Trip report – SWA flight 1418 MCO-HOU

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DrDivo: Last night. inbound AC from Manchester. Sits on the ramp at MCO for nearly 45 minutes. Flight crew is late on a different inbound. Everyone’s seated, every seat full.
DrDivo: Pilots arriving board aircraft.
DrDivo: 20 minutes pass.
DrDivo: Pilot in command walks back to the exit row (where I had plopped down) and asks two people to move so that he can inspect the top of the wing.
DrDivo: For ice
DrDivo: Derision follows, generally.
DrDivo: I look out of window.
DrDivo: Yep. Ice crystals and frost atop the wing and leading edge slat.
DrDivo: Pilot goes back to the front and de-planes with co-pilot.
DrDivo: More derision.
DrDivo: “It’s 70 degrees out there, there can’t be ice!”
DrDivo: Ten minutes pass.
DrDivo: Pilot speaks over PA – aircraft has been in the midwest and Northwest all day, and the fuel in the wings is cold soaked.
DrDivo: When the a/c arrives in humid Orlando and sits, the cold soaked fuel in the wing tanks starts to form frost and ice crystals on the wing surfaces, which is unacceptable.
DrDivo: Solutions – pump in warm fuel from MCO or de-ice.
DrDivo: The pilot wants to de-ice, and there is actually a de-icing truck and someone who is rated to operate it on duty.
DrDivo: So he says it will be about 15 more minutes.
DrDivo: Derision mounts.
buhzilly: haha
buhzilly: right
buhzilly: 15min
DrDivo: I (me) because I’m such a know it all, start explaining to the people around me WHY the ice forms, why it’s unacceptable, why it’s a very good thing that the pilot is so cautious, point out that the frost on the leading edge slat surfaces is EXPANDING, etc.
DrDivo: “the ice crystals disturb the smooth flow of the air over the top of the airfoil, and the air ceases to move across the wing faster on the top side, and then the lift degrades.”
DrDivo: Then, you get “flaming lawn dart” which I would prefer to avoid, thank you.
DrDivo: Much hilarity.
DrDivo: Derision dies down.
DrDivo: A few people still call for rolling out, as this couldn’t possibly be a problem.
DrDivo: I asked those within sight who made such remarks to recall those thoughts when they are screaming like children as the aircraft slips in the air.
DrDivo: They shut up.
DrDivo: De icing rig shows up.
DrDivo: Conversation about de-icing operations in large airport ensues.
DrDivo: I persuade everyone that IAH does the best job of de-icing of all the major airports in the Sunbelt.
DrDivo: De icing rig hasn’t been used since 1987.
DrDivo: They have to figure out how to make it “go”
DrDivo: 30 minutes after the pilot’s announcement, they spray the tops of the wings with Pepto-Bismol.
DrDivo: We push back.
DrDivo: First for take off.
buhzilly: hahahaha
DrDivo: Captain does NOT cowboy hot-dog the turn onto the active.
DrDivo: Turns, stops. Checks everything out. Fires up the leading edge slat wing lamps.
DrDivo: Firm on brake, and spin up 55,000 lbs of thrust.
DrDivo: Release brake.
buhzilly: yea!
buhzilly: a la SNA
DrDivo: Keep nose low and let the wings do the take off, rather than rotating with the tail.
DrDivo: Loooooooooooooooooong take off run.
DrDivo: Up we go!
buhzilly: hehehe
buhzilly: how LAE were ya?
DrDivo: 860 miles of gravel road across the Gulf. Seat belt sign illuminated the entire way.
DrDivo: Ground speed over the Gulf – below 400 mph.
DrDivo: We must have had a hell of a headwind.
DrDivo: Flight time – 2 hours 35 minutes.
DrDivo: Flight time going – 1 hour 45 minutes.
DrDivo: We arrive at 2220.
DrDivo: Sked was 2015.
buhzilly: ahhhhhhhh
buhzilly: at least ya arrived
DrDivo: And, I felt we were very very well treated.
DrDivo: Yeah 🙂
DrDivo: Funny that Guy immediately picked up on that I wasn’t flying UA
DrDivo: because I had in flight wifi
buhzilly: 😉
DrDivo: Which was AWESOME.
DrDivo: Streamed Netflix the whole way back.
DrDivo: But we were on that airplane for four hours.
buhzilly: hehehe
DrDivo: Overall it was a hoot.
DrDivo: Totally different passengers than UA
DrDivo: crazy different
buhzilly: i bet
DrDivo: Had fun watching about a dozen folks trying to pre-board, one by pretending she needed a wheel chair.
buhzilly: lol
DrDivo: AND one woman who was in the “C” boarding group, but walked to the front of the line and asked to pre-board because she had two children between eight and twelve.
DrDivo: Uh .. no. Back of the line, please.