Ok, it's been a while since I last wrote something, no excuses from my side but I just haven't got round to it. As I write this I've just passed the 200hrs on type mark since my first day five months ago. I was hoping it would be double but it isn't. The positive news is that January was really busy for me and from coming May onwards everyone here is gonna be really busy as wel as we expand our fleet with the 2 RJ85's and our network with the extra flights to Nice, Warsaw, Barcelona and Amsterdam. The thing is, not flying that much isn't the same as being home more often. A good example is my current scheduele. 8 days on with only one day off and a total of and 14 sectors. Sums it up nicely I think. I've got quite a change in roster in March as I'm doing multiple Madrid trips but also a couple of charters from Birmingham during the weekends which is a nice change compared to my day to day flying! I just got back from my schedueled leave so we're all reacharged and ready to go...!
You'll propably all have seen the Youtube video with the Swiss RJ100 bumpy landing into London City. Scary isn't it?! Comforting to know what the RJ is capable to handle in a way. The day that clip was shot I was doing two sectors into LCY as well with one of them relsulting in a go-around. Windshear reported, crosswind right on our limits, a good mix for a nice day out! The other weeks were all fine with a very windy day (Severy Gales) here and there up in Scotland. Just like today. One sector from LCY to Edinburgh. The weather picture didn't leave any doubt, we needed some extra fuel onboard because the weather was really crap! But we had a almost full flight so we were very close (300 kilo's) to our (performance regulated) maximum takeoff weight out of LCY. Due to a very precise performance calculation we managed to take a couple hundred kilo's of fuel in case we needed it in Edinburgh for whatever reason. Safety first! We took of, on time, with maximum power and bumped our way in some high level clouds all the way towards Edinburgh. No drink service as that just wouldn't be smart under these conditions. Passengers were surprisingly understanding, maybe because we kept them well informed of the developing situation up in Scotland. Who knows, maybe just beacause it's a friday and everyone is looking forward to the weekend. Coming closer to EDI we kept a really close eye on the weather in EDI, GLA, Newcastle and Aberdeen weather just in case we needed to divert there. The weather channels from those airports were reporting severe turbulence and windshear on approach and finals. Our weather radar picture was all red from the heavy downpoor and turbulence during the descent. Full airbrake and throttle at flight idle was sometimes needed to stop the aircraft from accelerating in level flight! I can tell you, it was really bumpy all the way up to touchdown. Unfortunately the weather was out of F/O limits (company SOP) which meant that the captain had to land it. Glasgow was initially reporting 280 at 35kts gusting 60kts with heavy rain showers! WOW! Air Traffic Control literally asked inbound aircraft if they wanted to continue with their approach. EDI was reporting 250 at 30kts gusting 44kts. So not too bad compared to GLA. But, that front managed to move from GLA to the EDI within notime and we found ourselfs in heavy rain showers and turbulence. Full anti/de ice on and continuous ignition on as well. The landing intself was really nicely done by the captain and as the passengers got of the airplane he got lot's of "well done" and "thank you very much" comments as he stood in the doorway saying goodbey. I managed to snap a picture on apporach to give you an idea of what it looked like. What a interesting and fun day out!
My first proper CATIIIB autoland is in my logbook as well. We set off to Zurich and knew the weather was on the limits but by the time we were down there was no way around a proper autoland. Runway visibility had dropped to around 175 meters with a low cloud base as well. The thing is, just above that thin layer of early morning fog it was clear blue skyes with a great view of the Alps. (pictures) Taxiing in under these conditions is strange as well. You know where you are but it's still really easy to loose your situational awareness. Wingtips and aircraft under tow popping up out of nowhere is quite strange. As we taxied in we had some considerable ice forming on the fanblades that had to be cleared with hot air which I've never seen before.
During the approach. Alps in the distance with Zurich in the valley covered in fog.
Singapore B777-312/ER in the fog.
Fanblade ice accretion! (during taxi in)
That's how you remove that, just blow some hot air onto it.
This is a comparison between two approaches. First one is a (auto) approach into Edinburgh on a really nice day. And the second one is the same approach two days later during the storm described above! Looks nice but was not so pleasent in and below the lower cloud layer.
I'll try to see if I can make some other interesting pictures with my new camera (Panasonic FX100) that I got for my birthday. It's got a great wide angle lens that so far in the testing has some amazing results! So, all further pictures are gonna be taken with this new smart camera.
Here another two examples. First a London City overview and the second one is the Brands Hatch racing circuit South East of London.
Again lot's of new photo's on my flickr page. More than shown on this page.