Sunday, April 29, 2007

Pittsburgh, Toronto and Errrog

This is the continuation of the last post, here we are about to touchdown on Runway 28L. This runway is HUGE and just to our left as we touch down is the Air National Guard and a bunch of KC-135 air to air re fuelers. We touched down about 3/4 of the way down the runway and did not have to use breaks or reverse to slow down, just a little beta (turns the propeller into pretty much a flat spinning disk creating minimal thrust). Beta is god's gift to turbo prop drivers and it helps slow you down after landing and also while taxiing you just through it into beta before you get moving to fast and it will slow you down gradually allowing you to save the brakes.

The "beautiful" downtown core of Toronto which is apparently being bombarded with pollution and noise from Porter...give me a break.

You can't see it in this frame but a Porter Dash 8-400 is climbing out of the Island just to the east of downtown also headed to Ottawa. I am in a Airbus 321 climbing out of Pearson also going to Ottawa. Upon shut down at the gate in Ottawa I was still sitting in my seat when Porter pulled into the gate beside us. Pretty amazing but on the shorter legs such as a Toronto Ottawa the speed difference between an Airbus and a Dash 8 is minimal. Who cares if you can cruise at 430 knots when you only have 200 miles to go :) The Q400 cruises at 350 or so and because turbo props are easily slowed they can haul ass till they get in close to the airport (speed limit of 250 knots below 10,000 and within 10 miles of a controlled airport 200 knots).

Ahhh summer is here...almost :) It is 21 degrees out (it was snowing 4 days before) and this is part of a front that is moving in. The cold front didn't cut through till the afternoon and when it did it rained horizontally and the visibility dropped to almost less then a mile.

This cloud has a slight mammatus cloud look to it. Mammatus clouds take their name from Mammary due to the fact someone thought these clouds look like breasts. Even if it does have a breast like image I don't want to be touching it while flying, they usually are associated with instability so in order to keep the flight as smooth as possibly I drop down early to get under it. Of course we pass under it and there is not one bump, but about 5 minutes on the other side we get hit from outta nowhere with some good jolts. Probably mother nature slapping us around for starring at her breasts I reckon ;)

Again this photo made possible because of ERROG controller in Montreal. Most controllers keep you on the arrival STAR (standard terminal arrival route-IE highway in the sky) to keep things organized and if workload is high he already knows where and what you will be doing.

So as soon as we get handed over to Montreal Terminal we know it's Rog just from his first sentence, we both look at each other and are like right on this guy gets shit done. So first things first he puts us on a vector. Instead of wasting our time flying south east towards the beginning of the STAR he heads us straight for the mid downwind. Because there will be departing traffic climbing up under us he keeps us a bit high. As we started down to 6000 feet this AC jungle jet flew under us at 5000 and he was so close it was hard for a photo opportunity because he has hauling in the other direction. We zoomed out on the TCAS which shows us other aircraft and their altitudes and it also draws our approach procedure. There was nobody on the left side for 24L so we were probably gonna get a tight visual because of the lack of traffic. Rog set us up right on a perfect base and when we switched over to the next controller boom cleared visual 24L. People that do a great job no matter what it is impress me, efficiency is so wicked!

Then you get the guys who will send you all around the STAR or not give you direct because they are too lazy to work it out with the next sector. The good guys will check for you and then tell you why they can't do it. You get to know their voices and most of the time just the tone of the controllers voice tells you that this guy is having a rough day so just get through his airspace and move on.

There is a super upbeat Toronto controller that works 124.92 and when you get switched over from Montreal at around Trenton area he takes you into Toronto's airspace. He is always upbeat, passes along extra info, lets you know whats going on for sequencing and all sorts of good stuff. You always take the good with the bad I guess.

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