Wwll, after several busy days of classes, I finally have time to sit down and write about my latest trip, a weekend jaunt to New York for the only 3-day weekend of the semester. The trip began last Saturday morning with a 5 am bus ride to the Indianapolis airport on the Lafayette Limo.
I had planned to take a 0730 flight to ORD, connecting in LGA. When I got to the ticket counter, however, I was informed that the flight was full and had a long standby list. In light of this new information, I changed my plans to catch a 0700 flight to DFW, then connecting to LGA from there. I got to the gate and was pleased to find that the meal was not a Bistro, but rather a hot breakfast served in flight. My flight, AA 1188, pushed back right on time at 7 am. Shortly after pushback, I realized that this was my first time in a year and a half of attending Purdue that I flew IND-DFW... every other AA departure I've had from IND was Eagle to ORD. This aircraft was a Super 80 with the small First class cabin (14 seats) and teh old interior. Anyway, we taxied quickly out to runway 23R and took off at 709 am, climbing to FL 350. After takeoff, the flight attendants came around with breakfast, which was a hot bagel with cream cheese and a banana. I also had orange juice. When they came by to collect out trash, I asked for another bagel and was given another, along with some more OJ. Shortly after finishing breakfast, I stretched out and took a little nap. About an hour later, at 813 am, we touched down on runway 17L at DFW and taxied in to the gate.
My connecting flight, AA 710, was alsoa Super 80. This one, though, had the expanded First class (20 seats) and the new interior. For the first time that I can remember, I was on a flight that powered back from the gate. That was really cool... Normally, pushback is a non-even and you don't even realize that you've started to move; not so with a powerback. The whole plane shook as we slowly accelerated, then the pilot eased off the power and it became just like any other gate departure. We taxied to runway 17R and waited in a short line for departure. Ahead of us were 2 American Eagle ERJ-145s, an AA 727, a US MD-80, and another AA 727. At 933 am we were roilling and we had a nice quick takeoff. We were in the clouds before I could see American's headquarters (about 4 miles or so south of the airport), and we stayed above the clouds for much of the flight. On this flight, I chose to follow along on my GPS (see my post on "Handheld GPS on Commercial Flights" for info about the propriety of this), and our route took us out to Washington, DC, just east of Reagan National Airport, then straight up to New York from there. Breakfast was served again on this flight. This time I had a really good muffin and Corn Flakes, again with orange juice. I also had several cans of Coke on this flight. We landed on runway 31 and taxied in.
Monday morning, it was time to head back to Purdue so that I could take advantage of a 1530 flight slot that I had arranged with my flight instructor. To get to school on time, I planned an 8 am flight to ORD, connecting to a 1010 flight to IND. For those of you who don't know how the weather wqas in NYC that morning, it was windy. At out time of departure, the temperature was 9F and the wind chill was -35F. When we boarded the aircraft, we were still anticipating an on time departure, so we pushed back from the gate and taxied out. As we got to a point where the pilot could see past the terminal to the runway, he addressed us over the pa, "Uhh, ladies and gentleman, we just got our first glimpse of the line for takeoff, and there's got to be at least 30 or 35 planes waiting to go. Due to the high wind conditions, they're using the same runway for arrivals and departures, so we're estimating at least 45-50 minutes before we can go." Sure enough, 50 minutes passed before we took the runway and left for Chicago. Our flight was uneventful, another breakfast flight, again on a Super 80 with 20F seats and the new interior. I had a hot blueberry muffin and Crispix cereal for breakfast. We arrived at O'Hare about 2 minutes before my scheduled departure to IND, so I figured I'd miss it.
When I got into the terminal, I looked at the departure monitors and saw that my flight had been delayed 10 minutes. This was good, because with a ten minute delay I could make the flight and still be to IND in time to catch the 1230 Lafayette Limo back to Purdue and make my flight. After boarding the Embraer 145, however, we came to discover that the delay would be slightly longer. We were delayed about 40 minutes, which put us into IND about 10 minutes after the Lafayette Limo left. The flight had no beverage service due to strong turbulence, so I just sat there and watched our grand track on my GPS. We passed just 6 miles west of the Purdue campus, but I couldn't see it because we were in the clouds. We landed on 23R at IND and taxied in. The flight was really just normal.
Well, I got back to Purdue at 1600, 30 minutes after I was supposed to fly. While in Indy, I called my flight instructor to let her know what was going on and we arranged to meet as soon as I could get to teh airport (LAF). I showed up about 5 minutes after 1600 and, to my dismay, found that weather had come down earlier than expected. While I am now learning IFR flight, we decided that my first flight of the semester, and my first flight in a new airplane model (I fly Piper Arrows now, a complex aircraft with 200 HP, rather than Piper Cadets), was not the best flight to also be my first flight in actual IMC. On that note, I just went back to my apartment and had dinner. I finally got to fly the Arrow for the first time yesterday (Wednesday), and it was really cool. The plane has such power compared to the Cadet, especially when you retract the landing gear and lose that drag. Anyway, that was my little trip to the east coast for the month. Thanks for reading this far!