Sunday, April 22, 2007

I'm back in Oakville now, after a 3-hour routine flight. The view was pretty spectacular and the haze wasn't too bad so I'm sure we could easily see a hundred miles in each direction.

That's one of the coolest things about this job - it offers a mindset and a visual perspective completely unlike anything else. We are tiny little bugs in the skies, completely dwarfed by the size of our view. If that makes any sense, and it probably doesn't. I'll explain a little; today was a three-hour flight in completely perfect, smooth flying weather, with zero headwind and nary a ripple in the air, the jet was well-behaved, and overall the flight didn't require a whole lot of effort or worry.

So I pondered the state of things.

The passengers were content and quiet, reading and watching movies, and from time to time our minds were left to wander here and there as the dual hell-fires bolted to our fuselage kept us whooshing effortlessly forward.

I mean, really, isn't that nuts how easy it appears? Our engines operate smoothly at 1,200 degrees farenheit at 30,000 rpm. I find it amazing that we can build machines capable of such stress at such a high precision for so long. We sure pay dearly for it - a single engine for our small jet is hundreds of thousands of dollars, and we have to throw it away after a few thousand hours. But still, the fact that it works at all, let alone is very reliable, is constantly a source of wonder to me.

Lisa is done university soon, and we are going to be living in sin shortly, so I'm very excited about that. We lived together for a few months last summer and it was a hell of a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to doing that full-time. I'm sure she will grow to love watching me play Gears of War on my 360. Right? Anyone? I think I just heard a wolf howl in the distance.

It was an hour to two in when we heard ATC tell an Air Canada 767 to climb above us as it overtook, so as not to run us over (for a jet, the Citation II is pretty slow). The 767 passed off our right side and as it did, we noticed that it was making contrails, which is the fancy term for the condensed exhaust trails that come out of the aircraft engines. I called ATC and asked them to call the Air Canada plane and ask them to tell us if we were leaving contrails. The Air Canada 767 said yup, in fact we were leaving a contrail several miles long, and that they saw our contrails long before they actually saw us. ATC then asked me why I wanted to know, and that in 21 years of air traffic control he hadn't had that request before, so I was forced to say "Because we can't see if we are making contrails, and contrails are cool, so I wanted to know". Then I briefly felt ashamed for being so lame, but I got over it with a diet Red Bull.

I made fun of Kitsch's massive sunburn, which he described alternately as like having cats hanging on his chest, and "I woke up screaming this morning", so that made me laugh because I'm a sadist.

On the descent toward Toronto, we passed across the southeastern portion of Lake Erie, and we saw a whole pile of fragmented ice floes in the harbor around Buffalo. I think it's the last ice we'll see around Toronto for a few months. It was 31 in Florida when we left, but it was 24 here in Toronto when we arrived, so that wasn't exactly painful to return to.

And that was some of the stuff I randomly thought about today in cruise. I hope your day was at least as productive :)

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe liveatc.net archives caught your request to ATC about your contrails.

Be funny if you could post the actual clip (if you find it).

X-av8r said...

If you look down at the ground you can see the shadow of your contrails when conditions are right. Pretty cool, actually.

Anonymous said...

were you in RCC tonite? Not sure if that's your a/c. I was departing YFD in a King Air - thought I recognized the reg'n.

Niss Feiner said...

I wish that my a/c made contrails :(

Anonymous said...

Diet Red Bull. Priceless .

:)