Monday, August 7, 2017

Towering at 45,000ft and back in Beirut

A stop off in Germany was on the cards this week, a nice little provincial town on the French border.
The efficiencies of Germany never cease to amaze me. Whether its the public transport, the restaurant, the hotel or even the way they do their road works. Tidy, clean, efficient and really polite nice people.
Readying her for departure from Germany
I had an overnight stay there so enjoyed a nice walk around the town and some food, which strangely enough I decided to eat Spanish tapas on the warm summer evening and started to think about the flight the following day to Beirut. We are starting to put online some of the paperless systems now, using iPads for recording information instead of pen and paper to stop having to chop down a small rain forest prior to each and every flight.
Towering cumulous clouds
We were given confirmation over breakfast for our departure time so we filed the flight plan and started to get ready
We took delivery of our new uniforms over the weekend as well, so it was the first time to take it out of the wrapping.
Approach for 03 OLBA
We arrived at the aircraft on the apron in good time and started to get her set up, it was nice to be back with her after 10 days away.
Before long the apu was running, I was sorting out some routing clearances down route over Turkey, the bags arrived and were stowed and passengers arrived so it was time to fire up the Rolls Royce engines get our final departure clearance and taxi for runway 03.
The weather was really clear in Germany and it was a pretty simple departure climbing to 4000 feet and a right turn towards Austria.
476 knots in the cruise
All went really well and we were cleared pretty much straight up to 45,000ft. I was quite surprised when we got into the cruise that there were quite a lot of clouds stretching up as far as us. What are called Towering Cumulous clouds which are the most un friendly kind that can be encountered.
They indicate a lot of vertical movement of air and are often accompanied by thunder storms, hail & turbulence .
Decision made we would try to be avoiding those and with the help of air traffic control we did a bit of weaving between them, but it did provide for some nice photos.
Following a straight line over Hungry, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey and we then started the decent and crossing Cyprus with the mountains Beirut poking their heads above the evening mist covering the Lebanese coast line.
Moon rising over the mountains
Unusually for Beirut the wind was from the north so an approach for runway 03 was in order, so a nice turn over the bay saw the full moon coming out as we dropped the landing gear and flaps for the landing.
As we opened the door it was a barmy 31 degrees and very humid......

Thoughts for the day:

  • Its strange that you can build an affinity with a plane, I really like flying this aircraft and almost feel possessive over her
  • How is it possible the Germans are so efficient ?
  • I'm back in Starbucks for internet, I've been away for nearly 2 weeks and the guy behind the counter remembers my name. That's like German efficiency in Beirut
  • I do hope the Humidity drops soon I'm melting



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