I took this pic yesterday morning just before heading toward the airport, just to provide positive proof that there is a 3:44 of the am. The glamorous life of a pilot. Yeah the pic is blurry, but at 3:44am I'm fairly blurry too so it's an accurate image.
Once airborne, I make sure my energy level remains high.
A million square miles of earth below us, we soak up the sunshine as we head toward home.
We are in cruise when we hear "Air Transat 923 TCAS descending"
That means that a box in the Air Transat plane has told it that it has detected another plane on a collision course and the Air Transat plane needs to take evasive action, usually in the form of an immediate climb or descent. The Air Transat plane's magic box told it to descend, and when you use TCAS (the magic box), you are trained to follow its orders over the orders of air traffic control, so if the controller says to climb and your magic box says to descend, then you descend.
And when your TCAS tells you to climb or descend, you do it whether or not the lunch carts are in the aisles and whether or not any passengers are taking sharp, heavy things out of the overhead bins. A TCAS collision resolution isn't as violent a manoeuvre as a loop or a roll, but I bet it wouldn't be very fun to be a passenger sitting in the back.
The controller came back immediately. "Air Transat confirm level at FL 330 (33,000')"
"We read back FL 390" said the Air Transat pilot
"Okay, Air Transat 923, immediately descend and maintain FL 330"
And that was that. The controller had wanted the Air Transat plane to level off at 33,000', but they mistakenly thought they were good to climb up to 39,000', which put them in conflict with other traffic. Fortunately, the TCAS (traffic collision avoidance system) magic box intervened and helped prevent a possible mid-air collision.
Now here's an interesting part - not very many airplanes have to have TCAS installed on board, and it's generally only larger jets that have the technology. If the Air Transat plane had been a smaller, older jet instead, odds are they wouldn't have had the TCAS magic box on board.
Anyway, here's a quick video of our return flight yesterday, goofing around. The camera's resolution sucks, so you can't see any GPS details like I had hoped.
We are indicating 188 knots at FL 370, which means you can see us in our Mach 0.60 glory.