Fishtailing On Take Off In Las Vegas


#1

My wife and I got back yesterday from doing a quick turn around trip from Long Beach to Las Vegas, We flew Jet Blue Flight 286 there on Friday 8/8/08, and came back yesterday the 9th on what was designated Flight 285A. (I guess the “A” part had something to do with what should have been another nonstop JFK to Long Beach flight that stopped in Las Vegas, although we never heard why. Some of their passengers got on our plane.) Other than being a bumpy flight pretty much most of the way there, especially as we got closer to KLAS, Flight 286 was nothing too much out of the ordinary. I put it that way because I one reason I habituate this site (mostly lurking) is I am always trying to find out as much as I can about flying because me and flying don’t mesh too well most times.

Anyway, what really prompts this post is our experience on takeoff yesterday out of Las Vegas. We had to wait our turn as several other similar sized aircraft to our Airbus 320 took off in succession, mostly Southwest planes. We were sitting in the next to the last row in the back of the plane. As we gained speed down the runway, we started to shimmy and fishtail. Those of us in the back (don’t know about further up as we couldn’t see them) got tossed from left to right in our seats three to four times as we went on down the runway. Once we lifted off, we stopped getting tossed but the plane still had a rather bumpy ascent, which while normal for KLAS because of the mountains, still moved the plane side to side a little for the next bit of time. Once we cleared the mountains, the plane calmed down somewhat.

So the inevitable question I have is was the fishtailing normal? I’ve never experienced that before. Did we notice it more because we were in the back of the plane? As I said, it wasn’t just a little shimmy but enough to toss us back and forth a few times. Shouldn’t the pilot notice it? Was it because they weren’t properly controlling the back tail (or rudder, sorry for bad terminology)?


#2

Could have been a crosswind. Last time I flew out of LAX, the wind was blowing in a north-south direction. LAX only has east-west runways. The aircraft was trying to go towards the side as we took off.


#3

Could have been a crosswind. Last time I flew out of LAX, the wind was blowing in a north-south direction. LAX only has east-west runways. The aircraft was trying to go towards the side as we took off.

I wonder if the mountains could have an impact, although a crosswind sounds like a likely cause.


#4

The feelings of turbulence and/or crosswinds are exacerbated at the rear of a long fuselaged airliner as it is the furthest from the center of gravity and the center of the vertical axis. The vertical axis is the point about which the aircraft yaws.


#5

Could be all the above, along with a runway that needs some repaving.


#6

Bald tires.


#7

Suprised nobody came up with Wake Turbulance. It could have been that another large aircraft had just taken off or landed.


#8

Come fly with me sometime! 8)


#9

Pitch and Roll I have no problem with. Yaw makes me uneasy. With turbulance, I don’t like it at all. My mind understands the reasons, but the fear creeps in too.


#10

Without knowing any more my guess would also be cross winds.


#11

I would say cross wind for sure. KLAS has had some horrible winds this year. I have flown in and out of there in the Mustang and C650 and have had some winds as high as 40kts across the runway.


#12

Hmmm. Maybe excessively fat people seated in the back rows?


#13

:blush: for you