Ok here it is...*DRUMROLL* the return!
Saturday, November 10, 2001
USAirways Flight 181
Once my mom came and met me at the gate at 1:40, it was now a matter of waiting for the aircraft to arrive (it was coming from ATL) and be turned around to operate as US 181, service to PHL. Once people began to come out of the jetway, the aircraft had clearly arrived, so I got up and went to a window with a view to confirm the aircraft type. Sure enough, it was a US MD-80, in OC of course.
The turnaround process seemed to take forever, but finally the gate agent began to call the flight, and at the appropriate time my mom and I got on. We were seated in seats 18 A and C, an emergency row window and aisle in the "2" part of the 2-3 configuration. US 181 had a lot of company f/a's and flight officers board, I didnt bother to count, but there was at least 30 of them. Once the boarding was done and the doors shut, one of the f/a's came around to every US employee on board and gave them a bottle of water. I wondered if had I wanted a bottle of water if they would have given it to me. Anyway, we just sat at the gate for a few minutes, until the captain came on and said that maintenance was finishing up a few little things and that it would be a few minutes. That was fine by me, so I went back to my book, and kept reading, and, reading...I eventually drifted off to sleep, nd when I woke up, the first thing I did was check my watch, discovering that I had been asleep about 30 minutes, then I looked out the window to discover that...we were still at the gate!!!!!!! Presently the captain came on and said it would be "just a few more moments" and sure enough it was.
Once we pushed back, I got out my digital camera and prepared to take pictures should a good photo opportunity arrive. We made an extremely brief taxi to 28R, where we stopped at the hold, and I watched in awe as a US A321 floated past on finals and made a one-bounce touchdown on 28R. Once he was clear, we made a rolling takeoff. Just as the mains lifted off, I dropped my camera down into the seat behind me. I looked to see if the person sitting behind me was awake, but he wasnt, so I kept reaching down under my seat to look for it. I felt something solid there, and I squeezed on it to pick it up, only to realize that it was the guy's foot! I immediately pulled my hand away and looked behind me, and fortunately he was still sleeping. I decided to wait for the moment and see if he woke up later on to recover my camera. Anyway, the initial climb was very impressive, climbing at a steep angle away from the runway for a few moments before making a 180 to the right while still in a somewhat steep climb. Once we leveled off at cruise, the drink service began, and when it reached me, I ordered a Coke no ice. With that came a bag of something that was called "premium snack mix" and consisted of a bunch of things that I didnt like, so I didnt eat it. After drinking the Coke, I just sort of stared out the window for a while. Eventually, a noticeably large river came into view, with an urban area on the eastern bank of it, so I deduced that this was Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania, and the river was the Susquehanna River. I then saw a distinctive geological feature of Harrisburg, three easterly running parallel ridges to the north of the area, that confirmed my hypothesis. I have been there many times before, but I had never seen it from the air so it was sort of cool. Around that time the f/a's collected my cup. My mom asked the f/a's if they could ask the people sitting within a few rows of us if they could see our camera, and sure enough, it was found two rows behind us, and it still worked. During the search, I felt the aircraft start its descent. I began to look then for the twin cooling towers of the Limerick Nuclear Power Plant, which can be seen for miles since the plant is in the middle of a rural area, which would mean that we were approaching the PHL area. Once the towers came into view, I looked for PTW (Pottstown-Limerick Airport), which is a small GA airport that is less than a mile from the plant (I also had several flying lessons there). I found it, and next looked for NXX (NAS/JRB Willow Grove), a military base that is about 2 miles from my house. Its distinctive layout came into view soon enough, and I shifted my view from its runway, 15/33, looking directly perpendicular to it and seeing N67 (Wings Field), the airport at which I presently fly from. By this time we were fairly low, and we continued east, passing over PNE (Northeast Philadelphia Airport), over the Delaware River, turning south into New Jersey, and then west to line up for landing on runway 27R. Landing was smooth, and we had a brief taxi to one of the gates at the end of B concourse. Disembarking was smooth enough, and we made the long walk back to our car for the drive home, and once I got home, I signed online to a.net to write this report
Hope you all enjoyed it...Owing to the lack of variety in the routes I fly, my next report probably will not be until August when I will have returned from a 50+ day trip to Costa Rica, then the Rockies, then SAN, all without coming back home...there will be a lot of flying involved, the precise routing is not yet determined...unless something interesting happens on one of my regular PHL-FLL-PHL runs, this will be my last report until then.
Thank you all for reading this!