Sunday, March 11, 2007

Mayflower, PC-12 What's the diff ?

Boston Logan (KBOS) about to join final for runway 32. It is the smallest, least operationally suitable runway for us but we are the only one out of all the jets inbound and with the crazy winds departures are limited to rwy 33 (the big one in the picture) and jets are landing on 27. Phillip Greenspun made a post about the funny names of the GPS32 approach waypoint names....IE BGDIG etc... Phillip has about 15 blog's it seems from photography to helicopters to computer science so be sure to check out all his resources as he is a man of many talents and also a master of them all as well! Upon reading up on Boston the title for this post is slightly inaccurate. The Pilgrims (Mayflower peeps) settled in the Plymouth Colony south of Boston and the Puritans settled in Boston 10 years after (Wikipedia Source).

Downtown Boston. Home to almost 600,000 people but during the day another 600,000 or so make their way in to go to work, school, or hospital from the suburbs. That is 12,000 people per square mile, or a ton of people in a smallish area. I have never been able to visit downtown Boston yet but I can't wait to be able to explore all the history and culture it has to offer. Basically my job could be compared to shopping from a catalogue. You get to see a picture of a product which in your mind would peak your interest to give you desire to further investigate for a purchase (or explore in this case).

Spinnaker Island (also known as I have a ton of money island). It is in the vicinity of Hull, Massachusetts. It used to be Fort Duvall which was constructed in 1920 for a coastal battery. Amazing homes with a great view of the city and the ocean.

Georges Island (Fort Warren National Historic Landmark)
28 years of hard work gets you a Fort that covers most of 28 acres of island ! Built between 1833-1861 it defended Boston harbour and also was a POW camp during the Civil War. It was named after Dr. Joseph Warren an American Doctor and soldier who died at the Battle of Beacon Hill. He was killed at the very beginning of the battle as he was spotted and recognized by a British Officer. Who says it's bad being an unknown !

This is a close up view of Fort Warren. I wish I had the audio file of the conversation as we turned final and both the co-captain and I saw this little gem. There would have been a few profanities as we both couldn't believe the size of it and how well preserved it looks (from the air at least). It is similar in shape to the Prince of Wales Fort in Churchill, Manitoba. The Prince of Wales Fort was built by the Hudson Bay Company to protect its fur trade operations. In 1782 the French took it over without any shots being fired as there was only 22 men defending it ! Personally if I spent years and years building a fortress I would really hate to lose it without a fight. There is a great computer simulation called Civilization by Sid Meir. You start out with only one settler and either a scout or a warrior. It simulates being an ancient civilization and creating an empire of massive military might, of cultural significance, or an industrial super power. But the first rule is to defend your cities and assets as the game simulates greed well and there is always someone trying to beat you in the race to domination.

After viewing many satellite photo's and even in Google Earth, I noticed runway 32 wasn't created till just recently. According to Wikipedia it has been planned since 1973 but strong opposition had held it off till it was officially opened just back in November of 2006. That would explain why it was so smooth and freshly painted.

Following a Continental 737-500 ? Can't really tell what series it is but not much a difference anyways. This is taxiway Kilo (K). It is the longest taxiway at Boston Logan and always reminds me a of a flight I had with my old roomate and Captain of mine we will call Regicide. He had just been signed off to fly with first officers and I was his first victim :) He had done almost all of his Captain line indoc with our other roomate, we shall call him Bobaganoosh for this story. Bobaganoosh is one of those cantankerous captains who picks which leg to give you based on flight time. If we are trucking into a 60 knot headwind then it's your leg. If the leg is 10 minutes long, it is his :) He also could have been at the time the highest time Bandit driver north of the 55th parallel (not something to brag about :). Anyways since all of his line indoc was with Bobaganoosh he did mostly all the pilot flying duties. So on our second take off together out of Norway House and his first pilot not flying leg, we are airborne in the climb when he turns to me and says how great it is just to sit there, and then states "man it feels like I should be doing something" I turned to him with the utmost respect (in a Doctor Evil voice) and said
"Why don't you make some radio calls then you A-Hole!". We laughed, we cried it became apart of us... So back to the original story of how this relates to taxiway Kilo in Boston.

Well on one of my first flights into Winnipeg with Regicide we had been cleared to land runway 36 and plan to exit at Kilo. No problem if I was using his approach plates to figure out where that was as they were current. I, thinking I was doing so well at only having one cycle of expired plates was trying to look up Kilo on the taxi chart as we are on short final. Not that it would have been the end of the world to land and just hang a right at a big yellow sign that had a K on it but there was a Jetsgo right behind us and could possibly have to go around if we didn't clear in time and we know they don't carry hardly enough gas to make the destination.

So short final Regicide is waiting for me to call out Vref speeds and when he looks over to investigate why I am not doing it all he can see is me flipping feverishly through the charts and cursing "Where the F&*K is KILO!!!!". Well I never did find it on that chart because on the next cycle, runway 07 which was on my chart had been permanently closed and a portion of it (taxiway Kilo) was it's new name. Regicide now flies into Boston everyday and when we ended up chatting about old times he told me he thinks of that story often as he uses Kilo pretty much everyday. So the moral of the story is to use current charts, even for taxiing :)

Since I am on Regicide stories I may as well bring up our night flight of an airplane we both thought was to never fly again. On the EMB-110 Banderainte they have a bad habit of losing their horizontal stabilizers if not inspected and maintained properly. So every 3 or 4 thousand hours they do what is called a tail pull and go over it with a fine tooth comb to make sure all is well and no cracks are present. It was one of our highest time Bandits and when you saw it in the hangar it was being raped of parts to keep the other 3 Bandits going (hence the airline is no longer in existence with that mtc process). I remember seeing it all in pieces and thought....that thing will never fly again, poor thing.

So I had started spending time at our Winnipeg base doing sched flights out of there on the Bandit so I hadn't see the going ons in the hangar at the head office. After a long day of flying with only a few hours of time left in my day we land and are told we are heading back to Winnipeg. But the plane we were flying was out of time so we thought no way we are gonna be going. Then they said, no you are taking the airplane resurrected from the dead instead. My first thought was are they for real ? It had been test flown already and had a signed clean bill of health. But I mean it just had a tail pull and a million other things done and I didn't want to be the first to try it out. Being short for time we had to move all our stuff into it and get a move on. So we sparked her up and took off into the sunset and headed south for Winnipeg.

Everything seemed so far so good and personally this was my favourite Bandit to fly. It trimmed out really nice, had a good attitude indicator and an RMI on the co-pilot's side and had the single seat configuration in the back for easier seat changes. Now Regicide is known to be a shit magnet (although he swears its me and not him) and the first taste of his luck came when we decided to turn on the instrument lights as it got dark. Needless to say the next 15 minutes were of Regicide cursing maintenance, the Chief Pilot (who test flew it "during the day") and God himself. As Regicide flipped the switch about 3 little lights came on his side and about 5 on my side. There is suppose to be 2 per instrument ! So basically we had to arrange them so that we both could see the airspeed, attitude, altimeter and his HSI. What had happened was that during its stint in the hangar when lights burnt out on the other Bandits they took them from this airplane and us not knowing or really able to see it during the day had a darker then normal cockpit. So about an hour into the flight things were going smooth and all was well. We could see the lights of Winnipeg and the weather was sky clear, a real good night for flying. Regicide was back to his usual self and we were almost done for the day.

We are now on vectors for the left hand downwind for runway 36 and Regicide is flying. Two more turns and we will be established on final and safely on the ground into a warm hangar. Now a little background on the chart holders in this Bandit. They are the big mother clipboard type holders that can hold a whole CAP 3 (which covers instrument approach plates for the whole prairies).

Remembering our Kilo incident I figured it would be a good idea to flip my CAP chart to the taxi diagram so I am able to read it when we land. In hind sight I should have pressed the top of the clip down freeing my approach plate but I figured I'll just pull it straight out and change the page. Now think of a bunch of papers held together with a spiral bind being held to the yoke of the airplane by a massive clip. You would think that it would take a little effort to pull it out. As Regicide was looking out the window at the runway below, I gave a heave ho on my chart. This caused the yoke to be pulled back and then a sudden snapping noise caused by the clip hitting the metal back plate followed by the pressure being released and the control column going forward again.

I had never known what the look of immenant death on someones face looked like until that very moment!!! :). Regicide quickly grabbed the control column with both hands in a death grip and with eyes wide as saucers looked at me as if this was the end as he figured our tail had just left us ! After about two seconds, he realized what had really happened and that we were in fact gonna live the cursing and swearing from an hour before resumed :) Oh the great times with Regi !!!!

American Airlines Boeing 777. One of my favourite airplanes to look at and at one point my dream plane to fly. It's the first completely circular aircraft fuselage which gives it enormous room inside. The engines are massive and can produce up to 115,000 lbs of thrust ! To put that into perspective the exhaust produced on the PC12 only creates 120 lbs of thrust (but that obviously doesn't take into account the propeller). I was fortunate to fly on one from Miami to Dallas Fort Worth back in 2001. Pretty short flight for a 777 but it was packed. It's almost like a flying apartment building and to look over at the other side from my side just seemed unreal to be moving at 500 miles an hour.

jetBlue Embraer and Airbus's parked at the gate. This photo was taken just after the big ice storm that brought the jetBlue network down giving them a ton of bad press. Although I have never flown on them I think they are an impressive operation. They had the largest startup capital for any airline ever created. They do what is almost unheard of in aviation, and like Southwest and WestJet make money ! I love their simple paint scheme and think its sharp. Plus they have one of the newest fleets in the airline biz also. When I was at SimCom in Orlando, Florida we stayed at the same hotel as a new hire class of jetBlue employees. Never seen so many party's in a week beside a pool before :) they seemed to be a good group and my compadre Gump can tell stories about Man Face :)

The next post covers a trip from Boston to Berlin. Actually not what you are thinking as the PC12 would struggle to make Iceland from here but of Boston to Berlin (Kitchener as it is now known. Now be sure to check out the view from the right side of the plane at Flyin Canucks Blog.


The Dutchman

1 comment:

david said...

Skip downtown Boston and head for the Back Bay, which is between downtown and Fenway Park. You might especially enjoy Newbury Street (stick to the part away from downtown towards Massachusetts Ave.). Walking towards Fenway in the spring or summer along with thousands of excited fans is also fun.