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Weird Occurrence @ MSP

Thu Jun 27, 2002 9:20 am

The other day, while spotting @ MSP around 3pm, Northwest has 2 747 flights. One is a -400 that heads for NRT and the other is a -200 that heads for AMS. Well, this particular day, planes were departing from 30R and 30L. 30L-12R is the longer runway at MSP. Well the 744 taxied down by 12R even though all the traffic was going off of 30L. I thought at first maybe he was heading for 14, the cross runway. However, he taxied to the end of 12R. At this point, I had no idea what was going on. Then I noticed that all traffic had stopped departing and arriving on 30L. The 744 taxied into position on 12R and departed. It then turned right and started to fly even with the runway, headed on a heading of 120. Once it had departed, all traffic returned to normal. I thought this was odd because at first, I thought maybe they let the 744 take off differently cause it was headed that way but when it turned, I was stumped. Does anyone know why they let this 1 744 take-off on a different pattern than all the other planes???

Thanx, Matt~
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RE: Weird Occurrence @ MSP

Thu Jun 27, 2002 10:30 am

Not all runway ends are created equal, and it's quite possible that 12R had higher takeoff weights for the same conditions than did 30L, and in the case of this particular flight, they needed every pound they could get.

Opposite direct departures are not all that unusal, and one good example where you can see this everyday is LAS. The main drag out there for departures is 25R, which is a big long sucker, but it's got an uphill slope of just over 1.0%, so the weights are lower than they would be if the runway was unsloped.

Conversely, 07L has a 1.0% *downhill* slope, and the takeoff weights are much better than on 25R. When it gets hot, it's not unusal to see flights (that need the additional weight( take a :30-:45 minute ATC delay awaiting use of 07L. ATC has to build a big hole in the line of aircraft lined up to land on 25R, and departing aircraft on 07L will utilize that gap.

The difference in takeoff weights between runway ends can also be caused by differences in obstacles in the departure path, like terrain, buildings, or both...
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RE: Weird Occurrence @ MSP

Thu Jun 27, 2002 12:10 pm

BTW, NW flies two 747's into AMS (flights 42 and 56) a day as well as a A 744 to NRT and another (742) one to Seol via NRT or KIX< can't remeber which one, so MSP does see several 747's not just two a day.
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RE: Weird Occurrence @ MSP

Thu Jun 27, 2002 12:26 pm

Zeus, there are only 3 daily 747 flights in MSP at this time. The 744 to NRT (19/20) and the two AMS flights as you mentioned. Starting 7/5 there will be a second NRT flight operating twice a week for a few weeks and then three times a week for the rest of the summer, this is a 742.. Currently no service to KIX from MSP.

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RE: Weird Occurrence @ MSP

Thu Jun 27, 2002 12:47 pm

I was actaually stating that at the time of 3pm, there are 2 747 flights.

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RE: Weird Occurrence @ MSP

Fri Jun 28, 2002 2:49 am

Did NWA ever serve KIX from MSP?

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RE: Weird Occurrence @ MSP

Fri Jun 28, 2002 3:56 am


Funny, I experienced the same thing at MIA a couple of years ago while on board a Martinair [MP] 763, heading across the pond for AMS.
We had an almost full complement of pax, and push back from the gate was at the advertised time. However as we taxied out to the parallel taxiway towards 27R, I could clearly see through the windows that we were Nr.10 or so in sequence for 27R take-off, along all those magnificent silver birds. It took us about 20 minutes to get into the Nr.1 position which [the delay was nicely and calmly announced by the captain]. Runway 27R was used in mixed mode, with traffic arriving on and departing from in staggered sequence at 27R.

Once the traffic had landed on 27R, we immediately taxied into position, only to maintain taxi-speed on the runway!!?? Most pax didn't know that we were already on the runway. We taxied down the runway, took the next exit to the right and parked for a couple of minutes at this exit, clear of the runway! As we were perpendicular to the runway, I could see through the windows traffic landing and taking off from the runway the we just vacated. Still most pax were not really concerned, although some were getting a bit annoyed because of the huge taxi distances on this huge airport. Someone even asked if we were going to taxi all the way to AMS...!!

At this time the captain came on the PA to announce the we would have some delay. The reason for the delay was that there was a small tailwind component on 27R. For many flights this was not really a problem, as I could still see tons of aircraft landing on, and taking-off from 27R. However the captain explained that because of the full payload, and the fuel onboard for the trans-Atlantic run, we were virtually at max take-off weight. Combined with runway length, OAT [33 C or so] and the unfavourable wind conditions, we couldn't make the take-off from our designated runway. The captain contacted MP-ops at AMS, to get some redefined calculations for required take-off distance, and maybe waiting for better winds, but to no prevail. He also reported that he denied to return to the gate and dump some payload, as was suggested by ATC! Way to go, That’s my captain!!

In the end, we taxied to the opposite end of 27R, and actually took off with no problem whatsoever from 09L. As we got airborne, I could clearly see a long, long, long line of aircraft still waiting for 27R. Although push back was right on the dot time-wise, it took us more than an hour to become airborne! However we landed with only 12 minutes delay at AMS.
When I think of it, we really did scr . w up the ATC pattern at MIA . . .

So I guess the same could have happened to your 744 at MSP. The traffic pattern being towards the west, but maybe with a touch of tail wind component. Usually this should not be a problem for the smaller birds, since sufficient runway length is available. However for the big birds being close to max take-off weight it could become a problem. I expect that this was the case during your visit at MSP.
I guess you did not carry a scanner at the time. The radio traffic would be quite interesting to say the least! It would also have allowed you to copy the wind conditions.

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