Quite literally, haulin' the mail. This set is broken into three sections - here is section 1...
At the FedEx "Super Hub" and headquarters, Memphis International (TN). Loaded up and ready for pushback. It's 2:30 a.m. local time, and the daily "airlift" of the world's largest fleet of aircraft has just begun. This morning's flight will take us from Memphis (KMEM) to Toronto-Pearson Int'l (CYYZ) with a full load on the MD-11. I'm easy to spot - I'm the only one with the green lettering.
Oh, sure! It looks busy to you, but for us "cargo dogs", this is another day on the line...
There we are, at the hold-short point. I didn't get a good picture of it, but had to laugh - we were all held up for a lone UPS arrival. I bet he felt out of place! Oh, well... my co-pilot confirmed the pre-takeoff checklist is complete, so we're just waiting our turn.
"V-1....Rotate....V-2". Picture perfect!
Turning quickly North, they just cleared the 727 for takeoff and the other DC-10 to climb up and wait. Turn and burn, baby!
We have the three turbines giving us their best during our climbout, screaming for the stars at over 2,500 fpm. Man, this thing can climb!
That's us, clipping nicely along at FL350. We dialed in .84 on the speedo, and with a bit of a tailwind, we're making about 540kts over the ground. Nice and smooth in the cold air as we streak north-northeast towards Toronto.
She's a beauty, aint she? Big and ugly on the ground, and as beautiful as an ice-princess in the air, right at home where she belongs.
Here we are in our initial descent, making a few slow turns on our way down. The weather was "iffy" for Toronto, which was reporting and forecasting a thick cloud layer with a low ceiling and snow flurries, although only light winds. Up ahead, we see nothing but a thick cloud layer over the Toronto area. We might be in for a bit of a ride.... "Keep the dirty side down" I keep telling myself....
hold on to your hat.... part II coming in the reply!