Friday, September 07, 2012

Logical Deductions 101

This post might have followed this post had I blogged things in the order of the notes I made for you. See, I still make notes for you. I make them right on my OFP, my operational flight plan, an official document of sorts which my company has to keep on file for years, or at least months, I don't feel like remembering which. It (this post) still follows it (the other post). There are just intervening things. That's what life's like.

In that post, which was mostly about canola, we had to backtrack a runway, and make other traffic wait for us, after landing despite what appeared to be a perfectly serviceable crossing runway that led back to the taxiway. The other runway was closed. Now for the exciting conclusion.

The next day on preflight inspection I find grass clippings on my aircraft. (Disclaimer, they could have been canola clippings). This isn't completely bizarre. In the last month I have found things as diverse as mouse intestines, dime-sized purple blobs, and fluffy weed seeds on my airplane. I suspect a messy owl dining atop my vertical stab, birds that had previously eaten purple berries, and fluffy weeds, respectively. The last one really doesn't require much in the way of logical deductions, but it still needed cleaning off.

I start up and I listen to the ATIS, which tells me that that the other runway is closed now and the previously closed one is open. There wasn't anything wrong with the one I landed on yesterday, and if they were painting or sealing or something they'd be smart enough not to mow, wouldn't they? It turns out the runway is closed for mowing. They need to close the whole runway for mowing?  It's a paved runway. They don't have to mow the runway itself. I'll bet I have landed more than a hundred times at airports with only one runway, while mowing was occurring. Sometimes there's an elaborate procedure whereby the controller advises the people with the tractors to remain clear of the runway. Sometimes they just publish a NOTAM or say on the ATIS that mowing is in progress. And sometimes you're on short final and it's like "SURPRISE! TRACTOR!" crossing the clearway. But we're pilots. We deal with these things. But that's not apparently how you do it when you have two runways.

The airport is busy. Lots of landing and departing traffic and there's a Nav Canada Challenger jet flying dozens of passes from different directions. I hear they are planning a new RNAV approach into here. I did the DME/LOC the other day, testing the autopilot, and it was pretty usable. You come over a wide canyon on the way in, so no obstacles letting the designers give you a low enough MDA that I had my hands very right there, should the autopilot decide at any moment that now would be a good time to dive. It didn't.

Also my coworker has brought five separate pairs of footwear. I have one: I fly, go to dinner and work out in the same shoes. So why does his luggage weigh so much less than mine?


Mog said...

Ah, the inexorable Law of Female Luggage!

Paul B said...

Does he have to also carry the green hair dye.... that's heavy stuff, you know!

Sarah said...

Ah, men and their shoe collections. How silly.

Let's see... what could be so heavy in Aviatrix' luggage? Laptop, batteries, cables? Rock^H^H^H^HMineral collection? Maybe books.

Anoynmous said...

Paper is unexpectedly heavy.

Aviatrix said...

Paul: You wound me! You know I'm a natural greenette.

Sarah: The laptop may be the culprit. I'm sort of thinking about buying something smaller to replace it. I'm not carrying any books. Even my company manuals are electronic.

Anonymous said...

Hi Aviatrix. This is off topic. Need advice.
Saw an embraer 190 taking off yyc, dumping a fluid from right wing, like where the third third of the wing would start.
At the beginning I thought it was a Vortex, but...vortex in only one wing??? then, as the plane grew closer, I saw it. I swear to G.. that it was fuel. It wasn't the tip of the wing. You should have seen the reaction of the two guys at Jazz, when they asked me:
JG's:Was it on the wing tips?
me: No, it wasn't a normal fuel dump, nor a vortex.
Jg`s: Was it continuous?
me: No,it was like a water tanker [you know I am a truck driver], with a lid open: Sometimes it poured, sometimes it didn't. Ha! the left their smoking-break sits, and almost ran inside the building.
They called me later saying asking me to call back. No message. I was taking a shower.
I called back. They talked to me with this P.R. B.S. tone, saying that everything was ok, and that they checked the 'water system' on the plane too....LIARS!
It was fuel. I have watched 100's if not thousands of planes taking off of YYC due to my job, and never a plane dumped anything.
Operacions YYC [I first called Calgary Police, they gave me YYC Operations],asked me: Can you get a sample of the fluid??[trying to neutralize me].
I told the guy in the other end:
It vaporizes, like when you drop water, it fall apart. How can i get a sample of that??
OPs: With out a sample we can do nothing.
Gee!! [to self].
Now, you are the real Pilot here, now, can a fuel tanker operator, make a mistake that would lead to fuel leakage??
All the best for you...Aviatrix.

Lanugo said...

Carlos, I'm not aviatrix and I'm not a commercial pilot but I am a pilot. I know I flew a couple of times with fuel leaking out of fuel vents (designed to let air *in* as fuel levels decrease) because somebody (possibly me but I won't incriminate myself over the internet and it was a foreign country anyway) overfilled the tanks or filled them properly but then the fuel expanded as it got warmer (it can happen, especially if it comes from an underground tank and the plane is sitting in the sun).

So yeah, not really nice to the environment, maybe (just maybe) a potential fire hazard but kind-of ordinary (as in, working as designed and expected, nothing broken, etc.).

Aviatrix said...

Carlos, Lanugo's guess is as good as any I could come up with. I don't know anything specific about the Embraer fuel system and I don't have time to do any research right now. Fuel coming out the vents is believable. If we land in the heat of the day and are not going out until the next morning we will ask the fueller to fill the tanks at the end of the shift, so we don't vent fuel all over the ramp. Perhaps the people reacted the way they did because they thought you were one of the chemtrails people, and just didn't want to deal with that.