777fan
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What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Wed May 09, 2007 10:33 am

I'm guessing that someone knows the answer to the relatively simple question below.

I happened to be stuck in traffic on South Capitol Street in the heart of DC (imagine that) and found myself watching an outbound 757 break up the monotonous trail of CRJs and MD-80s arriving and departing DCA's runway 1 (6900 ft). It got me thinking:

What is the largest aircraft to ever fly in and out of DCA? I would imagine that even prior to 911, the relatively short field and precarious location in relation to the Capitol airspace made it somewhat "off-limits" to many of the larger widebodies.



777fan
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elcableguy77
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Wed May 09, 2007 10:40 am

As far as what you'll see in and out of DCA, the largest will be the 757s and US Airways A321s. Other than that, as you noticed, it's a steady stream of RJs, 737s, A319/320s, and MDs.

[Edited 2007-05-09 03:40:42]
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777fan
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Wed May 09, 2007 10:44 am

I know what flies in there now, but was looking for some historical perspective. I snooped around on a.net and found plenty of 727s and DC-9s but little else. I would think that there had to be an old 707, DC-8 or DC-10 diversion at some point in the field's history.

Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?!


777fan
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LawnDart
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Wed May 09, 2007 10:51 am

Quoting 777fan (Reply 2):
I know what flies in there now, but was looking for some historical perspective. I snooped around on a.net and found plenty of 727s and DC-9s but little else. I would think that there had to be an old 707, DC-8 or DC-10 diversion at some point in the field's history.

Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?!

Ferris here...

Eastern at one point flew A300s into DCA, but only for testing purposes. The A300 passed the test as far as DCA's capability to handle them, but "someone" shot the proposal down.

So, as stated by EIcableguy77, the 757 is the largest regularly scheduled aircraft in and out of DCA.

Although, at only 150 feet shorter than the runways at LGA, I'm sure a DC10 or L1011 could physically fly in and out of DCA.
 
777fan
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Wed May 09, 2007 11:07 am

Quoting LawnDart (Reply 3):
Although, at only 150 feet shorter than the runways at LGA, I'm sure a DC10 or L1011 could physically fly in and out of DCA.

That would've been a sight to see. As it stands, the 757 left-hand turns out of the airspace from runway 1 will have to suffice. The idea for this thread came originated (in part) from the threads about the SAA 747SP retirement landing and Dubai AirWing 744 visit to Kentucky last week.


777fan
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douwd20
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Wed May 09, 2007 11:30 am

A DC-10 once landed at DCA in 1998:

Late afternoon storms and high winds forced a United DC-10 airliner, low on fuel with nearly 300 people aboard, to make an emergency landing. The DC-10, bound from Chicago to Baltimore-Washington International Airport, had been diverted first to Dulles and then to National because of bad weather. It landed safely, and there were no injuries among the 287 passengers.
 
c680
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Wed May 09, 2007 11:47 am

Quoting Douwd20 (Reply 5):
A DC-10 once landed at DCA in 1998

I remember that day. It was downright bizzare seeing a wide body at DCA. Thanks for the year, I looked all over the net. I couldn't remember when it happened, but I sure rembmer the sight!
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aa87
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Wed May 09, 2007 11:52 am

777fan, I share your longing for more interesting metal. I work downtown, can't help looking up at outbounds/inbounds over Potomac, and a 75 is about as interesting as it gets.

I wonder about the DC-10 story from 98. Don't question veracity of the account, but doesn't add up. IAD has much longer runways and overrun areas, can't imagine things would be so much better at DCA 25 miles away. Also odd that they would be so low on fuel for such a short flight. However, I do recall hearing about a DC-10 visit (though I thought it was many years before that). Anyway, I bet a light 747SP and 777 could do it.

As an aside, LGA was my home field growing up, there was actually a time, not that long ago, when DC-10s and L-1011s were the norm there.
 
c680
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Wed May 09, 2007 12:05 pm

Quoting AA87 (Reply 7):
Don't question veracity of the account, but doesn't add up. IAD has much longer runways and overrun areas, can't imagine things would be so much better at DCA 25 miles away. Also odd that they would be so low on fuel for such a short flight

IIRC they were headed to BWI when it shut down for thunderstorms, they then went over to IAD, but since BWI was closed, IAD started taking all sorts of diversions (on top of lots of holds and vectors for weather) they were down low burning fuel like mad when IAD shut down too. All that was left was DCA, and it looked like it was going to close, so they called minimum fuel and followed the river to DCA.

It was one of those days with *bad* T-Storms that popped up pretty fast.

I think they were under 10K Ft for almost an hour. Jets but quite a bit more fuel at low altitudes, and the whole block time ORD-BWI is only about an hour and a half or so. Even with normal reserves, it can happen. Those guys were getting nervous, saw an open runway, and took it. Good call. Get it on the ground and the people safe. DCA's runway is plenty long enough, and Lord knows they were light!  Smile

If thats not *exactly* what happened, dont flame me - it's been a long time since that occurred.
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OzarkD9S
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Wed May 09, 2007 12:10 pm

IIRC the 767-200 was certified/approved to operate into DCA, but no one ever did.
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PanAm747
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Wed May 09, 2007 12:11 pm

I have heard here at a.net the story about the DC-10. As I remember, to get it OFF the ground, it not only had to go out completely empty but just enough fuel to get to IAD or BWI.

I also remember from a previous posting about this same topic that a 767 is the largest plane capable of docking at DCA. Seems to me that two 767's have room to dock, but I couldn't tell you which gates it would use.
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ANCFlyer
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Wed May 09, 2007 12:14 pm

Quoting 777fan (Reply 2):
DC-10 diversion



Quoting Douwd20 (Reply 5):
A DC-10 once landed at DCA in 1998

Yup, saw it on the news when I lived in Springfield VA. Bizarre seeing a DC-10 at DCA.

Largest scheduled thing in/out of DCA is a 757-300.

Quoting 777fan (Thread starter):

FYI . . avail yourself of the Search Engine.

There's several thread, this topic, already on the boards.
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masseybrown
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Wed May 09, 2007 12:18 pm

Both DC-10's and L-1011's were tested at DCA in the mid-70's; neither had any problem. FAA decided against allowing them because of terminal crowding.
 
flydreamliner
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Wed May 09, 2007 2:39 pm

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 11):
Largest scheduled thing in/out of DCA is a 757-300.

I would assume that in summer at least the 757-300s push the limits of that short runway pretty well. Those short little wings and overwhelmed engines have to work pretty hard to get that pencil-jet off the ground. I'm sure we might see 767-200 service there if the 762s hadn't fallen out of favor for domestic routes the way they did.

On a hot day the 757-300 has pretty unimpressive take-off performance... on a 95 degree day here at MSP the 757-300s departing to the west coast take up almost as much runway as the A330s departing to Europe do to get off the ground.
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georgebush
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Wed May 09, 2007 2:53 pm

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 11):
Largest scheduled thing in/out of DCA is a 757-300.

A 757 is not just a... THING!

Do DC-9's have weight and balance there a lot? Cause of the changing winds and rather short runway? I was on a NW DC-9 to DTW and they said because the wind shifted they needed 25 people off... thats a lot to be overweight by! But again at DCA I really wouldn't like to meet my fate at either end of that 6900 feet!
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N757ST
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Wed May 09, 2007 9:23 pm

Due to the way the mount vernon and river visual finals are stacked up, DCA for some reason is often reluctant to swap runways even if that runway shows a 5-10 kt tailwind. This seems especially true when they are on the mt vernon visual. Aircraft that request a departure into the winds during these conditions are usually told to expect 1+ hour delays, thus sometimes it is better for some more weight limited aircraft to return to gate or not even bother and use the current configuration and wind conditions in thier take off calculations and bump people rather then run a significant delay.
 
Cubsrule
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Thu May 10, 2007 12:14 am

Quoting Georgebush (Reply 14):
I was on a NW DC-9 to DTW and they said because the wind shifted they needed 25 people off... thats a lot to be overweight by!

Weight restrictions on -9s are not that uncommon in the summer, though it's usually on DCA/BNA/CLT/ATL-MSP.
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787EWR
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Thu May 10, 2007 12:47 am

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 11):
Largest scheduled thing in/out of DCA is a 757-300

Is that Northwest or AmTran?
 
aamr
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Thu May 10, 2007 12:56 am

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 11):
Largest scheduled thing in/out of DCA is a 757-300.



Quoting 787EWR (Reply 17):

Is that Northwest or AmTran?

Currently the largest scheduled aircraft are 757-200's by NW, US/HP, DL, and UA. NW's -300's have yet to even be swapped in for one of the -200's on flights 231/1715 (a/c variance depending on the season), since I've been at the airport.

[Edited 2007-05-09 17:58:40]
 
WestWing
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Thu May 10, 2007 2:02 am

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 11):
Largest scheduled thing in/out of DCA is a 757-300.



Quoting 787EWR (Reply 17):
Is that Northwest or AmTran?

I am reasonably sure I have seen an ATA 757-300 depart from DCA - especially memorable because they were using the callsign AmTran xxxx-heavy, but (cue the X-files theme music here) there is not a single photograph on this site, myaviation.net or even the other competing sites of a 757-300 ever at DCA. So either I have a very vivid imagination or that was a one-of substitution that I saw.
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aamr
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Thu May 10, 2007 2:16 am

Quoting WestWing (Reply 19):
but (cue the X-files theme music here) there is not a single photograph on this site, myaviation.net or even the other competing sites of a 757-300 ever at DCA.

Well....it IS just a few miles from CIA headquarters. If anyone could make evidence disappear......

 wink 
 
planegeek
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Thu May 10, 2007 2:32 am

Further to the DC-10 landing in 1998 ...

I was at DCA that day waiting for a flight and staring out the window. Couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the UA DC-10 on approach. It was a beautiful landing, and took the entire runway. Once on the ground the plane was parked on the tarmac by the (old) CO/NW gates while UA tried to figure out how to get the pax off the plane. Apparently none of the fixed jet bridges could go that high, nor could the portable stairs. I did see the ground crew try to improvise by putting a ladder on the back of a truck, but that was only to communicate with flight crew -- it wasn't stable enough to allow passengers to get off the plane. IIRC they had to truck in larger mobile stairs from Dulles to get the pax off the plane. I had to leave before seeing how that problem was resolved. Does anyone know?
 
PanAm747
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Thu May 10, 2007 4:26 am

Quote:
I am reasonably sure I have seen an ATA 757-300 depart from DCA - especially memorable because they were using the callsign AmTran xxxx-heavy, but (cue the X-files theme music here) there is not a single photograph on this site, myaviation.net or even the other competing sites of a 757-300 ever at DCA.

It is possible it was a 757-300, but after several incidents of wake vortices accidents, all 757's are referred to as "heavies". It has to do with engine power rather than size - a warning to light aircraft to STAY CLEAR!!!
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c680
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Thu May 10, 2007 4:44 am

Quoting Planegeek (Reply 21):
IIRC they had to truck in larger mobile stairs from Dulles to get the pax off the plane. I had to leave before seeing how that problem was resolved. Does anyone know?

I believe that is correct. While I have no first hand knowledge, that was the story going 'round the hangar.
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Cubsrule
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Thu May 10, 2007 4:52 am

Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 22):

It is possible it was a 757-300, but after several incidents of wake vortices accidents, all 757's are referred to as "heavies". It has to do with engine power rather than size - a warning to light aircraft to STAY CLEAR!!!

There are 752s that are not heavies under the FAR definition because they do not meet the minimum weight requirement. I'll find you the section hopefully, though if someone else knows it, they'll hopefully post it.
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PHLBOS
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Thu May 10, 2007 6:36 am

Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 10):
I also remember from a previous posting about this same topic that a 767 is the largest plane capable of docking at DCA. Seems to me that two 767's have room to dock, but I couldn't tell you which gates it would use.

When DCA's Terminal B/C was being designed back in the early '90s; I believe I saw 2 maybe 3 gates/parking positions on the aircraft parking layout plans for the then-proposed terminal that could handle 767s. Whether anybody actually parked 767s at those designated gates after the terminal opened in mid-1996; I do not know.
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RICguy
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Thu May 10, 2007 6:51 am

Back in the early to mid 1980s I remember seeing a DL 767 departing from DCAs main runway.
 
Viscount724
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Thu May 10, 2007 7:17 am

The 4-engine jets (707/DC-8/Convair 880 and 990) never operated from DCA on scheduled flights, but there was at least one special Pan Am 707 departure from DCA in October 1958, a few days before the 707's inaugural scheduled flight from JFK (then IDL) to Paris. IAD of course didn't exist until 1962 and longhaul flights used BWI (code then was BAL). Related TIME magazine article:

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,937666,00.html
 
futureatp
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Thu May 10, 2007 8:03 am

Someone needs to dig up an old schedule from summer 91 and summer 92 or 93. Those are the only times i have been out of DCA. I know for a fact on one of those trips I saw AA operating 767-200s out of DCA. Even though I would have only been 11 and 12 or 13 years old then, I was an airliner nerd at the time and I could identify a 767 from a 75, if AA even operated the 75's by then. I don't know if I saw a scheduled pax, proving run or diversions, but I know for a fact I saw AA 767-200s at DCA. I have no recollection as to gate space in that terminal as I only flew USAir in and out of DCA both of those times. I also want to point out at this time USAir had their own terminal at DCA in what looked like a remodeled hangar. Somewhere in the mid to late 90s DCA got an overhaul and everyone is in the main terminal I believe? I say that because maybe that could have affected the gate spacing for 767 ops.
 
777fan
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Thu May 10, 2007 8:04 am

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 27):
Related TIME magazine article:

This is the kind of stuff I was hoping to find when I started the thread. Cool. DCA's website is actually pretty interesting and features a lot of images but sadly, most of them are of the terminal, not the aircraft. If this were "terminals.net", we'd be in hog heaven, but sadly, it's not! Oh well.


777fan
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expatmatt
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Thu May 10, 2007 8:11 am

IIRC, the UA DC-10 that landed at DCA had the pax offloaded and then bussed to IAD. The plane was fueled up for the short hop back to IAD, without pax (less weight) and took off using up about half of the runway at DCA. It was all over the news that day in DC.

With regards to the 767s at DCA... I know there were five gates allocated/marked to handle 767s, of which either one or two were in the US Airways pier (Gates 38-45), and also at least one on the Delta side. Can't remember more than that, but this info was told to me when DCA had an open to the public house back in the 1990s when the new terminal opened.

Legislation prohibited scheduled operations with wide-body or twin-aisle aircraft. I am sorry to doubt you, FutureATP, but I don't think AA brought 767s to DCA unless of course there was an emergency situation like the one in which the UA DC-10 made the landing because BWI was closed for WX and they were running low on fuel to divert to IAD.
 
expatmatt
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Thu May 10, 2007 8:39 am

Folks, there is a Washington Post article on 04/18/98 with all of the facts and details and even some pax quotes.

You can either pay $3.95 to obtain it in full from www.washingtonpost.com or see it posted in its entirety on www.buzzlife.com. I won't cut and paste the full text from buzzlife as it's copyright protected material.

Article title: "WEATHER FORCES JET TO LAND AT NATIONAL"
Article authors: Alice Reid, Allan Lengel
Word count: 616
Article date: April 18, 1998

Buzzlife (full text): http://www.buzzlife.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-88118.html
(Notice that the original poster wrote in "Friday, April 17, 1998" next to the article, but the article appears on the 18th and refers to the landing as having occurred the day before, on Friday, April 17th, 1998)

Landing was on April 17, 1998. Flight was UA100 operating ORD-BWI with 287 pax.

Here are some excerpts, however, from the article:

"Because of bad weather on the East Coast, the DC-10, which tookoff from Chicago at 1:39 PM, had been ordered to circle first over Cleveland, then over BWI, where several passengers reported it made a landing attempt. Finally, it was sent to Dulles, where it circled again.

"When the crew reported that the plane’s fuel tanks were running low, at the same time that Dulles was experiencing dangerous wind conditions, the plane was ordered to land at National, a United spokeswoman said."

"According to United officials, Flight 100 had been airborne nearly 2 hours 40 minutes when it landed at National."

"But the three-engine plane, carrying a relatively light fuel load, made it easily into the air around 9:45 PM, and reached BWI shortly afterward, according to an to an operations officer at National. Carrying no passengers, but with cargo and baggage still on board, it lifted off about half way down the runway, he said."

"The DC-10 first headed north towards Rosslyn, then made a 180-degree turn and began making its approach to the south. Landing just behind it was Delta Flight 2134, coming from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport. Three flight attendants were injured when the plane, a 727, experienced turbulence on its approach."

"By 7pm, the passengers from United 100 were on buses chartered by the airline and bound for BWI."
 
cba
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Thu May 10, 2007 8:49 am

Quoting AA87 (Reply 7):
As an aside, LGA was my home field growing up, there was actually a time, not that long ago, when DC-10s and L-1011s were the norm there.

I recall that AA specifically proposed a folding wing 777 so that they could fly it into LGA and have it fit into current gates... of course, they didn't wind up ordering the proposed variant so the proposal went nowhere

Quoting OzarkD9S (Reply 9):
IIRC the 767-200 was certified/approved to operate into DCA, but no one ever did.

I'm actually surprised that AA hasn't tried to operate their flagship transcon service out of DCA... DCA-LAX/SFO appeals a lot more than getting out to IAD...

Quoting FlyDreamliner (Reply 13):
On a hot day the 757-300 has pretty unimpressive take-off performance...

While DC gets hot, it's more the humidity than the shear heat that makes it seem so hot their during the summer. Real engine power problems come into hot and dry places like PHX and LAS. While DCA gets hot, it's mostly humidity, and hot and thick air doesn't affect engine performance nearly as much as hot/dry/thin air does.
 
Boeinglover24
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Thu May 10, 2007 9:06 am

That would be an awesome site ain't it?
Granted it won't probably happen,i mean a DC10 flying river visual, over Gravelly point then landing at Rwy19......
O I can only dream

Quoting Cba (Reply 32):
I'm actually surprised that AA hasn't tried to operate their flagship transcon service out of DCA... DCA-LAX/SFO appeals a lot more than getting out to IAD...



perimeter restrictions because of the noise an aircraft full of fuel would make taking off and yeah they really don't want airlines to start flocking in DCA because if they had a choice it is the most convenient airport on the DC are to get to, there's only a few exceptions to that and it will take a lot of lobbying from AA on Capitol HIll for that to happen....
Uhhh What?
 
bdl2stl2pvg
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Thu May 10, 2007 9:08 am

Quoting LawnDart (Reply 3):
Eastern at one point flew A300s into DCA, but only for testing purposes. The A300 passed the test as far as DCA's capability to handle them, but "someone" shot the proposal down.

IIRC Eastern was required to buck up for some modifications to strenghten part of the runway due to the increased load that the A300 would produce. If the service wasn't allowed, it would be interesting to know if they ever had to pay.
 
aviateur
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Thu May 10, 2007 9:31 am

Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 22):
It is possible it was a 757-300, but after several incidents of wake vortices accidents, all 757's are referred to as "heavies". It has to do with engine power rather than size - a warning to light aircraft to STAY CLEAR!!!

That is not true. The 757 does not share the "heavy" distinction over the radio -- notorious as the 757's vortices are. A 1990 study by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) pronounced the 757’s vortices to be the most powerful ever recorded.

See below for an aritcle I wrote about wake turbulence, including some cool links to ANet photos....


http://www.salon.com/tech/col/smith/2006/11/10/askthepilot208/

- PS
Patrick Smith is an airline pilot, air travel columnist and author
 
Cubsrule
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Thu May 10, 2007 9:34 am

Quoting Aviateur (Reply 35):
The 757 does not share the "heavy" distinction over the radio -- notorious as the 757's vortices are.

Some do, some don't. All 753s do. It depends on MTOW. If it's greater than, IIRC, 225,000 pounds, it's a heavy. If it's not, it's not a heavy.
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aviateur
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RE: What Is The Largest A/C To Fly In/out Of DCA?

Thu May 10, 2007 9:36 am

Ah, yes, you're correct. I didn't realize the posters were referring to the 757-300 specifically. Apologies for typing faster than I think.

- PS
Patrick Smith is an airline pilot, air travel columnist and author

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