I was flying into the midwest a couple days ago, catching a connecting Beech1900 out of Denver. There was a large number of cancelled flights, including the first two flights into my destination. We got on the last flight in, but after landing, I can’t imagine the weather was much worse earlier in the day. In fact, I asked the very young co-pilot on the way into the plane what our destination looked like, and he said “it looks like crap, but we’ll get in.”
My question is multi part:
Who/what decides when to cancel a flight? How much weight does the pilot carry there?
Also, how stable do you need to be on final? I know our plane was getting tossed around pretty well all the way down. In fact, about 1 or 2 seconds before touchdown (just above the runway), we jerked to the right pretty good.
Now I know those planes can handle a lot… it just seemed odd that everything was cancelled and we forced our way into blizzard conditions.
I honestly don’t know… is all that pretty standard, or does it seem a little shady? Thanks!
Usually the go/no-go decision comes from the dispatchers, although the pilot does get final say. What usually happens during weather events, is that the commuter/regional flights get canceled first, to reduce delays at the hub airport (in your case, Denver). During a snow event, the airports capacity is reduced, so the airlines choose to cancel the small aircraft in order to reduce delays for the larger ones. As for bouncing around on approach, the small commuter aircraft are more susceptable to turbulence because of their smaller size/weight.
And for the final part of my answer, blizzard conditions don’t necessarily mean it is dangerous to fly. Aircraft can fly through snow very well. The biggest concerns are whether or not the visibility is reduced, how well the ground crew can clear the snow, and whether the weather conditions are causing aircraft icing. Freezing rain is the one type of weather no aircraft wants to go into.
If he’s on a Beech 1900 out of DEN then the flight is on Great Lakes. All their flights are on small props.
Cancellations on a particular flight can be called by the Dispatcher (who is essentially a pilot who sits at the headquarters and monitors several flights).
They can also be called by the company’s operations desk. This may be done due to a mechanical issue resulting in a shortage of aircraft or anticipated weather events or because of a shortage of crews due to excess duty hour usage (usually due to weather). When they pre-cancel the flight because of weather they call the pilots and tell them not to go to the airport, therefore not burning their duty hours for the week/month.
Thanks for the informative answers guys.
I assumed it was safe enough, but with the winds high, the visibility low, the very young pilot, and all the other flights in the area cancelled, it got me a little nervous. I suppose the dark added to my anxiety just cause I couldn’t see
As a side note, I really do like those B1900’s quite a bit.
I did get to talk to the pilot afterward and he mentioned that the winds were at 27 and gusting to 32 on final. Not straight on, but not completely cross either. And for those concerned, I definitely did compliment him on the landing (it was quite good considering the conditions)… although I really thought that last bump at the end was going to put one of our wheels in the snow/grass
Anyway, thanks again for all the info on flight cancellations and how that is done. I figured it wasn’t just up to the pilot alone, but the knowledge makes me feel a little better.
Do you need your head examined?
Not the first time that would have been suggested
I think I like the basics of it? Who really knows haha
Just flew back the other way on the 1900 (smooth as can be today)…
Let me rephrase my earlier comment. I like the simplicity of the beechcraft… I also really dislike it. I had to go to the bathroom pretty much the whole flight! No love there!
I don’t understand what prevented you from going.
It could be that the airline doesn’t really like wet seats. There’s no loo on most 1900’s.
Geez, this trip brought about so many questions… I have two more now.
I may start another thread for these, but since we’re talking about B1900’s here…
When we landed in Denver, and taxied back to our parking spot, the flaps were never put up. The engines were off, we exited the plane, and the flaps were still down. Is this common on the 1900’s?
This could be because the landing and takeoff configurations for the aircraft are likely very similar.