At the request of zarniwoop here is a quick re-cap of my last trip.
This trip was a SQ
744F trip, and it was a very good trip, with a 4 day layover in London. Checked with my wife to see if she'd want to meet me in London and play tourist there for a few days and sure enough she was up for that. We used to live south of London and really enjoy the UK. So this would be a mini-vacation for her.
The trip was scheduled to operate as SQ7394 SIN
/15 Oct, with a very respectable report time of 940am (1 hour prior to scheduled departure). As normal, I left my hours about 2 hours early, since this was a day departure, SQ
didn't arrange transport and I took care of that myself.
Since it was a Saturday morning, the trip to Changi took about 20 minutes from Central Singapore and I arrived at just about 9am. Went to the ticket counter and checked my crew bag and then down to ops after being off for 10 days!
Did the usual thing of emptying my mail box and sorting through the important v. junk mail. And checked in with the scheduling computer. No changes to the pattern.
I recognized the F/O, as I had flown with him on a prior trip. So, off to look at the computer flight plan. The weather was great enroute and in SHJ
, so off we went to the aircraft at about 930am.
The aircraft scheduled for the trip was 9V
-SFA, the queen of the 744F fleet. IIRC, our takeoff weight was just in the vicinity of 355Tonnes, with a payload of 110 Tonnes and a fuel 85 Tonnes. I did the walkaround and upper deck inspection as the F/O did the cockpit setup. It was going to be his leg and my walkaround.
After a quick look at the aircraft exterior, I took a quick walk through the main deck to make sure the cargo was secured and you couldn't have put anything else in there. It was packed in very tight. Then up to the upper deck and into the cockpit.
By now the F/O had completed his setup. I jumped in the seat and did my scan,and became the PNF. I read the checklists, got the ATC clearance and the pushback/start clearance. We were ready to go about 35 minutes early!
Off we went, we had a short taxi to RWY 20R and off we went. The departure turned out to be radar vectors and a quick turn out and a splendid view of Singapore as we made a right turn up towards VJR and KUL
. Our route took us up across the Bay of Bengal, over Chennai, just south of Mumbai and over the Indian Ocean into Muscat airspace and a straight shot into SHJ
. The nice thing about communications in that part of the world is the introduction of CPDLC to VOMM (Chennai) and VOBF (Mumbai). It makes life so much easier, no spending hours trying to contact anyone on HF
The enroute time was just over 7 hours and the flight passed without anything eventful happening at all. Just the way I like it. Arrival was smooth into SHJ
and we did the ILS 30 into SHJ
and arrived just over an hour early!
After a quick trip through CIQ, it was off for the "nice" ride to our layover hotel in DXB
. By the time we got to the hotel it was about 3pm local. Since it's Ramadan, nothing would be open for dinner until 7pm. My F/O and I met for a quick dinner then off to bed. Departure to LHR
was scheduled at 1510, so that was a 1210pm wake up and pickup at 1310.
The next day at the "appointed" hour we met in the lobby and it's back to SHJ
. As normally happens in DXB
the traffic was terrible and the ride seemed to take forever. Finally arrived just in time to see 9V
-SFF land. By the we cleared immigration and got to the cargo ramp, the aircraft was in the stand and the crew was just exiting. A quick talk to make sure the aircraft was OK
and off I went. I'd fly this leg to LHR
. The planned fuel was 74Tonnes however, due to traffic and holding in the LHR
area, I elected to put another 2 tonnes on. Our payload was 112Tonnes, including 3 horses and 2 grooms.
Takeoff weight was 346 Tonnes, still light enough for a assumed temp T/O out of SHJ
Again a very uneventful flight to LHR
, had the typical 4 turns in holding as we got into the terminal area. The weather was 2000'Bkn, Temp was 12C and the winds were 270/10, so 27L was the plan. After the normal "go down, slow down" we were turned on to about a 7 mile final and landed and commenced the long taxi to the cargo area.
As luck would have it, we arrived about an hour early, and as soon as we shutdown, I SMSed my wife to see if she had arrived. She was there and had just cleared customs, so I arranged to have our transport pick her up in front of T-3. Sure enough, 10 minutes later we were there and she joined us for our ride into SW
Sadly, the Thursday came all too quickly. She was going to take the morning departure out of LHR
and we said good bye as she got on the tube for her ride back to LHR
My trip that day was LHR
. Not a nice trip, departure at 2000L at LHR
and a 0120departure from CPH
. However, on this trip there were two F/Os. Good for them, not so good for me.
Pickup was scheduled for 1815, with wakeup an hour earlier. So about noon, I went off to nap. I set my own alarm for 1700 and was up and awake at call time. Met my two F/Os in the lobby and off to LHR
On the ride there, I asked them to decide who would fly which leg as was going to have both of them fly. My original F/O was going to fly the LHR
leg with the new F/O flying the CPH
leg. So in this case, the non flying F/O would do the exterior inspection.
We have to go to T-4 to get the flight plan and we finally arrived at the aircraft about 1845. The aircraft was loaded, fueled and ready to go. Another early departure! Fuel was our minimum for release, 30 tonnes and the cargo load was only about 90 tonnes.
Flying into places such as LHR
and other busy airports, can be quite intimidating. However, I have found they really run like well oiled machines. Especially, if you consider the amount of traffic those places handle. Minimal delays getting out and we were about 35 minutes early on our arrival into CPH
. We got cleared direct over the N. Sea and did a nice enroute descent for 22L.
We were scheduled for 2+30 ground time in CPH
, however, there was only about 6 pallets coming off and 18 going on so, if our luck held, we'd be out early.
Sure enough, we were lucky and loading was completed in almost record time. We had 35K fish and 10K of high value drugs. So extra care with temperature had to be the order. The 744F has the ability to cool the entire plane or sections to a very low temp. In this case, the lower fwd and aft cargo holds had to be maintained to 4-8C
. Fuel for this leg was 65tonnes, payload was only 105tonnes so our takeoff weight was a light 330 tonnes. Again, TO1 52C would be the thrust setting. We departed one hour early and climbed up to our initial cruise of 350. Flight time was just over 5 hours.
Since there were two F/Os they could take a rest, while I was relegated to the seat. We watched the sun rise as we were over S. Iran and made our approach to DXB
to RWY 12L. Since we were so early, our normal parking area was occupied and we were relegated to the East ramp. Our scheduled arrival was 935am local and we were on the chocks just before 8am. Finally in bed at the hotel by 930am.
Since we didn't depart until Sunday, I didn't want to spend all day in bed, and forced myself to get up at 3pm. Spent about an hour or so doing computer stuff and then called my family on SKYPE.
Finally, Sunday arrives. Pickup is at 1010 for a 1150 am departure. Like clockwork, we're down in the lobby in plenty of time and off we go. We drop our bags off to be checked in, pick up the weather and off to the aircraft. This will be my leg back to SIN
The aircraft had arrived almost an 90 minutes earlier so it was ready to go. I had to sign the flight plan and give a final fuel figure to the ground engineer. The F/O did the walk around and I went up stairs and got the FMS ready to go. We did our departure briefing and off we went. Because of all the construction in DXB
we spent about 25 minutes taxiing to RWY 30R. But we were still almost 30 minutes early. The departure was the Tonvo departure and off we went. After departure, it was a right turn direct Tonvo and we settled down for a 7+20 flight back to SIN
. Our fuel for departure was 85Tonnes, and our payload was only 95 tonnes, so we were fairly light and would spend most of the flight at 370. Our route was the reverse of our initial leg, out over Muscat, the Indian Ocean, across India, the Bay of Bengal and finally along the Malaysian coast to Singapore. The FMC had us arriving to SIN
just about 1 hour early, 2230 instead of 2330.
As is normal at that time of day, there was considerable traffic in the area. We were vectored and slowed and that added about 10 minutes to our time but we were still early. Again, an uneventful landing on 20R and into the cargo ramp. It's nice to be home.
Transport was waiting with our bags and a quick trip to the terminal, through customs and down to check out. Since it was a late arrival, SQ
takes care of my transport home and with the usual efficiency, I was home just before midnight. The end to an enjoyable 9 day trip.
Next trip a quick SIN