Monday, December 1, 2008

Eugene - Seattle / Boeing 747-400 (QXE280) / IFR

Yup, this is essentially a rehash of my earlier flight. I repeated it because the weather had deteriorated wonderfully, leaving visibility at zero at some locations, and only around 1/4 mile at others. I just had to try flying through that!

So I repeated the QXE280 flight. At cruise altitude I could see lots of stars and the clouds were below me, but during the departure and arrival, I couldn't see anything at all the majority of the time. Many airports, including my destination, were below Cat I minima, and so for the first time I flew a Cat II approach because it was required, rather than just for currency or for practice. By the time I finished my rollout, I could hardly see the turnoffs onto the taxiways. It was tough just getting to a gate, as I couldn't see the gate until I was almost rolling into the jetway. I went slow and made it okay. That was the most dangerous part of the flight, as the rest of the flight was a piece of cake in the mighty 747-400, with all its fancy systems. Visibility or not, you always know where you are in a 747.

I had considered and discarded the idea of flying the route in a Baron again; the Baron cannot make Cat II approaches. Some other small GA aircraft had to divert far away just to find a field with minimums they could handle.

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