My Return Trip To School

Wed Oct 13, 1999 8:10 am

Well, I'm back in lovely West Lafayette, IN now, so I thought I'd share my return trip with y'all. Sorry to Cody, who was interested in my experience with the ex-Reno plane, but that didn't work out...

I got to the airport in San Diego at 6:30 last night, checking in for a 7:33 departure to Reno. When I got in the terminal, however, I saw that the flight was cancelled. As a result, I switched my first connecting point to Los Angeles and hopped on an Eagle. I sat in 6A on Eagle flight 4030, SAN-LAX, The flight, like all LAX Eagle flights, was operated in a Saab 340B Turboprop. We flew at 8,000 feet, and our flight took 28 minutes. This Saab was refitted with seats that match American's new seats, except for that they did not have the adjustable leather headrest. The pattern on the seat was identical, though. Another interesting thing about this flight is that, despite it's short length, the flight attendant made TWO passes for the beverage service... you don't see that much on a half hour trip!

After arriving in LAX at 8:00, I faced a nearly five hour layover, as my flight to DFW wasn't until 12:40 am. I checked in, hung around the gate area for a while, then headed to the internationmal terminal. The IT has a nice set of shops and restaurants, as well as a nice view out of large picture windows. Finally, I headed back to AAs terminal for my flight. AA flight 612 was a 757, and it was pretty open. I had three seats together, 33 D through F. We pushed back one minute before schedule, at 12:39 am, and we taxied out to runway 25L and took off. We climbed to FL370 for this flight, which was to have an airtime of 2:27. I noticed that on this flight, the second language on the safety video was French rather than Spanish... I don't know what that was. Shortly after takeoff, we were served beverages and pretzels, and at my request the flight attendant gave me three full cans of Coke. I figured that that way they might last the flight. I stretched out across my three seats and watched CBS Eye on American on the TV screen for a little while. After about 20 minutes, I listened to a CD and fell asleep. The flight was really quick, and we touched down on DFWs runway 17R at 5:13 am. We taxied in to gate C-2, and I was so tired that I forgot to pass some time visiting the cockpit before getting off of the plane.

Once in DFW, I proceeded to gate A-15, where an F-100 came to take me to Louisville (SDF). I planned on upgrading to First on this flight to avoid the God-awful "breakfast" that comes inside the Bistro bag, but to no avail. At the last minute, two stand-bys with a higher priority than me came and got the last two seats. Because this flight, too, was empty in the main cabin (I would estimate that there were 30-40 people, including 8 in Fisrt Class), I again had three seats. This time I was in the sceond row of the main cabin, seats 7 D-F. The low load allowed the flight attendant to serve the bistro meal, so I didn't have to pick one up as I boarded. The bag contained a banana, strawberry yogurt, a strawberry breakfast bar, and orange juice. I drank the OJ and tossed the rest. I was apparently pretty tired at this point (I had a three hour layover in DFW), because I fell asleep before the flght attendants even served the beverages! This flight pushed back right on time at 8:05 am, and we taxied to 17R, where we were 9th in line behind a Delta L-1011 and MD-80, as well as 6 AA MD-80s. We took off and climbed to FL330, landing in Louisville at 11:03 am. The approach was really great, because I got a great view of Church Hill Downs, and we flew right over Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom. I think I also saw a Purdue Cadet flying a familiar cross coutry rout along the Ohio River, which forms the border between Indiana and Kentucky. It was hard to see the markings, so it may not have been a Purdue plane, but I know that a lot of our flight students were flying trips today while planes were available.

That's pretty much it for the flying story... I went out to lunch with a friend and saw a little of Louisville, then drove back up to Purdue. Did I forget anything? Let me know if I did.
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American 767
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RE: My Return Trip To School

Wed Oct 13, 1999 8:37 am

Hi Purdue Cadet, how are you?
I just read your report about your return trip to school. Interesting. You must be exhausted after a trip like that. It sounds like you were tired. You know, I also get exhausted when I fly back from the United States to Europe because I loose the night. When you travel eastbound across the Atlantic, it's hard to sleep because when in your "body clock" it's time to sleep, the sun is already rising! I usually don't get much sleep when I travel transatlantic. It's a lot harder to adjust your "body clock" when you arrive in Europe from America than vice versa.
You sounded like you were exhausted but at least you had three seats for yourself on the 757 and you got upgraded to First Class on the last leg of the trip. You said you went up to FL 370, but coudn't the pilot make it up to FL 410? I think they could because the load factor was low and flying from LAX to DFW a 757 doesn't need full fuel capacity so your 757 was not very heavy upon departure. And being pretty light, the 757 can climb up to 41000ft, to be more fuel efficient.

Anyway, I'm happy to hear that you had a nice trip and that you made it back to school safely. Now get some rest before you get back into school work. Keep well and good luck in your studies at college.

Ben Soriano
Brussels Belgium
Ben Soriano
Posts: 2276
Joined: Thu Aug 05, 1999 1:42 pm

RE: My Return Trip To School

Wed Oct 13, 1999 2:19 pm

Welcome back!

Let me fill you in to my aviation adventures. Going home I took a United Express flight from Purdue University to Chicago O'Hare. It was open cockpit so I got to watch the pilots fly the Beechcraft 1900B. That was cool. Since it was overcast, it was thrilling to watch the runway slowly emerge from the clouds.

Once we landed, I caught a connecting 757 to Providence, RI. The teck to get to that airplane was a haul! I didn't realize that O'Hare was so big! Anyhow, once I got on, I asked the flight attendent if I could visit the cockpit and she said yes. This 757 was EFIS equipped and I asked how to read the Navigation Display. The Captain was more than accomidating. He even asked if I had a camera, to which I replied "yes, I do." He took some pictures of me in his seat. I hope he got some of the EFIS displays. I took the film to CVS to get it developed. I also had them put it the Kodak PhotoCD, so that I could post them on the web for everyone to see!

Back to my story... I joked around with the crew and then it came time for push back and I had go back in coach and sit down. Before I leave that flight, I want to footnote the fact that I was wearing my Purdue ID around my neck like I always do when I went in to the flight deck and the Captain glanced back at me and he said, "you'll be jumpseating with us today?" While taking down the jumpseat. I was so tempted to say "yes.." but I know the regs and I didn't want to be responsible for this guy (who was 5 years away from retirement) to get fired.

Coming home, I took a 757 again from Providence. Like with the last one, this one was packed. I got to listen to ATC on channel 9. That was really cool. As I'd seen "Pushing Tin" twice while on Octoberbreak, that's all I could picture is John Cusic moving the blips around. I didn't get to go up to the cockpit on this flight   . I was carrying too much stuff to go up there. Anyhow, the flight was nice. It was very smooth. THe last one was very turbulant, so turbulant that the Captain asked the flight attendents to strap themselves in.

THe flight to Purdue was uneventful, except for the landing, which was bad. I've never felt a worse landing than that. Except for those that I do!

Well, that's it! I'll give you all the web page when I get my pictures posted!

- Neil Harrison

RE: My Return Trip To School

Wed Oct 13, 1999 2:23 pm

Thanks, Ben. I actually did not get First on my least leg - I got the Main Cabin and a Bistro meal. Also, FL370 is actually a better altitude for fuel efficiency than FL410. This is because temperature decreases with altitude, which increases air density and partially counters the decrease in density that comes from rising, improving performance. Above FL360, however, temperature is constant, so air pressure decreases much more rapidly, reducing engine efficiency. This info is based on what I learned last semester in AT 121: Aircraft Powerplants for Flight Crews and is supported by data on fuel burn of the Beechjet 400A.

RE: My Return Trip To School

Thu Oct 14, 1999 12:46 am

Neil - does Great Lakes still go into Terminal Two at O'Hare? That was great for me when I took that flight, because I had to get to American, but it's an awfully long way over to United's Terminal 1 from the Great Lakes gates, especially if you have to get out to the far concourse through that awful tunnel.

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