I did several trip reports when I was a 737 driver. Now I changed to a little bigger aircraft, the MD11F of Lufthansa Cargo.
This is a trip report for just 2 short hops. One is a ferry flight (no load) and the 2nd a normal short flight.
It was a normal day, I knew I had to show up at the airport at 10:10pm. 1.5 hours prior the STD at 11:40pm. I drove up to the operations 'Center' of Lufthansa Cargo in Frankfurt. Parked my car in the car park and walked up to the meeting point with the captain.
He was there already and we introduced ourself and were both happy that we could spend the night together
I connected my computer to the LH
server and brought my laptop up to date with the necessary information (we have to do that prior each trip). No big news, so where are the charts? Looking for the charts, for a short flight from FRA
you dont need many of them.
Then the dispatcher came with the papers and showed us the flight plan, weather, NOTAMS and all the other information we need. He told us its a ferry flight, so load is 0kgs. That means the MD11F is out of trim if no load on board. So you need at least 16tons of ballast fuel in the upper AUX tank to keep her in trim. Rules say: take at least 16tons of block fuel plus 16tons of ballast fuel: gave us a total fuel of 32tons. Well, 13 tons would've been sufficient, but with the ballast fuel, we had to take 32tons total.
Weather was fine in Frankfurt and EMA
as well, westerly winds at both airports, so we planned for 25R in FRA
(18 and 25L closed at nights for maintenance).
The bus came and took us to security check and passport control. No problems here, so the bus took us to our parking position F231.
I prepared the cockpit while the captain did his walk around. All systems in the cockpit were working properly and the aircraft was in perfect shape! Everything was working very good!
Aircraft is being refuelled and then the MD11F reschedules the fuel. If you fuel 32tons it will all in the 3 main tanks. but we need 16tons in the upper AUX tank, so the MD11F transferred the 16tons to the upper AUX tank. That took some time, but we could offload the ballast we had in the cargo hold. So here we had a cargo bay of those who cared
Ok, doors closed, FMS ready, cockpit all set for pushback, APU is running, APU AIR is ON
, ready for push and start. Calling ATC for start up. Well, the gave us runway 18... It was still open, although the NOTAMS said it was closed already. So, we had to recalculate everything. Weather was the same, but flap setting was different, speeds slightly different. Well, took another 4 minutes. Then we were ready for pushback. "Pushback approved, face to the east".
We pushed back and started all engines in the sequence: #3, #1 and finally #2. All engines stabilized at idle without problems. So, disconnect the towing truck and the steering pin. Hand signal of the ramp agent and then we set the flaps, armed the spoilers, set the trim and did the flight control check. Flaps tonight was only 10°, lowest possible flap setting for take off. Take off weight was only 148tons. (MTOW is 286tons) We were really light, and the engines were at max thrust reduction.
We taxied to runway 18 and got a take off clearance behind a Turkish Airlines 737-800.
I was pilot flying and the captain taxied the aircraft onto the runway and aligned it with the runway. Once aligned, he said: "you have control", I replied: "I have control"! Put my hands on the yoke and kept the aircraft on the runway with the rudder pedals. Engines spooled up to a take off N1 of 99.5%. The acceleration was enormous! This light aircraft and still so much power. After only few seconds "80" "checked" and a few seconds later "go" and "rotate". I only needed a very light pull on the yoke and the MD11F lifted off pretty much immediately! "GEAR UP
". and we climbed with 4500ft/min into the dark sky. Calling Frankfurt departure real quick, because on the departure route you have to level off at 4000'! We got a climb to FL110 and we retracted flaps and slats and accelerated to 250kias. We climbed with 5000ft/min! Reaching FL110 we got a climb to FL240! We accelerated to 354knots, our standard climb speed above FL100. After reaching that speed we climbed with more than 6000ft/min, shortly we reached 7700ft/min...
reaching FL240 we asked for further climb and the controller said: wow, you are at FL240 already?! We were laughing and we got a new frequency and they cleared us to FL380 (cruising level). After only 10minutes after lift off we were at FL380. With the level off at FL240.
That was fun.
The flight itself was uneventful, no clouds, so we had a nice view over the channel and passed London a little north of it. Via LAM (how many hours have I spend in this holding when approaching LHR
) and then right turn vie WELIN and VELAG and radar vectors to the approach to runway 27 in EMA
Weather was okish, a little cloudy up here but on the ground it was ok. We started the descent already abeam London, we were instructed to do so by the controller. Descent speed was only 280 knots because we were 10 minutes ahead of schedule, so no need to flight too fast. Below FL100 we reduced 250 knots. Then we got the descent to 2000' and heading 300 to intercept the ILS 27. I commanded "slats extent" and the captain did so. We reduced the speed then I commanded "Flaps 15" what the captain did. I disconnected the autopilot and the autothrust and did the rest manually. Level off at 2000' and shortly after that we intercepted the glideslope and descended with the ILS. "Flaps 28" and speed at about 150knots now. "Gear Down" and "flaps 35", final flap setting. Landing checklist read and cleared to land. Vapproach this evening was 138knots, pretty slow for an MD11F, but no load... The wind was straight on the nose, so no big deal to stay stabilized all the way down.
Mrs Douglas started to count: 100, 50, power reduce to idle, 40, 30', 20' pull on the yoke slightly and wait for touchdown, 10' release backpressure slightly, touchdown! Reverser deploy, but only idle reverse, light weight and runway dry and light weight... We vacated the runway at taxiway 'H'. Contact ground. Taxi to stand 121. Not hard to find in EMA
; small airport, only a few meters to taxi.
Into the stand, parking brake set; engine #1 and #3 off, engine #2 stays on until the ground electric is connected. then engine #2 off and the mechanic on the ground told us: chocks in position: parking brake released and parking checklist.
Thats it. Captain opened the door and I did all the paperwork and completed the flight...
not much to offload in EMA
for the loading crew, but they put ballast into the cargo hold to prevent tailtipping when the fuel is transferred back to the main tanks.
That was my nice ferry flight from FRA
Sorry that there are no pics, but it was dark and hard to take pictures then
I hope you enjoyed reading it