Just one pilot's attempt at taking an interesting picture every trip, often with a story to go with it. Come along for the ride.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Aruba Turn - "Turkey in the sky with dressing"

I managed to trade a 10 hour San Juan 2 day trip over Thanksgiving for a 9 1/2 hour one day trip to Aruba on Thanksgiving. It was certainly worth losing a half hour of pay to gain an extra day off.

Linda wondered if we would be catered with a few pies or turkey meals for the crews like United did (where she was previously a flight attendant). I was pretty sure that wouldn't happen, as I usually work on Thanksgiving and I hadn't remembered anything like that in the past.

Fortunately for us, the flight attendants brought turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and a variety of pies for the flight home! How lucky was that? It was actually really good. Since this flight was more than 8 flight hours in one day, we had an FB (relief pilot) along with us. That meant we had a 1 hour and 10 minute break going down and 1:15 coming back. I snapped a few iPhone picture while enjoying the Turkey dinner.

Ellen, the captain, brought an amazing Pumpkin pie that she also made. Almost as good as being home. Almost. Today was also my mom's birthday. I couldn't help but laugh when we flew over 'her' waypoint. I had to take a picture with the phone and email it to her right away after landing. Notice the "Kathy" intersection:

I've got another one of those San Juan/Newark trips next week and then for December I'll be spending a bit of time in Barbados! 31 hour layovers. How could such a junior guy on the list hold this wonderful trip? Well, it pretty much flies every day during the Christmas break. Santa may have to come to our house a few days early this year.

But the big goal will be to bring my wife on one of the BGI layovers that just happens to be over our anniversary. That would be a huge feat for both of us if we could make it happen. We're watching the loads closely.


Marc said...

Hi Kent
Just started reading your blog a few months ago. Fantastic!!!

I fly the Dash 8 here in Barbados. Hope you have a good time on your layover. Lots to do, and lots of brilliant restaurants.

Neil said...

Great report Kent!

Jamie D said...

Hope you had a good thanksgiving!


chris said...

Hi Kent,

Your comment and photo about the 'mom' intersection brought to mind something that's been puzzling me lately: why do airline routes include so many waypoints when those routes cover long distances in essentially straight lines from start to finish?

I started wondering about this when I learned that the flights I recently took to the South Pacific are typically filed with between six and ten intermediate waypoints (e.g. KLAX FICKY AHNDO BELAN BISOX TOPOM MEVEP BIBUP NCRG). Those waypoints lie more or less along a 4000 mile great circle over the Pacific ocean, which makes me wonder about the purpose of those intermediate waypoints. Why not just file and fly "direct" from departure to arrival? (e.g. KLAX->NCRG) Surely there must be good reasons for all those waypoints, but those reasons elude me. Can you clue me in?


P.S. I'm insanely jealous of your upcoming "mini vacations" to Barbados. :-)

Kent Wien said...

Hi Marc,

I just might have to ask you about some of the restaurants where we stay. I should have enough days there before the anniversary to check it out. Would have loved to have had the chance to fly the Dash 8 at some point. 'See' you around!

Marc said...

Hi Kent

Feel free to ask for any information.


Kent Wien said...

Good question Chris,

There are at least three reasons that I can come up with. Position reports, re-routing and fuel tracking:

The waypoints are needed for the mandatory position reports that are sent to the company and ATC along the way either by voice (HF radio) or by an automatic delivery by the airplane. This satisfies the need to track the airplane in non radar environments. Even domestic flights need to have a level of tracking by dispatch.

Also, these points are used to describe ride conditions and help with rerouting along the way. Instead of saying "go around that weather to the right for the next 200 miles" they might say, "You cleared direct to FLORI then on course for weather."

Finally, we also track our fuel burn using these waypoints. We have a plan that shows how much fuel we should have over each point along the way. If we notice a significant difference, we can hopefully do something about it long before it becomes a problem.

Kent W.

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Exeter, New Hampshire, United States
Grew up in Alaska, went to high school and college in Washington State. Commercial pilot since 1990.

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