2 A 319's added to our existing A320/321 fleet in Turkish Airlines a few months ago(which are originally destined for AtlasJet but cancelled due to financial problems of that company)just on time that the RJ100's were leaving the company and they are assigned to the domestic routes which were served by RJ's in the past.
Couple of months ago I was complaining about the climb performance of the fully loaded A321 comparing to my previous type(737) in the Tech Ops.forum Pihero(who is an A 320 family captain) told me about the great performance of the A319 and I was looking forward to lay my hands on the "hot rod" 319.As I saw my name on the roaster to fly one of our routes served by 319,I though it may be a good occasion to write my first trip report.
The flight was from ÝST to-GZT(Gaziantep Oðuzeli)Airport.Departure time was 1400.Local time.I leave 30 minutes before the sign in time as I live very close to the Ýstanbul Atatürk airport.I drove for 5 minutes and parked my car to the THY parking lot in the airport.Actually if I walk straight forward from my door to the apron it would take less time to reach to the airplanes.You can see my apartment at the end of runway from a previous flight of mine.The skid marks from a Russian plane skidded off the runway the previous day.
I met my captain which I flew before(its really difficult to fly with the same people in short time intervals since THY expanded hugely since the few years and we have more than 1000 pilots know,its nice to see someone you know from the past.We went to the Dispatch office to get our flight plan,weather imformation and Notams,after that we went back did some talk in the pilots lounge as the CFA(Chief flight Attendant) came to introduce herself and reported that the other 2 crew members were also ready so we went to the briefing rooms.
In THY we meet and make our preflight briefings with the crew members in the cubical briefing rooms.Basicly Everyone introduces each other and the captains brief the FA's about the safety procedures,requests of general conduct with the passengers,and special information about the weather conditions expected enroute and at the destination.Then the CFA made her briefing to the crew members and we were ready as our airplane changed color on the info screen which means it is refuealed,loaded and cleaned at the gate and we were OK to go the plane.
We got on the crew bus and our airplane was docked at the domestic terminal gate 107.We have a funny looking but nice display of gentlemenship during boarding.The CFA leads first and the female FA's line according to their seniority to climb the leaders first then goes the most senior male crew(mostly the captain and FO)infront and the male FA's trailing.
As we board everybody goes to their stations and we go into the cockpit.
This is how the interior of the brand new baby looks like.
The first thing I look is to check the the landing gear pins which are located behind the box where I put my bag,so I see 3 of them and put my bag,sit on my seat and check the plane's maintenance log.We already recieve the maint.situation of the airplane on the dispatch briefing but there may be new ones from the last leg or may be continued items,required usege of MEL.
Captain and I decide who will be the PF and PNF on the leg and PNF goes for the walkaround and PF starts preparing the airplane.
Today I was PF and the capt.went out I did turn on all the lights of the airplane to check if all of the working.I did check my emergency equipment,and oxygen and done an bomb search checklist which is another gift of post 9/11. Then I adjust my seat and armrest positions for my side stick and take out the Jeppesen approach charts for the departure and arrival airports.
Photo © Jorge Meneses - APM
Now I am ready to start everything.We begin with the overhead panel which and perform the "All white lights out" checklist which is pressing all the white OFF push buttons.Allign the IRS's and check the fire bells,turn the fuel pumps ON (if the refueling finished)
Now its time to play with the FMGS.
RWY:36R(yes finally open and operational )
FOB:8000 kg,trip fuel:4000 kg we have an extra fuel of 2000 kg for the distant alternate airport and 500 kg of commander extra for the unexpected traffic delays)
FLT Time:1:30 mins
As now we are finished with the FMC,its time to check weather radar,GPWS,TCAS,ILS's. and they are all OK.
Boarding is almost finished we have 100 passengers on board today.As ýts my turn to fly I do the briefing containing;
Airplane type,msn number
right hand seat TO
Emergencies until V1
Emergencies after V1
Ýmmediate landing with engine fire,visual conditions existing
Emergencies requires ECAM actions other than Engine related
Normal SID procedures
V speeds and flex
Other special information
And I read the Before Start CL to the lýne, load sheet comes in we sign the papers and update if any speed changes due to change on actual weight and balance after we see the cargo doors are closed I request start up and push back.And before start CL below the line is performed.
It was a busy time of the airport as THY reaches 100 airplanes and growing also the with the help of low cost booming in the private airline companies IST airport is matching the hair rising traffic of the city it self already has. We are number 7 at the line.Not very happy with this but there is nothing more to do.As the PF I make a short announcement as the Captain taxies the airplane.
These kind of explanations calm the people down(most of the time)
As we are lined up on the runway I was very curious of the performance and 2 engines stabilised and 1.05 epr I moved the AT to FLX/MCT detent and released the brakes the fun begins.The little fella jumps forward like an arrow and we reached to rotation speed quickly.Rotation was smoot but the FD bars were calling me to around 18 degrees which is a scene I havent seen since my 737 days. I wanted to play with this baby and I hand flown it until 10000 instead of regular 5 seconds after TO(hand flying the Bus aint no fun its like put it to 15 degree turn on a manual flight and and go to the toilet,you will find exactly where you left when you come back)
I put the AP2 on.As we stuck at level 160 for a few minutes due to traffic coming above from us,I used the opportunity to build up some speed which I traded to altitude later.Boy this aircraft really climbs when you select Open Climb and select a lower speed than selected.AP climbs like crazy to match the speed doesnt care about the VS and I saw around 5000 fpm until it stabilised around 3000 fpm all the way.I had to lower the nose not to recieve any TCAS warnings on the last few thousand feet as we enter the RVSM airspace.
The flight was smooth all the way.
This is FO WING looking to the right Wing.
After we recieved the latest weather information I started descend preparations.I is planned with full flaps and medium autobrakes.Now I have to tell something about GZT airport.Its very close to Turkey-Syria border.It is a mountanous terrain 2315 feet of elevation,the MSA around the airport is 9000 feet at the highest sector.The airports main runway is under construction so the emergency taxiway is used for landing which is 30 m wide(a standard rwy is 45m wide) and 7000 feet available landing distance due to construction.
It has a offset VOR approach for rwy 28 since the runway extension is really high terrain which you can see behind the tail of this russian prop airplane.
I was hoping better conditions for the first landing but we did the VOR approach(it was CAVOK so doesnt need to be mentioned) because of the mountain slope there is a stiff crosswind all the way to 500 feet and it suddenly disappears as you fly over the threshold.And 30 m wide runway really seems like you will not be able to fit in it from the distance.The leght was short,I put the airplane down smooth enough(not smoothly) and full reverse and medium auto brakes did the rest.V2500 engines are really more powerfull than the CFM's their reverse is more effective too.We stopped and backtracked without any trouble..
I had a nice and beautiful taste left in myself as captain parked the airplane.
Talking about beautiful taste Gaziantep is home of famous Turkish delight "Baklava" and "Pistachio" so we did some shopping from there,For those who has tasted the two would understand what I meant.
Going back westward as looking to a beautiful sunset which marks the end of the day for most people.This beautiful scenary on the second leg only means to me that I have man many hours left to compleate the 4 legs that night before I reach to my bed......
Well thats all for know,I was hoping to write something like this and I enjoyed writing it,hope you like it too.All the best,WING