Sunday, February 28, 2010

Well, here I am in North Carolina. While not completely aerobatic related, some comments on the trip over.

I left Sydney at 1525 on a United 747-400 and flew direct to LAX. 13hrs, FL310-FL350. Then switched to an A321 for the LAX-Charlotte leg of 4.5 hours. In the process I crossed an ocean and a continent. The last time I came this way was by C-130E Hercules in 1990. Terry Barker was the Captain and I was a young co-pilot, and the trip was a little different!

The E-model Herc cruised at a stately 280KTAS between the high teens to mid twenties, its 3700shp Allison T56-A7 engines sipping 4000lb of fuel per hour. With 62920lb of fuel, we could go a fair way. But like all aircraft, with an empty weight of near 80,000lb and a peacetime gross of 155,000lb, when loaded with fuel the payload was limited. I flew with fuel fuel and negligible payload just once, Richmond to Cocos Island, 14.something hours (we had a headwind). It's another story, but we were flogging into headwinds down at FL140 when a Gulfstream IV called up going the other way at FL450 with a huge tailwind. Ouch.

Back to the trip East though. First leg was Richmond to Pago pago, American Samoa 7.8hrs. Stay overnight. Then Pago to Hickam Field (aka Honolulu International Airport) 8.4hrs. Rest day in Hawaiii (as you do!). Then Hickam-Travis (just NE of San Francisco) 8.2hrs. Rest day. Then from Hickam across the US to Nova Scotia in Canada (CYZX - the name escapes me, Grrenwood? A P-3/Aurora had a disaster there once). Trip time 8.0hrs. I remember the approach there because it was my leg, we arrived at night and the weather was atrocious. Unfamiliar field, instrument approach, and hills about had my full attention. Rest day, load up, and return. Total flight time 24hrs, compared to 17.5 by Jumbo. Not bad I guess, but I must say doing it by Herc was more of an adventure and a tad more leisurely!

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