After much debate and hesitation I decided to fly commercially to Washington DC. What’s the Baron for then, you say??? I know, I know… There were several considerations including coordinating among a number of people I was meeting, the need to make it in time for a convention, etc… The most important reason was that I was coming off of five days of call and I could not foresee what kind of night I would have the day before the trip and I did not want to fly sleep deprived, etc… I was worried about the F in “IM SAFE”.
So I am sitting here at the gate in… Richmond VA! The direct “nonstop” flight from Orlando to Reagan National in DC had to divert to Richmond for fuel! It was supposed to be a 1:45 flight. It left 15 minutes early. Weather in DC was rainy and delays were expected. As we approached DC, we were told by the captain that we would have to hold for traffic but that it would be about 10 minutes or less. We were about 10 minutes short of our destination. It was about 10 minutes later when the captain came on the PA system and announced rather sheepishly that we did not have enough fuel to make DC and that we would be landing in Richmond. I cannot imagine how you could get into a fuel shortage situation on such a short flight because you had to hold for 10 minutes or so on a day where you knew the weather was bad at the busy destination airport, i.e. delays would be expected…!
To make matters worse they later tried to blame it on weather, giving the passengers the impression that weather in DC was so bad that they had to divert. In fact the weather in Richmond was worse than DC: I looked it up! As I looked out the side window during what seemed like an endless approach to Richmond, I was very concerned that the field may be below minimums. Low hanging clouds looked like fog and the visibility was poor. Would they have enough fuel if they missed the approach to try again? Even worse, did they have enough fuel to make the alternate if needed? As it turned out Visibility was 1000 feet, ceilings were less than 2000 feet. DCA was reporting much better. I was truly scared. I had never been truly scared on a commercial flight before. I had lost confidence in that crew. I was praying to get on the ground, and that did not come soon enough.
Needless to say, my “non stop” flight was not, I missed my meeting and got very scared. Next time: Baron all the way!
Check out the Flightaware track:
flightaware.com/live/flight/AWE3 … /KMCO/KDCA