look makes me think that I'd better wait until ORD if I want my bag to make it to BRU.

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After saying goodbye to BNAOWB, I pass security, which is thorough with my shoes being very carefully examined, for some reason. The single-gate area is right past it:



A couple of minutes later, a United Express CRJ-200 (operated by SkyWest Airlines) lands and parks in front of the windows. N959SW will have the honors of the service to ORD today:

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Interestingly, there's a crew change at this small outstation. BNAOWB and I did not figure out the reason for this, as we thought that crews on such flights are based at the hub (i.e. ORD):

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Boarding is called as light snow is starting to fall. Paducah may be a small airport, but they take the boarding by group system seriously and the policy is strictly enforced, even if there's less than one minute of waiting between each group   :

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Load is light (around 50% perhaps) and I have the whole row 11 to myself:

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After departure, we immediately enter into the clouds, so much for any views of Paducah:

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A drink service (apparently including hot drinks) is completed by the sole F/A:

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When we emerge from the clouds, we're already lined up with ORD's runway 27L, and we've just passed the Lake Michigan shore line:

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Some ORD scenes during taxi:

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Spot the intruder:

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LX arriving from ZRH:

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Air Berlin A330 departing to TXL as AB7421. I spotted a couple of AB ads in Chicago:

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Since LH arrives at the international terminal and departs from terminal 1, their planes are towed to T1 after all passengers have disembarked:

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The Chicago skyline seen from O'Hare:

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After parking, we are required to walk to the terminal which is a good opportunity for some UA Express CRJ spotting:

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Air Canada ERJ-175 C-FEJF:

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Connector between T2 and T1:

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After having reclaimed my bag in T1:



I make my way to the LH check-in counters, which are located in a separate area at the very end of UA counters. Despite the signs saying "Dusseldorf", I ask the agent if she could already check me in to MUC and BRU. She's very friendly and polite and it's no problem for her to do that, which frees me of my bag for a quick walk in central Chicago. I make my way to the airport CTA station and hop on a train to downtown:

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Here are some pictures from Chicago. Since I focused on enjoying the walk rather than taking nice photos, these are not necessarily representative of the very nice city that Chicago is. My last visit here goes back to 2004 and many new high rises have appeared since, including the iconic Trump International Hotel & Tower.


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In the evening I head back to O'Hare:

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Where I treat myself to a good old American hamburger before heading back to Europe:



The flight from ORD to MUC today is operated by D-AIKI and I'm again seated in the very last row, but this time on the left side (seat 46A). From what I can see, C is close to being full and Y is basically 100% full. I was much too tired to try to take any pictures during boarding and take-off and I even declined the meal as I (unsucessfully) tried to get some sleep. Yet, as we reached Belgium, my home country, I took the camera off the bag and snapped these:

The city of Bruges, and the Boudewijnkanaal linking it to the North Sea at Zeebrugge:

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Zooming in on Bruges:

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Mechelen, Belgium:

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Maastricht, Netherlands, and its airport (MST - top right):

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Soon after, we fly almost directly overhead FRA which provides a very impressive view of the action below.

After landing in snow-covered Munich, I am too busy trying to remain awake to consider taking pictures. I sit

14 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 628 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (1 year 6 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 6751 times:

Continued:

I sit in a bar and treat myself to a light lunch, observing the action at MUC. It's a decent sized airport which is fairly modern looking and pretty easy to navigate. Lufthansa is by far the dominant operator in Terminal 2 (where I am) and the German airline has set up multiple points in the building where all passengers can help themselves with complimentary coffee and newspapers.

As we are bussed to a remote stand for our flight to Brussels, a surprise awaits me: the bus stop in front of an A321 instead of the scheduled A320: D-AIRL will fly me home today. There's no apparent justification for this as the passenger light is load and would have fitted in even an A319, but I guess LH know what they are doing and fleet planning reasons (or perhaps a high load on the BRU-MUC return leg?) must explain this.

We take off with a small delay due to the need for de-icing, which happens right by the runway threshold. We receive a tasty apple pie which I wash down with a much needed coffee. Here are some pictures taken over western Germany, and during approach into BRU:

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We land on runway 02 which is an unusual landing runway for me. During taxi to concourse A, I spot my first JetairFly Embraer (OO-JEB):

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JetairFly and Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium are the two main Belgian holiday airlines:

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Docking to our gate on concourse A, next to a SAS A321:

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As seems to be usual in BRU, it took forever for my bag to appear on the belt, despite the long walk from the A gates to the main terminal building. My wife and kids were waiting for me at arrivals, as a lovely conclusion to another fantastic trip!

Thank you for reaching the end of this report, I hope the vast amount of non-aviation pictures did not bother you. I'll conclude with the following few words:

I enjoyed my flights on Lufthansa. I actually find the "slim seats" that I had on my European flights comfortable for short haul.

LH benefits from efficient hubs at FRA and MUC. My special mention goes to their cabin crews: on all four flights, they were very consistent in providing excellent service while not being invasive which is exactly what I'm looking for when flying. They were smiling and seemed to enjoy their job, they would chat with you if you started the conversation, and leave you alone if you so wanted. It gave me the overall impression of a very professional airline. On the long haul flights, the meals were just average (yes, I declined mine on the return leg, but I still saw what was served to my seat mate), but drinks (including alcohol) were generously served (and I saw multiple passengers getting beer at random moments in flight, outside drink services).

The short leg from Paducah to Chicago on UA Express was OK, nothing to write home about, but what more can you expect from a short domestic U.S. hop?

Finally, the trip as a whole was just fantastic. My previous U.S. experiences had been limited to major cities and the road trip through rural America felt like I was discovering a different country. Whatever stereotypes can say, there was no shortage of interesting things to see in the states we visited, and I've only met genuinely friendly people, and, most importantly, I have felt incredibly welcome in the homes I was invited to. I miss it already...

All comments, positive and negative, welcome.

Regards
BrusselsSouth


User currently offlineagrflyer From Switzerland, joined Nov 2005, 168 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (1 year 6 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 6529 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

thanks for your reports. It was a pleasure reading them. Both of them reminded me of my last years road trip I took. I travelled by car from LAX to MIA by passing through Vegas, Phoenix, New Mexico, El Passo, Austin, Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, Pensacola, Orlando, Port Charlotte and finally Miami. Once again thanks for your reports!


MXP-MUC-ORD/DFW-FRA-MXP in September LH in C, ZRH-TLV-ZRH in October LX in Y, ZRH-LCY-ZRH LX in Y in Nov
User currently onlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6577 posts, RR: 55
Reply 3, posted (1 year 6 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 5846 times:

Hi Francois!

Thanks for a very interesting report report with amazing pictures !

Flights look okay but nothing too special but very nice road trip you did ! You should come out here to the west sometime and drive around; lots of things to see including the Grand Canyon.

Looking forward to your next report!

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1943 posts, RR: 24
Reply 4, posted (1 year 6 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 5334 times:
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Great report, BrusselsSouth!

What a great picture tour you took us on of your travels. I really like Atlanta, and my wife and I enjoyed visiting the city when on a 24+ layover we had there back in 2010.

Thanks for sharing!

Matthew


User currently onlineBNAOWB From United States of America, joined Dec 2009, 399 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (1 year 6 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 4996 times:

This is "BNAOWB" / Nick, the traveling companion of "Brussels South" on this trip with a few more comments....

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
We eventually enter the "Birthplace of American Music"... Welcome to Mississippi:

While Mississippi is a beautiful state and contributed much to American music, the "Birthplace of America's Music" slogan seems overly ambitious and inaccurate.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
And here's the exact setting of the new "westernmost record" in downtown Marked Tree, Arkansas. Not sure how many locals will become aware of this most important fact

The mayor of Marked Tree is willing to put up a sign to commemerate "a certain Belgian set a new westernmost record here in March of 2013" if we pay for the sign!

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
After some driving on Arkansas' flat, straight secondary roads, we end up in Osceola. Interestingly, even BNAOWB struggles with the correct pronunciation and has to ask locals, who apparently cannot even agree on how it should be

I would guess that visitors to the U.S. may be surprised by the level of ambiguity regarding the "correct" local pronunciation of many American place names.

An interesting geographic feature (that we learned about in preparation of this trip) of this region is that small portions of Tennessee and Mississippi are actually west of the main channel of the Mississippi River and small portions of Arkansas are actually east of the main channel of the Mississippi River. This results from changing paths of the Mississippi River over time. We unsuccessfully attempted to visit one such small portion of Tennessee that appared to be accessible near Luxora, Arkanasas.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
the trip as a whole was just fantastic. My previous U.S. experiences had been limited to major cities and the road trip through rural America felt like I was discovering a different country. Whatever stereotypes can say, there was no shortage of interesting things to see in the states we visited, and I've only met genuinely friendly people, and, most importantly, I have felt incredibly welcome in the homes I was invited to. I miss it already

And, certainly, many in the U.S. miss you being here.


User currently offlineAA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 5844 posts, RR: 11
Reply 6, posted (1 year 6 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 4752 times:

Hah! I flew N959SW back in 2011. It wasn't in new colors then!

Before 2010, PAH was served by Mesaba on behalf of Northwest, utilizing a Saab340, to Memphis; I wonder if UA would be better off serving PAH with one of OO's Embraer 120 aircraft, rather than these costly regional jets. Especially given how light the load was, in your experience.


User currently offlineCaptainRed From Germany, joined Oct 2010, 690 posts, RR: 21
Reply 7, posted (1 year 6 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 4725 times:

Hi Francois,

great report, really enjoyed it a lot. Lovely pictures as well, looks like you really had a wonderful road trip through the South and the Midwest here. I really like these small towns with the old buildings, all the businesses on main street and the mostly very friendly people there (as you have experienced as well it seems).

And nice to read something about Paducah airport. Brings back nice memories from the time of my flight training, actually I have flown into this airport once as well, in a little Cessna-150.

Thanks again for this report
CaptainRed


User currently offlineTomskii From Belgium, joined May 2011, 467 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (1 year 6 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4640 times:

And thanks for the second part as well, enjoyed reading the second part of your TR as well  

Tom



Nikon D90 + Nikkor f4.5-5.6 18-105mm + Tamron f4-5.6 70-300mm
User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 628 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (1 year 6 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 4126 times:

Hi all and thank you for your kind comments.

Quoting agrflyer (Reply 2):
my last years road trip I took. I travelled by car from LAX to MIA by passing through Vegas, Phoenix, New Mexico, El Passo, Austin, Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, Pensacola, Orlando, Port Charlotte and finally Miami.

A very interesting itinerary! How much time did you take to complete it?

Quoting The777Man (Reply 3):
You should come out here to the west sometime and drive around; lots of things to see including the Grand Canyon.

Invitation accepted  
Quoting 767747 (Reply 4):
I really like Atlanta, and my wife and I enjoyed visiting the city when on a 24+ layover we had there back in 2010.

A very pleasant city I must say, with an impressive airport and extremely nice people  
Quoting BNAOWB (Reply 5):
While Mississippi is a beautiful state and contributed much to American music, the "Birthplace of America's Music" slogan seems overly ambitious and inaccurate.

But then again, we did not eat a lot of peaches in Georgia, did we?  
Quoting BNAOWB (Reply 5):
The mayor of Marked Tree is willing to put up a sign to commemerate "a certain Belgian set a new westernmost record here in March of 2013" if we pay for the sign!

Mmmm... Let's just leave a mark on a tree there, then  
Quoting BNAOWB (Reply 5):
We unsuccessfully attempted to visit one such small portion of Tennessee that appared to be accessible near Luxora, Arkanasas.

We were basically a few dozen feet away from our goal, and I was prepared to walk in the mud to reach the Tennessee state line...

Quoting BNAOWB (Reply 5):
And, certainly, many in the U.S. miss you being here.

  

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 6):
I flew N959SW back in 2011. It wasn't in new colors then!

Wow, so, I photographed 2 planes you flew before in one single trip report? This forum is full of coincidences!

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 7):
And nice to read something about Paducah airport. Brings back nice memories from the time of my flight training, actually I have flown into this airport once as well, in a little Cessna-150.

Did I mention that this forum is full of coincidences? Thank you for sharing this.

Regards
BrusselsSouth


User currently onlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 6049 posts, RR: 14
Reply 10, posted (1 year 6 months 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 3923 times:

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
Interestingly, there's a crew change at this small outstation. BNAOWB and I did not figure
out the reason for this, as we thought that crews on such flights are based at the hub (i.e. ORD):

Crews are based at a given city, but that does not mean that they will start and end their day there, only that they will start and end their 3-5 day trip at their base. They will tend to float around the system for a couple days, staying at outstations where they will overnight. In the case of this particular flight, it's a shift change; the day crew is handing the airplane to a night crew.

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 6):
Before 2010, PAH was served by Mesaba on behalf of Northwest, utilizing a Saab340, to Memphis; I wonder if UA would be better off serving PAH with one of OO's Embraer 120 aircraft, rather than these costly regional jets. Especially given how light the load was, in your experience.

If you can figure out a way to hub the E-120 at ORD, and flow it through MX on the west coast, let me know! Also, from my experience, that was a light load, but not the norm.



Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 628 posts, RR: 5
Reply 11, posted (1 year 6 months 4 hours ago) and read 3755 times:

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 10):
Crews are based at a given city, but that does not mean that they will start and end their day there, only that they will start and end their 3-5 day trip at their base. They will tend to float around the system for a couple days, staying at outstations where they will overnight. In the case of this particular flight, it's a shift change; the day crew is handing the airplane to a night crew.

Thanks for this. In the particular case mentioned in this report, since the inbound flight landed in PAH at 2.27pm, and the next departure from PAH is 6.00am (next day), does it mean that the inbound crew rests in Paducah from about 3pm till the next morning (not implying that's much/not much, just trying to figure out)?

Regards
BrusselsSouth


User currently offlineagrflyer From Switzerland, joined Nov 2005, 168 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (1 year 6 months 3 hours ago) and read 3734 times:
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Quoting BrusselsSouth (Reply 9):
A very interesting itinerary! How much time did you take to complete it?

The trip itself took about 3 weeks. During the first few days we drove more or less the whole time because we both had been to the Western States several times before. It was a lifetime dream for me to drive from coast to coast.

Good to know that I will visite the USA very soon again.



MXP-MUC-ORD/DFW-FRA-MXP in September LH in C, ZRH-TLV-ZRH in October LX in Y, ZRH-LCY-ZRH LX in Y in Nov
User currently offlinethegreatchecko From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 1128 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (1 year 6 months 1 hour ago) and read 3695 times:

Great TR! I always love reading the combo reports when a bit of the vacation is added in. It gives it some life and character.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Reply 11):
Thanks for this. In the particular case mentioned in this report, since the inbound flight landed in PAH at 2.27pm, and the next departure from PAH is 6.00am (next day), does it mean that the inbound crew rests in Paducah from about 3pm till the next morning (not implying that's much/not much, just trying to figure out)?

That sounds about right. The crew will arrive at the airport at about 0515AM, which depending on where the hotel is means they would be on the road by about 0500, or earlier. So, it works out to be a relatively adequate overnight rest.

[Edited 2013-04-03 07:58:23]


"A pilot's plane she is. She will love you if you deserve it, and try to kill you if you don't...She is the Mighty Q400"
User currently offlinejmy007 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 598 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (1 year 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3623 times:

Excellent Report. Thanks for sharing.

Another quirk of the region, Cario IL is pronounced Kay-Roh!



Cookies are the Gateway pastry. They lead to Éclairs and Bear Claws.
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