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Posted: 10/26/2004 3:37:31 AM EST
I'm not a regular traveler, but I have flown 20-25 times, to various domestic and international locations...so I am pretty familiar with the normal procedures for boarding an aircraft. I have also flown through some bad weather and experienced very bad turbulence, so I dont panic just because a plane starts bouncing around a bit....I understand that it happens.

On Sunday night I was flying from Newark, NJ to Boston Logan.....flight was supposed to depart at 20:35 but for some reason was being delayed....no drama...yet.

At about 20:45, the crew at the gate announce that general boarding will begin..(not certain rows, not first class, not people with small children that need assistance.....just all general boarding)..and then a mad dash of every passenger made their way toward the gate.

As we are getting on the plane, the flight crew made an announcement that we were up against a delay that would last for 3 hours if we werent off the ground prior to 21:00 (they said it was due to a bad weather front making its way into the flight pattern from the west).

The next few minutes was unreal to me....as soon as all the passengers cleared the gate and were physically on the plane..the crew shut the plane door immediately and asked everyone to take their seat as soon as possible....then, with at least 5-10 people still standing in the aisles and stowing carry on bags in the overhead bins...the damn plane actually started to pull away from the gate! I have never seen anything like this..normally the crew makes sure everyone is buckled in and that everything it closed and secured before the plane ever moves! These guys were obviously in a rush.

So, at around 20:55 (by my watch)....we taxi out to the runway, turn the corner from the taxiway and without even stopping, throttle up and head off.....airborne by 21:00, just like they wanted.

The pilot comes on the intercom and thanks us, saying that we would have been delayed by the weather if we had not been so fast to take our seats and so on.....now the fun begins.

About 10-15 minutes into the flight, the attendants are ready to come through the cabin with the drink cart....just as they begin...the plane starts shaking violently...really bad turbulence...the kind that would normally "ground flights for 3 hours". What really caught me was that the flight attendant near the cabin door seriously appeared panicked. Anytime I experienced bad turblence in the past, no one seemed to care much, and business went on....I had never seen the crew get excited.....this time....the flight attendant immediately grabbed the phone to the cockpit and looked like she was taking direction from the pilot. Then, the attendants all took their seats (as they do during takeoff and landing) and buckled up. Things were not looking good. Pilot came on the overhead speaker and informed us that the drink service was cancelled and that we were hitting some "bumpy air" and he was going to try to fly above it......all the while, we are bouncing around like a cork in the gulfstream during a hurricane..then the plane makes an obvious throttle up and climb at a pretty sharp angle.....and finally things settled down and people relaxed (since by now you could hear a pin drop in the aircraft.....not a word was spoken, everyone went silent and was clutching to their seats)

A few minutes later, we made a decent into the Boston airspace, hit some pretty turbulent air on the way down, but not as bad as we did on the way up....landed without incident...and relieved people got off that damn plane.

Now, lets forget that as a result of this firedrill to get the plane moving, that my bags were lost in Newark for the night....am I over-reacting, or did these assholes risk our lives to avoid a 3 hour delay?

Seems to me that the tower grounded the flights for a reason....and this crew tempted fate by trying to sneak in under the curtain by a few minutes. WTF? What kind of cowboy shit is that, with peoples lives in the balance?

If I didnt see the crew panic during the flight, I would have probably just blown the whole thing off....but if the people that do this everyday get scared.....I think that I am justified in asking just WTF were these people up to?

Thanks for reading through this whole thing....if you have any feedback (especially if you are a pilot, ATC, flight attendant...or other airline employee in the know)....I would really appreciate it.
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 3:43:10 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 3:44:22 AM EST
You shoulda pulled a Ron White.
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 3:54:14 AM EST

Originally Posted By macro:
... Seems to me that the tower grounded the flights for a reason....and this crew tempted fate by trying to sneak in under the curtain by a few minutes. WTF? What kind of cowboy shit is that, with peoples lives in the balance?



... You nailed it there

... I've been flying commercial flights for years, and although I consider them far more safe than my daily commute to work, I've been witness to incidents that would have gotten pilots grounded and ATC "tin pushers" fired

... I trust technology, but it's still operated by people - there's where I begin losing faith
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 3:55:45 AM EST
None of this is that strange. They pushed it a bit with moving the plane while people were still standing but I would not complain--it's better than a 3+ hour delay. Bad turbulence also happens and the worst is not the shaky stuff but the stuff that drops you a thousand feet at a time and everyone not strapped in gets tossed against the ceiling.

GunLvr
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 4:02:25 AM EST
I will agree with GUNLVR, I fly a lot (~ 250K miles a year) and have experienced this sort of thing a few times.

Planes are pretty tough, and pilots are damned good.

One of the worst flights I ever had was returning from Tokyo to San Francisco. 9 hours of turbuence hell as we flirted with a changing gulf stream. The seatbelts sign never came off the entire flight.

Or the time we flew in a blizzard from Philli to Denver. Barf bags a-rama.

Or the Korean Air flight from LAX to Seoul. On the approach, we hit shear turbulence and dropped ~ 1k feet in a few seconds. Thought for sure my ticket was punched then.

Geoff
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 4:03:29 AM EST

Originally Posted By GunLvrPHD:
Bad turbulence also happens and the worst is not the shaky stuff but the stuff that drops you a thousand feet at a time and everyone not strapped in gets tossed against the ceiling.

GunLvr



Let me put it this way...that happened to me coming home from Denver a few years back....and people went flying right out of their seats.....I was hanging in mine from the seatbelt....felt like we simply were falling out of the sky......and that didnt scare me because the flight crew was completely calm about it....like it was an everyday thing.....the other night you could see the look of fear in the flight attendant on the phone with the pilot...that caused more alarm in me than the actual turbulance. I will take a 3 hour delay for safety sake any day of over chancing a 400MPH downward spiral to earth from 35,000 ft elevation
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 4:06:03 AM EST
yea. bad turb has folks hitting the top of the cabin and puke flying about. if noone puked you were not in bad air. i remember flying into Missoula Montana we did a 500' drop as we were lining up for final the pilot went to full power and got us enough air to make the landing. i love it when they start serving drinks and stop 2-4 rows in due to turbulence. some folks look at them like "where’s mine!" "don't i get milk and cookies". i think yea i'm lucky. that's one more thing i don't have to puke up.
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 4:19:22 AM EST

Originally Posted By GunLvrPHD:
None of this is that strange. They pushed it a bit with moving the plane while people were still standing but I would not complain--it's better than a 3+ hour delay. Bad turbulence also happens and the worst is not the shaky stuff but the stuff that drops you a thousand feet at a time and everyone not strapped in gets tossed against the ceiling.

GunLvr



There are several factors that may have influenced them.
Most airlines operate on pre-filed and scheduled IFR flight plans and have to depart by a certain time.
An interruption can cause a nationwide ripple effect for the airline.
Also, most airlines operate above most of the weather, so the probability was that they were trying to hurry and climb above or through the worst of it.
Maybe not the most comforting procedure, but probably safe.
Notice i said probably. Even professional pilots get "getthereitis" that affects their judgment.

Glad you got there safely.
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 4:22:32 AM EST
If you (as two have mentioned here) fly in and out of Denver and Colorado Springs you would laugh at your description of turbulance..... You think that sucks? Try sitting on a bench of a c-130 flying through that kind of shit..... (ouch my azz....) reminded me of Southwest airlines only better service...



I was once on a plane where some old lady got up as soon as the plane landed to use the bathroom... The pilot immediatly stopped the plane ON THE RUNWAY until she finished for "saftey reasons" Though one would think sitting on an active runway would be a bit more "dangerous" than having granny trip and fall in the bathroom.....
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 4:30:13 AM EST
Maybe it was a new flight attendant? Or maybe she was worried about a passenger that was freaking out?
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 4:34:26 AM EST
A couple of thoughts -

1) Taking off without stopping during the taxi is not unsafe and is normal if there isn't anything in front of you and if the taxi is long enough that the appropriate checklists can be completed by the PNF (PNT?) can complete the items before getting to the runway. Unlike pistons, turbines don't require a run-up and mag check or anything like that.

2) It doesn't sound like you experienced anything more than "moderate" turbulance. While uncomfortable, it is in no way unsafe unless you are out of your seat and get bumped into a wall or someone else.

3) You mentioned a climb at a pretty sharp angle - unless you have an attitude indicator, you have no way of making that determination. What you sense/feel is completely irrelevant - in fact, many pilots have died precisely because they trusted those instead of their instruments.

4) The FA was likely informing the flight deck that they couldn't serve the beverages because of the bumps. Your perception that the FA was taking direction from the pilot is correct - the captain is ultimately in charge of what happens on his flight.

I wouldn't worry about turbulence or anything like that - as long as you (and others in the cabin) aren't walking around, you'll be ok. Sounds like an uncomfortable flight, but likely wasn't anything more than that.
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 4:56:37 AM EST

Originally Posted By macro:
Let me put it this way...that happened to me coming home from Denver a few years back....and people went flying right out of their seats.....I was hanging in mine from the seatbelt....felt like we simply were falling out of the sky......and that didnt scare me because the flight crew was completely calm about it....like it was an everyday thing.....the other night you could see the look of fear in the flight attendant on the phone with the pilot...that caused more alarm in me than the actual turbulance. I will take a 3 hour delay for safety sake any day of over chancing a 400MPH downward spiral to earth from 35,000 ft elevation



I once flew from Denver to Aspen on a commuter prop plane in late summer. It was really hot in Denver and fairly cold in Apsen so the temp change caused huge turbulence problems. There was a wedding party on board and the mother of the groom sitting next to me was hyperventilating (she almost needed O2). I had visions of "wedding party crashed in the Rockies" headlines.

GunLvr
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 5:16:41 AM EST
I love turbulance. A couple years ago, the family was flying into Augusta, GA on some high wing prop jobby, I think I remember the "Oh Shit" card saying it was a Short 330, and we experienced some, what I would consider, some pretty heavy crosswinds as we were landing. The one that sticks in my mind, we were a couple hunderd feet up and the nose yawed to starboard. I had a window seat and went from looking at boring swampy shit to looking right down the runway. I said something to the effect of, "Hey look, were flying sideways.". Mom gave me a dirty look and the lady in front of me almost started crying. As we were offloading, I shook the pilots hand and gave him an "Attaboy". He just smiled and said, "1 down, 3 to go."
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 5:31:38 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/26/2004 5:33:29 AM EST by Leisure_Shoot]
I had a really bad take-off a few years ago, coming out of Miami. We were on a 757, and during the initial climb out. When the engines suddenly sounded like they were shutting down. You could hear the pitch of the engines spooling down. The lights and A/C in the cabin shut off. And the plane dropped like a rock. We turned really sharply, as though we were going back to airport. We ended up doing a complete 360 degree turn. It felt like the drop lasted about 20 seconds. The plane was full of people crying and screaming. Up until that point, when I found out what it is like to fall out of the sky, I liked flying. Now I avoid it unless really necessary. I am assuming that we just hit a pocket of low pressure or something, and there was no air for the engines. My wife worked for United, a while ago, and flew very often. Said she'd never experienced anything like that. We both felt like we were about to die. It wasn't fun. My life didn't flash before my eyes. Mainly just froze up. My real problem with the whole situation was that I had no control. I understand flying is safer than driving, but at least I have control of the vehicle in a crash. If I make a poor decision, I will be to blame. I can live or die with that scenario.
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 5:34:45 AM EST
Just be thankful they didnt taze you or shoot your dog.


Oops. Wrong thread. Carry on.
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 5:40:07 AM EST

You could hear the pitch of the engines spooling down.


Like when my wife looked out the side window and asked if I noticed that the propellor on the right engine had stopped turning. I don't really remember her asking at the time (she told me afterwards) - I was busy with "MIXTURE / PROPS / THROTTLES / FLAP / GEAR / FUEL PUMPS / MAGS / IDENTIFY / VERIFY (dead engine/dead foot) / SECURE / DECLARE / DECIDE / DOWN!"

Or something like that .

Link Posted: 10/26/2004 5:41:34 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 5:42:41 AM EST
I'll preface my comment by saying I logged 225,000 air miles flown in 2003 to Asia/Australia and back -

I'd much rather have a good bout of turbulence then a 3 hours delay.
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 5:43:51 AM EST
I have not ever had any turbulence that made me panic.


About the worst I had was landing in Detroit in a company owned prop plane (It was about C47 sized, but not a C47). I was sitting in back, and the curtain between the cockpit and the cabin was open and I could see the runway out the front window...... and then I couldn't..... and then I could..... and then I couldn't...... The plane went through many many oscillations like that and they didn't seem small to me. We landed safely and smoothly, but it seemed like the pilot got a workout getting the thing on the runway.
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 5:44:39 AM EST

Originally Posted By ChiefPilot:
A couple of thoughts -

1) Taking off without stopping during the taxi is not unsafe and is normal if there isn't anything in front of you and if the taxi is long enough that the appropriate checklists can be completed by the PNF (PNT?) can complete the items before getting to the runway. Unlike pistons, turbines don't require a run-up and mag check or anything like that.

2) It doesn't sound like you experienced anything more than "moderate" turbulance. While uncomfortable, it is in no way unsafe unless you are out of your seat and get bumped into a wall or someone else.

3) You mentioned a climb at a pretty sharp angle - unless you have an attitude indicator, you have no way of making that determination. What you sense/feel is completely irrelevant - in fact, many pilots have died precisely because they trusted those instead of their instruments.

4) The FA was likely informing the flight deck that they couldn't serve the beverages because of the bumps. Your perception that the FA was taking direction from the pilot is correct - the captain is ultimately in charge of what happens on his flight.

I wouldn't worry about turbulence or anything like that - as long as you (and others in the cabin) aren't walking around, you'll be ok. Sounds like an uncomfortable flight, but likely wasn't anything more than that.



I'll agree with ChiefPilot. As to people moving around while the aircraft is moving... I've seen it a lot with the crews I work with - basically as soon as we clear the active we start our ground duties which require movement in the cargo area and throughout the aircraft.

Turbulence has a very vague definintion for the different levels of it (light, moderate, severe) and believe it or not, much of it hinges on the ability to continue drink/meal service! Severe turbulence is never fun, moderate can be slightly entertaining, and light is just annoying. I'm lucky to fly on a huge jet that weighs 190 tons empty with no fuel, so we can ride out a lot of turbulence that bothers others. The worst I've ever seen was flying over Canada with a sudden drop of over 1,000 feet, our airspeed rapidly increasing to red line, and our power in idle... it was a little uncomfortable.

Also, pilots are flying your airplane... They will die a couple seconds before you do if there is a crash, so it is in their best interest as well to keep the blue side up...

Spooky
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 7:43:56 AM EST
Dont be a baby - no one has ever died from turbulence. Just imagine you're in a bus and its going over pot holes.
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 7:47:52 AM EST

Originally Posted By Mister44:
Dont be a baby - no one has ever died from turbulence. Just imagine you're in a bus and its going over pot holes.




WRONG. Turbulence has killed people. Pan Am in Tokyo was killed from wind/turbulence around mount Fuji. Airbus Crash in NY after 9/11 was turbulence effected. Passengers get killed in CA turb. when they slam headfirst into the roof of the plane.

However, nothing they did was wrong. They had an opening, and they went for it. Welcome to airlines trying to make money. Delays and cancelled flights fuck up airlines bottom lines. Pilots dont want to die.
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 8:03:22 AM EST
I stand corrected:

From 1981 through December 1997, there were 342 reports of turbulence affecting major air carriers. As a result, three passengers died, 80 suffered serious injuries and 769 received minor injuries.

Fasten the seat belt and hold on for the ride!

As others have said - pilots dont want to die - even if you are rockin around the plane isnt going to fall out of the sky for it.
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 8:10:27 AM EST
I haven't flown that much, but at least half of the flights I've been on, they don't stop on the runway before taking off. They just roll on, straighten out, and open up the throttles.
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 8:12:52 AM EST
It is common for the ground crew, tower and pilots to jockey around as required to make flights happen.

Pilots constantly call the ATC looking for smooth air, they will jump up and down between 31,000 and 39,000 to find a smooth ride even on what appears to be a calm day. Other pilots are constantly calling in their "ride reports" to help other pilots behind them. In addition, pilots deviate around weather as neccessary with ATC permission & cordination.

The FAR rules are really clear regarding safety violations & such. It may have been hasty but if regs were violated, the S will HTF. Hell the FAR's for private pilots require you turn turn yourself in if you make an error even if no one saw you.

Link Posted: 10/26/2004 8:17:16 AM EST
Damned if they did, damned if they didn't.

It really didn't sound that bad to me.
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 8:24:00 AM EST
Actually, it depends upon where the turbulence is. I was on a flight from Iowa to SF with a stop in Denver. We were racing to stay ahead of a monster storm (big news article that year, lots of damage and flooding) and during the last 10 seconds or so before touchdown a gust picks up the right wing. I'm on the left side behind the wing watching as it almost kisses the tarmac. We're talking inches here. Anyway, the pilot dumps the plane into a hard right downturn and thumps hard on the right landing gear. We bounce and hit the left side hard and finally bounce a few more times before rolling to a stop. As I'm departing the plane I catch the pilot, look him straight in the eyes and say "Almost, huh." He looks at me, thinks about a response for a few seconds and then just nods.

CW
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 8:24:56 AM EST

Originally Posted By Gander:
I will agree with GUNLVR, I fly a lot (~ 250K miles a year) and have experienced this sort of thing a few times.

Planes are pretty tough, and pilots are damned good.

One of the worst flights I ever had was returning from Tokyo to San Francisco. 9 hours of turbuence hell as we flirted with a changing gulf stream. The seatbelts sign never came off the entire flight.

Or the time we flew in a blizzard from Philli to Denver. Barf bags a-rama.

Or the Korean Air flight from LAX to Seoul. On the approach, we hit shear turbulence and dropped ~ 1k feet in a few seconds. Thought for sure my ticket was punched then.

Geoff



Dude, 250K per year is a serious amount of flying! You must be mega-executive-kahuna-platinum elite!!!!!!

I thought I hit it big when I reached a million life time miles!

I guess the tran-pac and south american routes add up, though. One year I flew twice to Hong Kong, and once to brazil, and had quite a few miles as a result.

Link Posted: 10/26/2004 8:25:26 AM EST
Sounds like the pilot just saved you 3 hours of sitting in a terminal.
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 8:38:42 AM EST

Originally Posted By kindstranger:
You shoulda pulled a Ron White.



Drunk in PUB-LIK!!!!

Link Posted: 10/26/2004 9:02:18 AM EST
You haven't really had fun until you actually SEE lightning strike the right wing of the aircraft you're in. That'll make the old pucker factor go straight to 10. Luckily, I know a little bit about electricity, but I was quite annoyed at the crying and screaking women on the flight. The guy next to me was not amused when I looked at him and said "This is gonna be fun - and at least we're not jumping out of the back in this kind of weather!" Some people have no sense of humor.

Oh yeah, and whoever it was that brought a fucking parrot on the plane.

I'm serious. A fucking parrot. And the damn thing wasn't asleep, because I could hear it sqwaking the whole time. Ugh.

I've clocked 100k miles this year. I fucking hate my job.

Doc
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 9:05:02 AM EST
You haven't lived until you've seen your VSI go between + and - 3000 FPM and your altimeter just bounce around like a cat high on crack.
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 9:23:20 AM EST
I was flying into Richmond a few years ago. We had the wheels down and a few seconds from landing. All of a sudden we went wheels up and we were climbing hard. Pilot came on later and told us we were landing on a runway that someone else was using to take off

I wish that had been one of those flights where you could listen to airtraffic through your headsets.
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 9:28:24 AM EST
You didn't see some funny looking green gremlin on the wing tearing the wires out of the engine did you?
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 10:07:08 AM EST

You haven't lived until you've seen your VSI go between + and - 3000 FPM and your altimeter just bounce around like a cat high on crack.



...and having your passengers ask if they were going to die while ATC "helps" you out with a timely "altitude at your discretion" .
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 10:13:08 AM EST

Originally Posted By DoctorNo:
You haven't really had fun until you actually SEE lightning strike the right wing of the aircraft you're in. That'll make the old pucker factor go straight to 10. Luckily, I know a little bit about electricity, but I was quite annoyed at the crying and screaking women on the flight. The guy next to me was not amused when I looked at him and said "This is gonna be fun - and at least we're not jumping out of the back in this kind of weather!" Some people have no sense of humor.



That's when you're supposed to say, "why is it that everytime I fly the plane crashes?"
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 10:20:59 AM EST

Originally Posted By VoodooChile:
I was flying into Richmond a few years ago. We had the wheels down and a few seconds from landing. All of a sudden we went wheels up and we were climbing hard. Pilot came on later and told us we were landing on a runway that someone else was using to take off

I wish that had been one of those flights where you could listen to airtraffic through your headsets.

Yeah, tell me about it. I was in a 767 landing at San Jose, Ca in pretty ugly weather and we almost pancaked a Cessna that was trying to land on the same runway. Didn't know that 767's could rival U-2s for max takeoff AOA...

CW
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 10:21:44 AM EST

Originally Posted By Mister44:


Fasten the seat belt and hold on for the ride!





This is why I never take mine off. I'd prefer something better than a lap belt too.



My worst one was Atlanta to Montgomery. One the way into Atlanta we orbited Atlanta for almost an hour due to a Thunderstorm, and they were considering sending us to an alternate airport. Then we changed planes for Montgomery. Well, we SAT on the runway for two hours, they shut down the engines, because of tornadoes in the area (I went to sleep).

Then we took off for Montgomery, and flew at least near that storm. I have never seen the wing of an MD-80 flex so much in my life, and since I'm a plane guy, knew how old the aircraft probably was.

I decided that since I was in back there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it, so I went to sleep.
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 12:20:27 PM EST

Originally Posted By DoctorNo:
I've clocked 100k miles this year. I fucking hate my job.

Doc



But it pays for some nice toys.

I used to be OK with turbulence until a Southwest flight from Dallas to San Antonio that gave me a bruise on my shoulder from being pounded into the side of the plane repeatedly. I thought that would be the big one. The girls across the aisle screaming their heads off were merely an annoyance. What initially gave me concern was when the first big bump hit and the flight attendant dropped his tray and hugged a seat. I'm fine when things are smooth, but now the bumpies cause my knuckles to whiten.

I also got to listen to the flight deck through the in-seat headphones on a flight from La Guardia to Denver to San Antonio once. Had my GPS in-hand and the weather sucked. I listened all night & watched the GPS as the flight crew worked their asses off trying to make the flight comfortable for the passengers. I hated that flight, but I thanked the Captain & FO for their unrelenting effort to make it better.

My ex-boss (a private pilot) told me he had been inverted in a DC-10 twice in the same flight, 300 feet AGL. The were following a 747 into Denver and got flipped 95 degrees by one vortex, then 105 degrees the other way from the other vortex. They got wings level seconds before touchdown. He kissed his wife goodby when the stick shaker kicked on.

Also, a coworker experienced a sudden engine-out in a 757 in the early 90's. Sounded very similar to macro's story. Flying East from Denver in smooth air, he noticed his drink was levitating. Looking around, he noticed people on the ceiling and a lot of blood. Both engines were suddenly out and the plane was dead quiet, as he recalled. Eventually, the crew got the nose down and they windmilled the engines back to life and landed in Memphis, IIRC. One guy was paralyzed and his neck broken when he went into the overhead bins. Something in the neighborhood of 14 otheres were hospitalized. He had some significant whiplash that he didn't know about until an EMT pointed out the swelling in his neck. USA Today reported the next morning that it was a freak void in the air pressure, like flying into a vacuum and that the odds of that happening were something like 1 aircraft every 20 years. He hopped on another plane and went home the next morning.
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 12:23:46 PM EST
sounds like fun to me, beats cedar point
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 12:27:52 PM EST
Sounds like a typical EgyptAir flight to me. What's the big deal?
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 12:58:49 PM EST

Originally Posted By BlammO:
My ex-boss (a private pilot) told me he had been inverted in a DC-10 twice in the same flight, 300 feet AGL. The were following a 747 into Denver and got flipped 95 degrees by one vortex, then 105 degrees the other way from the other vortex. They got wings level seconds before touchdown. He kissed his wife goodby when the stick shaker kicked on.



Did you say inverted? As in.....inverted? 300 feet AGL? In a DC-10? With 150+ feet wingspan?
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 12:59:34 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/26/2004 1:00:37 PM EST by Robbie]
I'm an airline retiree...well, ok..early retirement after a decade. I worked on the ground, doing a variety of things at the airport, from working with passengers, flight crews, or dispatchers.


At about 20:45, the crew at the gate announce that general boarding will begin..(not certain rows, not first class, not people with small children that need assistance.....just all general boarding)..and then a mad dash of every passenger made their way toward the gate.


While this CAN work, this is generally a screw up if you want to save time. I've boarded somewhere around 3/4 of a million people and doing the fancy section-at-a-time thing...basically filling up the back of the aircraft and working your way forward (without being rude about it) is MUCH faster.

Though...

<cool story time>

..one charter I worked during Gulf War I, we were ferrying soldiers to an airbase to catch their transport. The Lt showed up first in a car where the aircraft was parked on the tarmac and said the busses would arrive shortly. He said if I had the baggage handlers move their baggage belts out of the way, they'd load their own gear then we could proceed as planned to board the 727-200 through the rear airstairs. I got the baggage guys out of the way and prepped the flight crew. The busses arrived and the Lt blew a whistle. 120 Rangers doubletimed it out of the busses, loaded their bags as they ran to the aft stairs in full gear (a couple of Rangers in each cargo pit sorted the bags as they went according to my load plan) and in TWO MINUTES FLAT I had a full plane. I was very amazed. I realllllly wish I had a camera with me after I finalized with the crew and left down the rear stairs...I looked over my shoulder and I could see 120 muzzles of M16's sticking up as each Ranger had to hold their rifle for the flight.

</cst>


As we are getting on the plane, the flight crew made an announcement that we were up against a delay that would last for 3 hours if we werent off the ground prior to 21:00 (they said it was due to a bad weather front making its way into the flight pattern from the west).


Crews can be in a hurry for a number of reasons, some of them company related, aircraft scheduling, crew scheduling, etc. Sometimes the motivation may not be so much company related...hot date, etc...hehe. And of course weather fun. Weather is measured in many ways. Airline travel follows several criteria such as if visibility due to fog falls below a certain distance, then the flight won't take off, etc. There's lots of criteria. In the visibility example, suppose the visibility was steadily dropping to near the cutoff point. It was understood a few minutes early that at 9:00pm, an announcement would be made and declare the visibility as not good enough for takeoffs. Now suppose the cut off is 700 feet visibility. The difference between 692 feet and 704 feet isn't a big deal, but this is a government operation and there has to be a number somewhere. Also, a safety margin is generally "built into the system." This is true for many criteria of air travel...load balancing, etc.


The next few minutes was unreal to me....as soon as all the passengers cleared the gate and were physically on the plane..the crew shut the plane door immediately and asked everyone to take their seat as soon as possible....then, with at least 5-10 people still standing in the aisles and stowing carry on bags in the overhead bins...the damn plane actually started to pull away from the gate! I have never seen anything like this..normally the crew makes sure everyone is buckled in and that everything it closed and secured before the plane ever moves! These guys were obviously in a rush.


Basically due to liability (I'm not sure if there's a regulation on it or not), airlines are pretty strict about seating everyone before moving the aircraft. Though slowly moving an aircraft is not a big deal and people should be able to walk around fine in the cabin...after all, the flight attendants do it. But...(there's always a but), the general public is not as used to walking in a moving aircrat and may be prone to fall (litigation). Plus, the brakes on the aircraft are very good. Your car has a single disc brake on each wheel with a single set of pads. An MD-80 has 9 discs on each wheel set and there's 11 pads circling each disc. If the pilot nails the brake, a passenger can easily be launched off their feet. But overall...yeah, that's an exception..and quite weird in today's environment.


So, at around 20:55 (by my watch)....we taxi out to the runway, turn the corner from the taxiway and without even stopping, throttle up and head off.....airborne by 21:00, just like they wanted.


That's fine. Usually aircraft traffic is too busy for that, but if there's clearance, it's no big deal. I've been on many flights like that..flying to/from the middle of nowhere and you see it more often. Though pilots generally try to avoid cornering-like-a-racecar-sideloads on the tires.


...the plane starts shaking violently...really bad turbulence...

...Then, the attendants all took their seats (as they do during takeoff and landing) and buckled up.



Panicked-looking flight crew is based upon many things, crew experience, crew having a poker face (some are really good at this), and your perception. But the crew sitting down is the key. If they are instructed to sit, then it's some pretty strong turbulence. But the wings are still flying. In fact, the wings are always flying, the key is that the wings are flying as desired by the pilot. Only he will know the fine points and passengers won't know unless the aircraft does something like a 100 foot drop or something. But even in heavy turbulence, these aircraft do incredibly well. Even so, pilots are indoctrinated in the womb..er..early on regarding flight planning and weather.

Link Posted: 10/26/2004 1:13:43 PM EST
So, did they charge you any extra for the adrenaline rush, or was it complimentary?




Link Posted: 10/26/2004 1:27:23 PM EST

Originally Posted By Ramjet:
You didn't see some funny looking green gremlin on the wing tearing the wires out of the engine did you?



Oh man - that did it for me! LOL

That seqment still gives me creeps.
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 1:29:45 PM EST
So maybe the pilot was an ex-fighter jock rather than a cargo
plane pilot.

I remember baack in the 80's--right after the plane landed and was on the way
to the gate everyone would get up and get their baggage
from the overhead bins while the plane was still taxiing.
The FAA eventually put a stop to that. Fun-haters.
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 1:33:38 PM EST

My ex-boss (a private pilot) told me he had been inverted in a DC-10 twice in the same flight, 300 feet AGL.


I've seen this movie - did the pilot give the other pilot the bird?

Link Posted: 10/26/2004 1:36:02 PM EST

Originally Posted By ChiefPilot:

You haven't lived until you've seen your VSI go between + and - 3000 FPM and your altimeter just bounce around like a cat high on crack.



...and having your passengers ask if they were going to die while ATC "helps" you out with a timely "altitude at your discretion" .




Been there, done that. I hate flying over the mountains of Socal. Mother Nature tried to kill me there.
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 1:37:55 PM EST
I've flown all over the world, and have been in everything from light chop to a real "E-Ticket" ride coming into Anchorage in November 1997...never been scared...the planes are stronger than people think...except, possibly, one particular model of Airbus...
Link Posted: 10/26/2004 1:39:49 PM EST
Turbulance in a Turbo Prop Plane is a fun ride. Though the other 8 passengers didn't like it too much I enjoyed myself. Funniest part was when the pilot turns around and yells to us... "IT'S GOING TO GET BUMPY!" I still LMAO evertime I think about it.
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