Last week a friend of mine was to pick up a business colleague, who was flying into Phoenix, while they were having the worst sand storm in years. The guy, who was flying in, said the jet was on final and he was nervous because he couldn't see anything but brown outside the passenger window, which is rare for Phoenix, especially in the day time.
The guy said, all if a sudden the pilot applied power, and the plane did something he'd never felt before, which I couldn't get a clearer description, so I guess he just declared a missed approach. All I know at this point is that they ended up landing in Tucson. When the information is third hand it's difficult to judge what kind of experience the passenger had.
Here's a case in point. I was flying into Chicago OHara one time and we were put into a holding pattern. We were in the pattern for about 30 minutes or so when the pilot announced on the intercom that we were about 35nm out of Chicago and that they had been cleared for approach. As I was sitting there, I'd picked my book back up and proceded to start reading again. In about 10 minutes I heard someone behind me say, "shouldn't we have been there by now?" "I know these things can fly 600 miles an hour." I guess he was demonstrating his vast knowledge of flying.
As far as alternate airports are concerned, when flying FS, are that it depends on what you’re flying and what nearby airport can handle the same aircraft. I doubt if Tucson could handle a heavies like the 747s, but it is fine for the midsized jets such as the 737’s or A350’s, as example. The next criteria would be a distance that would take you away from local conditions, which can vary, depending on the surrounding terrain, type of storms that are common to a particular area, and of course whether they can handle diverted traffic. I’m sure busy airports, such as Chicago’s KORD, have several alternates. If they were to shut down one single alternate couldn’t handle all the traffic that would need to be diverted…….just some common sense things.
There are literally hundreds of airports within a distance that could be used if local conditions shut KORD down. Then, of course, Honolulu would be different. One of several of the nearby Islands would be necessary, and I’m sure they’d need to use several different ones, because Honolulu is also busier than any single airport in the surrounding Islands.
Last edited by NikeHerk67; 07-10-2011 at 10:55 AM.
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