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Southwest On Southwest CLE-PHX-MDW-CLE  
User currently offlineRedngold From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6907 posts, RR: 44
Posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 4979 times:

The nitty gritty:

July 14, 2006
Southwest Airlines Flight 1330 CLE-PHX, non-stop
Boeing 737-7H4 N789SW
Scheduled departure 1015 EDT, actual 1012 EDT
Scheduled arrival 1130 MST, actual 1059 MST
Departure Gate B11, Arrival Gate C3

Still in old colors today, but looking fine with those winglets!

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Photo © Josh Akbar



July 16, 2006
Southwest Airlines Flight 519 PHX-MDW, non-stop
Boeing 737-3H4 N644SW
Scheduled departure 1155 MST, actual [on time]
Scheduled arrival 1720 CDT, actual [on time]
Departure Gate D8, Arrival Gate B19

Still old colors, still no winglets...
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Photo © Laura Irwin




July 16, 2006
Southwest Airlines Flight 2851 MDW-CLE
Boeing 737-5H4 N509SW
Scheduled departure 1815 CDT, actual 1820 CDT
Scheduled arrival 2025 EDT, actual 2030 EDT
Departure Gate B16, Arrival Gate B11

Repainted in new colors since most recent A.net photograph
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Photo © Ralph Duenas - Airplanespotters



Narratives to come.


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9 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineRedngold From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6907 posts, RR: 44
Reply 1, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 4769 times:

July 14, 2006

For the first time ever, I flew on my birthday and missed a nursing class on purpose - but it was all worth it, for I was traveling to attend my sister's wedding in Sedona, Arizona.

I chose the single daily CLE-PHX non-stop flight because, although it wasn't the earliest choice, it was the easiest. I was glad to support Southwest Airlines' endeavor to provide increased non-stop service out of CLE. We have had enough difficulty with the city administration's balkiness over Southwest's expansion attempts; I always do my best to help.

Conditions in Cleveland at departure were 78 F, hazy with few clouds at 3000 ft., winds from the west. We took off on Runway 24R full length and used most of the runway in effort to spare fuel. Turning out to the right we quickly reached 10000 ft. but kept seatbelts on for another half-hour due to mild bumps.

The plane was between 1/2 and 2/3 full, a surprise considering that it was a summer Friday. 22 of the passengers on board belonged to a mission group from Christ Church in Fairlawn, OH, heading to Los Angeles for a week of vacation Bible school/arts camp and a youth conference. I sat in the middle of them (seat 15A, a choice that left me with an entire triple to myself) and chatted back and forth throughout the flight.

By 1105 local time (still Eastern) we were crossing over a low overcast with an isolated mesoscale thunderstorm complete with beavertail and punched through dome on top. A secondary cell was being sucked in tfrom the southwest. With a well-defined columnar structure and inflow, I wondered if the storm was tornadic below. We made a slight course correction to the north of the storm and passed cumulus congestus building well to the southwest. As we continued, a higher stratified cloud layer appeared, and as more time passed, we crossed over - leading me to understand that at 40000 ft. (our cruise altitude) the curvature of the earth did create an optical illusion even though it wasn't immediately evident.

Sometime around this we were served snack packs and complimentary soda or juice; alcoholic drinks were available for purchase. It's the first time I've been on a Southwest Airlines flight long enough to get anything more than peanuts.

We crossed into the Central time zone and at 1036 the low clouds began thinning out. The land was fractured by crooked riverbeds and watersheds. Soon we passed north of Kansas City (heading west-southwest) and I was able to identify both Kansas City International Airport (MCI) and Kansas City Downtown Airport (MKC.) The pilot turned the seatbelt sign back on as we passed through a mild chop over Kansas. Now we flew over clear air and the ground became "infested" with irrigation circles. I was amazed at the variation in geometry - small circles, large circles, half circles, 3/4 circles with a smaller circle in the remaining quadrant - and some areas where old circles had been left fallow to turn brown.

After quite some time over farm land, the ground suddenly changed from irrigated land to brown land well delineated by straight roads. A check of the time confirmed that we were in either Colorado or New Mexico - Mountain time zone. We were over widely scattered small cumulus clouds with distant stratus to the south-southeast. The mild chop ceased and we were allowed to move about the cabin again. At 1055 local time the pilot announced that we were 440 miles (must have been nautical miles) and about 1 hour away from Phoenix. Soon the terrain changed to deep canyon country, and then to tree-covered mountains. We passed just southeast of Taos and Santa Fe and about 30-50 miles northwest of Albuquerque. At 1120 our pilot gave us a final call for the lavatory.

Two minutes later we began our descent. While the 737-700 has quieter engines, I can also hear the change in engine function much more clearly. It went from a low hum barely audible over the rushing air to a lower hum with a distinct vibration throughout the aircraft. At 1026 local time (new time zone, we had crossed into Arizona) the nose went down. Our pilot announced that we were 150 miles and 30 minutes out at 1029, and that conditions at PHX were clear, bright sun, winds 15 knots out of the west, 100 F with an expected high of 115 F. With that he put the nose down about 10 degrees. Initially we had a stepped descent but then it smoothed out.

At 1040 I saw the first unfortunate sign of Phoenix - a nasty smog layer, brown on top and green below. We got the 10000 ft. safety talk a minute later. We crossed over Tonto National Monument with its large reservoir just off port. After crossing a mountain range, Scottsdale Municipal Airport appeared under the wing. We entered the "thermal bounce" air layer and took a less than square approach over the city, joining the final parallel to an America West/USAirways A320 approaching Runway 25R while we approached Runway 26.

We landed smoothly and turned off at B7/C6, taxied in to the other side of Terminal 4 via Sierra, and came to a final and complete stop at Gate C3 - one half-hour early.

The flight attendant said "Get off" and I obliged, wishing the best to the high school students who were continuing to Los Angeles.

WN 1330 total flight: CLE-PHX-LAX-SMF-SEA



Up, up and away!
User currently offlineVatveng From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1009 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 4717 times:

Quoting Redngold (Reply 1):

By 1105 local time (still Eastern) we were crossing over a low overcast with an isolated mesoscale thunderstorm complete with beavertail and punched through dome on top. A secondary cell was being sucked in tfrom the southwest. With a well-defined columnar structure and inflow, I wondered if the storm was tornadic below. We made a slight course correction to the north of the storm and passed cumulus congestus building well to the southwest. As we continued, a higher stratified cloud layer appeared, and as more time passed, we crossed over - leading me to understand that at 40000 ft. (our cruise altitude) the curvature of the earth did create an optical illusion even though it wasn't immediately evident.

Spoken like a true weather junkie Big grin



Visited VA,NC,PA,SC,FL,GA,OH,AL,TX,TN,CO,CA,UT,NV,NM,IN,KY,MD,MO,CT,MA,NH,ME.
User currently offlineLaw4fun From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 135 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 4641 times:

good report. Loved the weather report...I wondered for a minute if you weren't flying over NE Oklahoma. Sounded like our weather.


Canon Shutter Slut
User currently offlineTouchdown777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 4623 times:

Nice Tr & Great pictures of the planes!

T7


User currently offlineSkoker From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 440 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 4619 times:

Cool, are you going to post the other two flights?

User currently offlineRedngold From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6907 posts, RR: 44
Reply 6, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 4547 times:

Thank you to all who have read and responded with compliments.

Quoting Law4fun (Reply 3):
I wondered for a minute if you weren't flying over NE Oklahoma.

Possibly the very edge of the panhandle, but I think in actuality we were a little farther north than what the following diagram shows:
Great Circle Mapper:
http://gc.kls2.com/cgi-bin/gc?PATH=c...STYLE=best&RANGE-COLOR=&MAP-STYLE=

Quoting Skoker (Reply 5):
Cool, are you going to post the other two flights?

Yes, as soon as I am done with my medication injection test today! (Priorities, priorities...)

[Edited 2006-07-19 15:13:51]


Up, up and away!
User currently offlineDimoko From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 307 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 4537 times:

Great report,

i would like to see southwest fly more directs out of our beloved CLE. if i were at hopkins, i would watch out, i could see WN maybe heading an hour south to CAK, a lot of the other discout carries love it there.

Quoting Redngold (Reply 1):
By 1105 local time (still Eastern) we were crossing over a low overcast with an isolated mesoscale thunderstorm complete with beavertail and punched through dome on top. A secondary cell was being sucked in tfrom the southwest. With a well-defined columnar structure and inflow, I wondered if the storm was tornadic below.



Quoting Redngold (Reply 1):
We were over widely scattered small cumulus clouds with distant stratus to the south-southeast. The mild chop ceased and we were allowed to move about the cabin again

are you sure you were missing nursing classes and not meteorological classes?



"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." -- Douglas Adams
User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1960 posts, RR: 24
Reply 8, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 4531 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great report and pictures!

User currently offlineRedngold From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6907 posts, RR: 44
Reply 9, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 4505 times:

Everybody is complementing the pictures... Please note that they are not mine; I selected them from the A.net database.

Quoting Dimoko (Reply 7):
are you sure you were missing nursing classes and not meteorological classes?

 laughing  I've never taken a meteorology class in my life, but I am a self-trained storm spotter and a former member of the American Meteorological Society (civilian division.)

****

Sunday, July 16, 2006

I arrived at Phoenix Sky Harbor once again, this time by Ace Airport Shuttle from Sedona. The wedding and reception over, I was the first to leave as I had to get back for an 0800 class on Monday.

The shuttle dropped me off at 1030 and I used curbside check-in. It was 109 F, very dry and clear. As I walked through the airport I noticed the very strong southwestern theme including the native American type patterns on the carpeting. The airport is very open and airy in most places. Since it was only 1-1/2 hours and I had a "B" group boarding card, I headed straight to my gate.

As I reached the security checkpoint, I was paged over the PA, "Please report to Gate D6 for an important message." This immediately raised my anxiety level as my first thought is always about my family. I got through security with no problem and headed straight to D6, which shared a desk with D8, my departure gate.

I had dropped my debit card at the curbside check-in desk. Oops. I asked the gate attendant whether I should go back and get it and he told me he would call back and ask them to bring it to the gate. Ten minutes later, when I checked again, he hadn't gotten through to the check-in desk, but he assured me that he would personally retrieve my card and bring it on the plane if necessary, so that I wouldn't have to leave my card in Phoenix. He did finally go and get my card and it was safely back in my wallet just before the boarding call.

That's the "Southwest Spirit" in action.

Gate D8 is at the end of Terminal 4's D concourse, with large floor to ceiling windows. There was a lot of WN activity on the runway outside the window, and mixed in were two Continental Airlines 737s, a Northwest Airlines A319, and a mixture of USAirways flights (including my first live spot of an America West 737-300.)

I got my place almost at the end of the B group and when we boarded the gate agent told us that there would only be scattered (8-10) seats available. I asked the people who had the first available aisle seat (I hate center seats) and positioned myself in 12C, the port aisle seat immediately behind the exit row and over the center of the wing. While I always prefer window seats, it was pretty apparent that I wasn't going to get one, and on a crowded flight, I'd prefer to have an aisle seat as it gives me more legroom and easier lav access.

We took off from Runway 25R at the threshold, a long roll likely due to a combination of hot, high, heavy conditions and the length of the flight. Our flight attendant announced that cell phones could be ON, but only in "airplane" or "game" mode. Too bad I have an old model that doesn't have either. We ascended to a cruise altitude of 35000 ft. and cruised smoothly all along - or at least smoothly enough that it didn't bother me. I slept most of the way.

It turned out that the woman who said I could sit next to her wasn't so nice after all. I have a tendency to twitch when I sleep, and every time I woke up just slightly bumping against her, she gave me a nasty look. If I had had a choice, I would have moved to a different aisle, but I probably would have ended up bumping two people instead. Too bad for her.

The pilot announced that we were due to arrive MDW about five minutes early, and MDW conditions were 95 F, partly cloudy with winds from the southwest. We had a stepped descent to start, and as we descended the air became progressively more hazy. Sitting in an aisle seat I didn't have as much of a view as I'd like, but I was able to ask a few more friendly people for help orienting to Lake Michigan.

At 10000 ft. we made a strong right turn over farmland and were flying parallel to a canal with low, smoggy clouds yet below us. We made a right turn of about 45 degrees and in retrospective we were following the river in from Joliet, passing to the south of the Saganashkee Slough. With Lake Michigan ahead of us, we turned left and began our downwind. The airport was visible off the port wing. While descending steeply, we made our turns and then adjusted farther to the left, finishing with a hard left bank at about 3000 ft. to land on Runway 22L. We landed hard and strained forward against hard braking until turning off at Kilo - a successful civilian "carrier landing." We got to the gate on time.

At MDW I only had to cross the center hallway to get from my arrival to my departure gate. Arriving 45 minutes before my flight, I grabbed the first spot in the B boarding group line. People lined up behind me, and then filled in the C line... It was going to be another crowded flight. The gate agent confirmed that our flight would be completely full, so I asked him if he was looking for volunteers.

"Why would I be looking for volunteers?"
"Oh, I don't know... Full flight, weight and balance issues, hot and heavy conditions, one more flight out tonight..."
"You picked the wrong gate agent. I don't overweight my flights."
End of conversation.

When preboarding started, there was some confusion - the gate agent told the people in wheelchairs to "come up here" and then disappeared down the jetway. One of the ladies said, "we should go down there" and I told her I thought the agent still needed to scan her boarding card in the terminal before she went down the jetway. No, she insisted, and she had her daughter wheel her down... followed by three other wheelchair passengers. Well, I was right - about a minute later, they were all backed out, followed by a red-faced, very flustered gate agent who told them to stay put until he returned. The insistent woman then began complaining bitterly about "the pain in the a** regulations." By the end of our flight I seriously wanted to tell her that her complaining was rude and unbecoming.

We boarded and as usual on a full flight we ended up being delayed due to gate checks and slow seating. I took seat 7D (starboard aisle, parallel with the engine nacelle) next to a woman with a young boy and her mother. The mother did not speak English so I conversed a little in my broken Spanish and the daughter translated when necessary. We chatted throughout the flight - the daughter was going to Cleveland for job training and her mother was along to babysit her 15 month old grandson. The grandmother read a novena (translation of title: "before leaving on a vacation") as we pulled out from the gate at 1820 CDT.

We taxied out behind three other departures and then did a turn-and-run takeoff from in front of the Runway 22L blast fence. It was unnerving to see the fence at the other end of the runway so close below us as we departed: another civilian "carrier departure." We made a hairpin right turn out to pass parallel to the airport and then another right turn to cross the Lake Michigan shoreline over downtown Chicago. With a slight left correction, we flew parallel to the south shore of Lake Michigan, where I could clearly see the industrial area of Gary followed by Indiana Dunes National Seashore as we crossed through 10000 ft.

Our airborne trajectory was what I've seen described as a "ballistic arc." With only a one hour flight, we never really reached a cruise altitude, and probably never got higher than about 25000 ft. Our pilots were quiet throughout the flight and the flight attendants gave a quick service to those who wanted a drink.

We flew parallel to the Michigan-Indiana border, crossing the Lake Erie shoreline well south of Detroit and skimming the Canadian shoreline. Soon I could identify Davis-Bessie NPP and the Erie Islands (Pelee in Canada, the Sisters and Bass Islands, and Kelley's Island.) Our pilots announced that conditions at CLE were 90 F with high scattered clouds and otherwise clear.

Since my seatmates were new visitors to Cleveland I gave them a verbal tour as we flew past Cedar Point, Sandusky and Vermillion. We turned in toward the south shore and passed about 10 miles north of Lorain before crossing the shoreline over Lakewood with its high-rise condominiums. Too bad we came in that way - I couldn't point out my apartment building because we were too far north. Because of this, I expected that we were going to land on Runway 24R, but surprisingly enough our pilots took an oblique visual approach to Runway 24L. I suppose that at 2015 local time, there wasn't much inbound competition. I also thought that we were going to have a greased landing, but touchdown came with a firm grab and immediate braking.

I bid my seatmates goodbye and had the good fortune of finding both of my bags at the baggage claim when I arrived there. It seems that CLE has a new handling system, and in my opinion, it worked perfectly.


WN 519 total flight routing: OAK-ONT-PHX-MDW-SDF



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