Saturday, January 21, 2006

A Unique Flight!

Okay, I know it's been a while since I posted anything. Let's face it, my life just isn't that exciting anymore! I wake up, go to work, (which has its ups and downs....get it, ups and downs) and then I come home. Well, mabye not quite like that but this past week I did fly one of the most interesting airplanes in our companies fleet.

Most of our airplanes are all pretty much the same. Some have better seats than others (pilot seats that is), some have more passenger seats than others, some have automated announcements and others don't. For the most part though, they are all the same. However, we got an airplane the other day that takes the cake on being the most unique.

After a long overnight in Boston, we arrived at the airport in the morning at 0530! Pretty early considering my body clock was still on central time which meant it felt like 0430. Either way, we arrived at the gate to find no passengers and no gate agent. Our flight had been canceled, at least for the passengers. We were told that we were needed to fly a broken airplane back to Memphis. When I asked what was wrong with it, I was surprised to hear the dispatcher tell me, "The windshield is cracked." "What!" I thought to myself, "I don't want to fly an airplane with a cracked windshield." However, after a couple talks with maintaince, they assured me that it was only the center pane that was cracked and that the inner and outer panes were just fine. So this meant that 2 of the 3 panes were okay for flight.

What it also meant is that as an extra precaution we flew the airplane unpressurized at 10,000 feet (far below our normal cruising altitude of about 33,000 feet) and at a slow speed, as to not put any undue stress on the windshield. That meant instead of a three hour flight, we were about to spend the next FIVE HOURS AND FIFTEEN MINUTES in this airplane!! It was going to be a long morning.

We took off and without any problems made it to Memphis where our fine mechanics were going to fix the windshield. The flight was operated safely and under the direction of our maintaince crew and dispatcher it ended up not being a big deal, but when you look at the picture of the windshield, you can see why I was a little concerned about flying this wounded airplane.