We flew from Detroit to Los Angeles and then back to Salt Lake City today. It was a long day and I didn’t do much after I arrived besides a 30 minute gym workout and a quick meal. I fell asleep at 7.30! 😳
We had a nervous flyer come up to the cockpit in Detroit before we left to ask how the flight was going to be. I had a good discussion with him which I think reassured him (that and the gray hair on my head. He must have figured gray hair equals experience…or maybe prudence). At any rate it was an uneventful flight. Just a little bit of turbulence and LAX had a nice day to welcome us.
I can’t say the same thing for LAX gates. We landed 40 minutes early and our gate was occupied. We waited….and waited….and waited…and were finally cleared into the gate only to greet a conga line of three other planes in our alley who were ALSO waiting for gates. In LAX we have to shut down our engines and get towed into the gate because of the danger from jet engine exhaust blowing things over behind us (the alleys are very narrow in LAX).
When we finally got shut down and ready to tow…ding!…our lead flight attendant rings us up.
“There is a guy in the lavatory!”
“He couldn’t wait 5 more minutes?!?”
So we got to block the alley while we waited longer. We finally got the door open an hour after we landed.
Thank you LAX!
All good [summer!] things must come to an end, so we headed back to Michigan from Sao Paulo on New Year’s Eve. [Which, by the way, explains why I was flying the trip anyway. None of the senior guys wanted to fly on New Year’s Eve, the football playoffs were on! And it was New Year’s Eve!]
We took off at 2200 Local, so we got to celebrate the New Year over the Amazon rain forest. Even though it was mostly clear, no fireworks for us. Apparently the tribes that inhabit the Amazon aren’t interested in fireworks.
We flew north out of Brazil–flying out of Brazil is almost 1/3 of the entire trip!–clipped the southwest corner of Suriname. Flying through Guyana, we coasted out over the Caribbean Sea just east of Venezuela.
We hit “The Merge” around about the north coast of South America. “The Merge” is when all of the flights coming down from Canada and the United States pass all of the flights going back north. For about an hour we kept passing southbound flights, flashing our landing lights at each other as we passed at a merge speed of around 1000 mph.
The weather was remarkably clear most of the way, so we had a good view of Puerto Rico as we flew right over the top of it at 34,000 feet. I got the third crew break, so just north of Puerto Rico, I headed back to the crew seat and fell asleep quickly. I slept most of the way until the final push into Detroit, when all three crew members are on the flight deck.
We were greeted in Detroit with light snow. Yep, back to winter…