On October 27th we arrived early in the morning at London Heathrow to take the San Diego 'Chargers' back home. It was clear this morning, that we could fly a random routing over the Atlantic, as the NAT's of the day were all down South and of course too far down South be be suitable for our flight. We were filed for a CPT3G departure from RWY 27L at 07:00Z. Ok, it was time to got to the ramp and look for our 'Queen'.
In case you might be interested in the flight plan (long form or short form), the weather report, the STOPS planning, the ATC flight plan, or the route including the STOPS circles simply click on the links.
At 07:03U we got pushed back and soon we taxied the short way to the runway 27L. We had to wait some time before we were cleared for takeoff, but we could get a view on a special livery on a British Airways B757.
At 07:16Z we were cleared for takeoff. At a weight of about 362 tons we had a V1 of 152, Vr 168 and V2 of 181 for a flaps-10 takeoff. The takeoff roll was smooth and so was the climb out as well. We had the opportunity to gather some looks at the landscape around us.
It was a smooth climb out to FL300.
But unfortunately we had some thunderstorms en-route after we had reached FL300 and it was a little bit shaky - a good reason to keep your seatbelts fastened.
Luckily the thunderstorm didn't last that long and once passing PIKIL we would expect a calm flight, although the wind will blow good at us.
Well, getting up a little bit more to the North and over Greenland it started to getting darker again, but we had a good view of Greenland and our passengers enjoyed it.
Shortly thereafter it was time to do some little work in the cockpit and prepare the fuel system to get it ready for the FUEL/TANK Engine configuration. If the center tank was filled it will emptied to 0.9 tons and the rest will be transferred into MAIN 2 tank topping it up by 0.8 tons, giving us an imbalanced fuel state if we switch the FUEL/TANK ENG configuration, so we have to ensure that the fuel gets used from MAIN Tank 2. This can be done by switching off the Override fuel pumps from MAIN Tank 3.
It is also visible that we get 'Insufficient fuel' messages from time to time. This message pops up with the same annunciate sound as the FUEL/TANK Engine configuration message. This is of great importance as you will learn now:
Due to this annunciate sound for the 'Insufficient fuel' message I was ignoring the sound after some time, which was not good! I missed the point, at which I had to make the configuration. Now let think the situation over and try something out: We have to empty the MAIN 1 and 4 tanks more to match the same amount of fuel we have in the 2 and 3 tanks right now, so why don't try this: switch off pumps for tanks 2 and 3. well, what should I say? It worked.
During this we had some very strong crosswinds:
Ok, obviously we are not alone in the air:
Delta 1043 was crossing below us.
The United States have also some good landscape and we could be glad that the weather was fine and we had good visibility.
After some short time we had Lake Meade visible and the Hover Dam could be seen from the port side of the B744.
And Las Vegas was visible on the starboard side.
After about 20 minutes later we came over Salton Sea and were already descending for our approach to San Diego RWY 27.
A few minutes later we turned inbound as we intercepted the Localizer for RWY 27.
And after a messy approach due to almost no visibility from a certain point on we were able to land and stop as we had set the auto brake system to '4'. Gate 20 would be our parking spot and so we taxied there.
We arrived at the gate with many losses: Flying time (+26 minutes), 1 ton lesser fuel than calculated and of course with the loser Team, the 'Chargers', from Sunday evenings game, which lost by 32-37 against the 'Saints'. The only winners might be TCA and TCA Alaska, for which this flight was flown, as it was completely sold out: 339 PAX. We hauled the Team and some fans.
Ok, flight duration was 10:24 and block-to-block duration 10:43 and we spent 119.9 tons of fuel. This again was a great flight for a great aircraft, or as somebody called her: "The Queen of the skies"
Thank you for reading this flight report and I hope you enjoyed it and btw, you can click the images to enlarge them, but I guess you already discovered this :-)