Loopy


#1

No wonder the passengers were staggering when they deplaned at DCA!
flightaware.com/live/flight/USA2168

I guess this is becoming more and more common along the eastern seaboard.


#2

I guess they haven’t opened up those “EXPRESS LANES” in the northeast corridor yet.


#3

It looks like they were having some weather.


#4

Just an overcast layer of stratus here in DC. Nuthin’ on radar…


#5

Heh heh, that’s all it takes, especially if it’s IFR for spacing.

Add in holiday planes and it’s no wonder holds out the kazoo.

flightaware.com/live/airport/KDCA/wx

Allen


#6

I clicked on that link which showed a flight going to LaGuardia from Reagan.

3SM BR BKN008 OVC015


#7

Holiday Woes Already Beginning…


#8

Something was going on around this time. Here are 3 other flights from the hour before the one I originally posted.

Listed latest first:
Dep DCA 11:25 am: flightaware.com/live/flight/USA2168 (original)
Dep DCA 11:02 am: flightaware.com/live/flight/USA2166
Dep DCA 10:59 am: flightaware.com/live/flight/DAL9678
Dep DCA 10:30 am: DAL 1948 was cancelled

Strange, huh? Really severe weather crossing NYC, or something similar?


#9

No, not severe wx, in fact during that time visibility was down to 2 miles, but it was 1500 overcast and light winds.

That’s just very busy airspace, add all the holiday travel and it gets busier. Add some lower wx and now you have everyone and their mother shooting approaches. Only so many a/c fit into the NYC area at once. Heck there are, what 7 airports within 15 miles of each other all running at capacity these next couple days; KJFK, KLGA, KMMU, KEWR, KTEB, KHPN, KFMG, KSWF. I’m sure more could added to the list.


#10

It’s because of all of those damn corporate jets… :unamused:


#11

Surely you jest! :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: You think the public may catch on???

I figured my measily 90 knot final was the blame.

But then a jet does take up more airspace as it’s waaaay bigger then the airspace I occupy :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:


#12

I guess it was just the weather. According to Newsday:

Bad Weather Delays Flights
BY JOHN VALENTI | john.valenti@newsday.com
11:57 AM EST, November 20, 2007

Arriving flights at LaGuardia Airport are being delayed more than one hour Tuesday due to what the Federal Aviation Administration is calling “weather” and low cloud ceilings.

Flights bound to Newark-Liberty are being delayed an average of 44 minutes, the FAA said. There are minimal delays on flights into Kennedy, Long Island-MacArthur, Teterboro and Westchester County Airport in White Plains.

Certainly LaGuardia, which is notorious for having flights affected even by minor weather changes, is taking the hardest hit on Tuesday. Flights into the airport are being delayed one hour and 18 minutes, while departing flights are also being affected by heavy volume.

Although I grew up just miles from EWR, I’ve lived in Indianapolis for many years. It’s just hard to believe that some low clouds can cause so much disruption. The only time we get to experience this is when we must connect through ORD :angry:. We’re more accustomed to ground stops than to airborne holds or outright cancellations.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and good luck to those who are traveling.


#13

You may want to try and bum a ride with a general aviation pilot at your local airport and you will clearly understand why some low clouds can cause so much disruption :smiley:

Allen


#14

Low clouds and reduced visibility force controllers to increase spacing between arrivals. On clear days controllers can issue what are called visual approach clearances when pilots can call “airport is in sight”. Thus controllers can tighten arrival spacing to 2.5 to 3 miles in trail. During low visibility conditions when instrument approaches are being conducted, controllers by practice and procedure must increase that spacing to at least 5 miles, subsequently reducing the arrival rate to nearly half.

Then factor in carrier specific issues such as; mechanical problems, aircraft and crew scheduling snafus, gate availability, passenger connections, etc, etc…things can get all balled up pretty quick…


#15

I know very well what low clouds are about. I’ve had my instrument rating since 1978. It’s just that we don’t have the overscheduled airlines to deal with around here (for which I’m eternally grateful). Unless you want to fly overnight, when FedEx’s 2nd-largest hub dominates the action, the folks at IND keep the runways clear and open, no matter what the weather.

One of the advantages to being a relatively young airport (although it was important as early as the '20s and '30s) is that lessons were learned from the packed-in airports “back east”. Plenty of land was reserved, and has been continually purchased since then, so that IND is plenty large with room to spare. A new terminal is nearly done, and there’s even talk of a 3rd parallel runway being built on the other side of a 6-lane interstate, to be used exclusively by FedEx. I guess even their primary hub at Memphis is hemmed in now, so much of their future expansion is planned for IND.

It’s just difficult for me to understand why airlines schedule so many flights, so close together, that a simple layer of clouds gums up the works. IFR procedures should be expected, and included in the schedules. (And restrict those ridiculous sardine-can regional jets to service to/from smaller airports. They take up the same space as full-sized jets, but carry a fraction of the passengers. I blame them more than GA traffic.) It’s way overdue for the FAA to step in and force common sense measures, at least at the top-10 busiest airports.


#16

It’s pretty simple actually. Airlines try to schedule their flights at the times when people prefer to travel (with a dash of meeting the schedules of their connecting flights thrown in). The size of plane chosen is designed to maximize load factors on each flight (again with a dash of equipment use in the system thrown in). There are exceptions like redeye flights that generate a lot of revenue carrying overnight freight, etc. Since they were all losing money very recently, the airlines have tended over the past few years to try to schedule their planes to achieve higher load factors than they used to.


#17

Sorry, I don’t buy that propaganda. Commuter jets started as a good idea to provide jet service to some smaller airports. But it has gotten way out of hand. The Roselawn crash of an ATR turboprop in icing near O’Hare led to a stampede to replace all props on all routes with jet service. People were told that a jet would be (1) faster and (2) more comfortable than a prop. Remember what an improvement the 707/DC8 were over DC6/DC7/Constellation? And then the 727/DC9/737? And the amazing 747? And so on with every new jet offering a similar level of comfort.

Well, I’ve never flown in any commuter jet that is comfortable. So that was a lie. Southwest isn’t a favorite of mine, but their commercials about commuter jets is right on!

But what about the speed question? Initially, they were faster when there weren’t so many. But now those 50-seaters and 70-seaters are clogging up the ATC system so much that they have helped slow the system down.

Unfortunately, some airlines have bought so many regional jets that they must use them somewhere, whether the route/time/demand justifies it or not. Would you like to sit in a CRJ-700 for 3+ hours?? If so, then AA has a roundtrip from ORD to Nassau, Bahamas – 3:10 eastbound, 3:30 westbound. Throw in some weather delays, holds, grumpy controllers, etc., and you could be in that tin can for 4 or 5 hours!! (A college buddy in AA middle management told me they are sorry now that they let TWA’s B717’s go. They would be perfect for routes like ORD - NAS. Plus, the airlines are losing $$ on premium passengers, since commuter jets are almost always one class.)

And, all their protestations to the contrary, I don’t believe for one moment that the airlines are concerned about the effect their decisions have on passengers. And ironically it is the fault of many of the passengers themselves. Most are fickle, interested only in the cheapest flight, with little or no loyalty to one airline. No matter how badly they are treated during a trip, and how much they complain about it, most passengers will return to the same airline again if it provides the cheapest ticket for the next trip.

I still enjoy the flying part of flying. I’m always amazed the metal beast becomes airborne, even though I know the physics behind it. I actually look out the window, when it is clean enough to see through. I listen to my scanner at night to hear other pilots. But rarely am I impressed by the service provided by any airline these days. (I haven’t flown JetBlue yet, but I hear they’re not bad.) What kind of service do I wish we could experience again? Nothing really extravagant . . . just some sign that the airline actually cares, like the following example.

Back when TWA was still alive, we used to fly them regularly through STL. Their final flight every night to IND was #100, scheduled to leave STL at 2300, although the scheduled time varied a bit. Rarely did it leave on time. While boarding usually started on time, the MD80 would sit at the gate until the last possible connecting passenger had made it on board. Sometimes it would be 1 or 2 hours late. But rarely did anyone complain because it was understood that some day, it would be you that #100 waited for. I found out from a gate agent that the same policy was followed for the last flight out to other cities as well. Wouldn’t that kind of understanding be nice at every airline. Make the last flight out every day (1) late enough to sweep up everyone who had experienced delays, (2) a plane that is large enough to absorb some last-minute additions, and (3) have it wait as long as possible to be of use to as many passengers as possible.


#18

What you have described above indy is of a bygone era. The airline world now is all about economics, i.e. cheap! Regional aircraft (jets) are less expensive to operate. The legacy airlines contract to the lowest bidder with regional carriers. The smaller RJ’s have lower direct operating cost and regional carrier labor group wages are much lower than their mainline counterparts. Jump in here anytime CAFlier, I have to go and watch my spare ribs on the grill… :wink:


#19

I don’t think so. A regional jet holding in those severe icing conditions without departing them rapidly may well have crashed the same way. The replacement of turboprops with turbines was about making a bigger profit.

There is nothing inherently uncomfortable about a regional jet other than the seating configuration. They are a lot like private jets which many people think are very comfortable.

Unfortunately you have fallen prey to the propaganda that commercial carriers have been putting out in an effort to shift their costs to private planes. The facts are that the slowdown in air travel is about too many planes trying to squeeze into the same runways at the same time, not lack of airspace. In case you missed it, the airspace effectively doubled a couple of years ago with the advent of RVSM, but the delays are worse now than before.

The airlines have not been shy about selling or mothballing unproductive planes and you can go visit them in the desert if you don’t believe it. They keep the RJ’s, and even buy more, because they are making money on them.

In my book, pretty much all flying from supersonic to a biplane at 75 knots is a great time. Heck, I had fun sitting in a buddy’s 182 for 10 hours flying from California to Oshkosh this summer., 3+ hours in an RJ flying at 4 times the speed with pressurization and above the weather is also great.

ok, Indy, you’ve convinced me: the airlines are doing this because their mission is to make passengers as unhappy as possible. Don’t know why I didn’t think of that. Here I thought all along that they were trying to make money for their shareholders by providing a service. According to your logic, investors buying airline stocks are just investing in making more people miserable.


#20

Number one CA - there are people in the aviation industry (corp & comm pilots) that have no passion for flying - not like you or I!!!

As far as the commercial airlines - I don’t think they give a flip about their service cause they know they are going to have lots of folk flying the cheapest fare - they just don’t care that much any longer.

Virgin & some of the other “specialty” commercial (Singapore, etc.) - they do care & cater to those who can pay for their services.

I flew Continental the first of the year round trip to SFO & it was the dirtiest plane that I have ever been on - just like a dirty ol bus - I was shocked but it’s been a while since I had flown commercial - I truly don’t think they care any more - just getting the bucks & they know people will pay to get from point A to B without having to drive. The service really sucked also - I would rather drive than do that again in a crowded dirty plane. And I realize you can’t always drive either - just don’t think the commercial airlines care anymore - it is totally about the all mighty dollar.