Everybody is complementing the pictures... Please note that they are not mine; I selected them from the A.net database.
|Quoting Dimoko (Reply 7):|
are you sure you were missing nursing classes and not meteorological classes?
I've never taken a meteorology class in my life, but I am a self-trained storm spotter and a former member of the American Meteorological Society (civilian division.)
Sunday, July 16, 2006
I arrived at Phoenix Sky Harbor once again, this time by Ace Airport Shuttle from Sedona. The wedding and reception over, I was the first to leave as I had to get back for an 0800 class on Monday.
The shuttle dropped me off at 1030 and I used curbside check-in. It was 109 F, very dry and clear. As I walked through the airport I noticed the very strong southwestern theme including the native American type patterns on the carpeting. The airport is very open and airy in most places. Since it was only 1-1/2 hours and I had a "B" group boarding card, I headed straight to my gate.
As I reached the security checkpoint, I was paged over the PA, "Please report to Gate D6
for an important message." This immediately raised my anxiety level as my first thought is always about my family. I got through security with no problem and headed straight to D6
, which shared a desk with D8
, my departure gate.
I had dropped my debit card at the curbside check-in desk. Oops. I asked the gate attendant whether I should go back and get it and he told me he would call back and ask them to bring it to the gate. Ten minutes later, when I checked again, he hadn't gotten through to the check-in desk, but he assured me that he would personally retrieve my card and bring it on the plane if necessary, so that I wouldn't have to leave my card in Phoenix. He did finally go and get my card and it was safely back in my wallet just before the boarding call.
That's the "Southwest Spirit" in action.
is at the end of Terminal 4's D concourse, with large floor to ceiling windows. There was a lot of WN
activity on the runway outside the window, and mixed in were two Continental Airlines 737s, a Northwest Airlines A319, and a mixture of USAirways flights (including my first live spot of an America West 737-300.)
I got my place almost at the end of the B group and when we boarded the gate agent told us that there would only be scattered (8-10) seats available. I asked the people who had the first available aisle seat (I hate center seats) and positioned myself in 12C, the port aisle seat immediately behind the exit row and over the center of the wing. While I always prefer window seats, it was pretty apparent that I wasn't going to get one, and on a crowded flight, I'd prefer to have an aisle seat as it gives me more legroom and easier lav access.
We took off from Runway 25R at the threshold, a long roll likely due to a combination of hot, high, heavy conditions and the length of the flight. Our flight attendant announced that cell phones could be ON
, but only in "airplane" or "game" mode. Too bad I have an old model that doesn't have either. We ascended to a cruise altitude of 35000 ft. and cruised smoothly all along - or at least smoothly enough that it didn't bother me. I slept most of the way.
It turned out that the woman who said I could sit next to her wasn't so nice after all. I have a tendency to twitch when I sleep, and every time I woke up just slightly bumping against her, she gave me a nasty look. If I had had a choice, I would have moved to a different aisle, but I probably would have ended up bumping two people instead. Too bad for her.
The pilot announced that we were due to arrive MDW
about five minutes early, and MDW
conditions were 95 F, partly cloudy with winds from the southwest. We had a stepped descent to start, and as we descended the air became progressively more hazy. Sitting in an aisle seat I didn't have as much of a view as I'd like, but I was able to ask a few more friendly people for help orienting to Lake Michigan.
At 10000 ft. we made a strong right turn over farmland and were flying parallel to a canal with low, smoggy clouds yet below us. We made a right turn of about 45 degrees and in retrospective we were following the river in from Joliet, passing to the south of the Saganashkee Slough. With Lake Michigan ahead of us, we turned left and began our downwind. The airport was visible off the port wing. While descending steeply, we made our turns and then adjusted farther to the left, finishing with a hard left bank at about 3000 ft. to land on Runway 22L. We landed hard and strained forward against hard braking until turning off at Kilo - a successful civilian "carrier landing." We got to the gate on time.
I only had to cross the center hallway to get from my arrival to my departure gate. Arriving 45 minutes before my flight, I grabbed the first spot in the B boarding group line. People lined up behind me, and then filled in the C line... It was going to be another crowded flight. The gate agent confirmed that our flight would be completely full, so I asked him if he was looking for volunteers.
"Why would I be looking for volunteers?"
"Oh, I don't know... Full flight, weight and balance issues, hot and heavy conditions, one more flight out tonight..."
"You picked the wrong gate agent. I don't overweight my flights."
End of conversation.
When preboarding started, there was some confusion - the gate agent told the people in wheelchairs to "come up here" and then disappeared down the jetway. One of the ladies said, "we should go down there" and I told her I thought the agent still needed to scan her boarding card in the terminal before she went down the jetway. No, she insisted, and she had her daughter wheel her down... followed by three other wheelchair passengers. Well, I was right - about a minute later, they were all backed out, followed by a red-faced, very flustered gate agent who told them to stay put until he returned. The insistent woman then began complaining bitterly about "the pain in the a** regulations." By the end of our flight I seriously wanted to tell her that her complaining was rude and unbecoming.
We boarded and as usual on a full flight we ended up being delayed due to gate checks and slow seating. I took seat 7D (starboard aisle, parallel with the engine nacelle) next to a woman with a young boy and her mother. The mother did not speak English so I conversed a little in my broken Spanish and the daughter translated when necessary. We chatted throughout the flight - the daughter was going to Cleveland for job training and her mother was along to babysit her 15 month old grandson. The grandmother read a novena (translation of title: "before leaving on a vacation") as we pulled out from the gate at 1820 CDT.
We taxied out behind three other departures and then did a turn-and-run takeoff from in front of the Runway 22L blast fence. It was unnerving to see the fence at the other end of the runway so close below us as we departed: another civilian "carrier departure." We made a hairpin right turn out to pass parallel to the airport and then another right turn to cross the Lake Michigan shoreline over downtown Chicago. With a slight left correction, we flew parallel to the south shore of Lake Michigan, where I could clearly see the industrial area of Gary followed by Indiana Dunes National Seashore as we crossed through 10000 ft.
Our airborne trajectory was what I've seen described as a "ballistic arc." With only a one hour flight, we never really reached a cruise altitude, and probably never got higher than about 25000 ft. Our pilots were quiet throughout the flight and the flight attendants gave a quick service to those who wanted a drink.
We flew parallel to the Michigan-Indiana border, crossing the Lake Erie shoreline well south of Detroit and skimming the Canadian shoreline. Soon I could identify Davis-Bessie NPP and the Erie Islands (Pelee in Canada, the Sisters and Bass Islands, and Kelley's Island.) Our pilots announced that conditions at CLE
were 90 F with high scattered clouds and otherwise clear.
Since my seatmates were new visitors to Cleveland I gave them a verbal tour as we flew past Cedar Point, Sandusky and Vermillion. We turned in toward the south shore and passed about 10 miles north of Lorain before crossing the shoreline over Lakewood with its high-rise condominiums. Too bad we came in that way - I couldn't point out my apartment building because we were too far north. Because of this, I expected that we were going to land on Runway 24R, but surprisingly enough our pilots took an oblique visual approach to Runway 24L. I suppose that at 2015 local time, there wasn't much inbound competition. I also thought that we were going to have a greased landing, but touchdown came with a firm grab and immediate braking.
I bid my seatmates goodbye and had the good fortune of finding both of my bags at the baggage claim when I arrived there. It seems that CLE
has a new handling system, and in my opinion, it worked perfectly.
519 total flight routing: OAK