31 May 2011

Fascinating View of the Japanese Earthquake from Flight Crew Scheduled to Land in Japan

I'm currently still in one piece, writing from my room in the Narita crew hotel.
It's 8am. This is my inaugural trans-pacific trip as a brand new, recently
checked out, international 767 Captain and it has been interesting, to say the
least, so far. I've crossed the Atlantic three times so far so the ocean
crossing procedures were familiar.

By the way, stunning scenery flying over the Aleutian Islands. Everything was
going fine until 100 miles out from Tokyo and in the descent for arrival. The
first indication of any trouble was that Japan air traffic control started
putting everyone into holding patterns. At first we thought it was usual
congestion on arrival. Then we got a company data link message advising about
the earthquake, followed by another stating Narita airport was temporarily
closed for inspection and expected to open shortly (the company is always so

From our perspective things were obviously looking a little different. The
Japanese controller's anxiety level seemed quite high and he said expect
"indefinite" holding time. No one would commit to a time frame on that so I got
my copilot and relief pilot busy looking at divert stations and our fuel
situation, which, after an ocean crossing is typically low.

It wasn't long, maybe ten minutes, before the first pilots started requesting
diversions to other airports. Air Canada, American, United, etc. all reporting
minimal fuel situations. I still had enough fuel for 1.5 to 2.0 hours of
holding. Needless to say, the diverts started complicating the situation.

Japan air traffic control then announced Narita was closed indefinitely due to
damage. Planes immediately started requesting arrivals into Haneada, near Tokyo,
a half dozen JAL and western planes got clearance in that direction but then ATC
announced Haenada had just closed. Uh oh! Now instead of just holding, we all
had to start looking at more distant alternatives like Osaka, or Nagoya.

One bad thing about a large airliner is that you can't just be-pop into any
little airport. We generally need lots of runway. With more planes piling in
from both east and west, all needing a place to land and several now fuel
critical ATC was getting over-whelmed. In the scramble, and without waiting for
my fuel to get critical, I got my flight a clearance to head for Nagoya, fuel
situation still okay. So far so good. A few minutes into heading that way, I was
"ordered" by ATC to reverse course. Nagoya was saturated with traffic and unable
to handle more planes (read- airport full). Ditto for Osaka.

With that statement, my situation went instantly from fuel okay, to fuel minimal
considering we might have to divert a much farther distance. Multiply my
situation by a dozen other aircraft all in the same boat, all making demands
requests and threats to ATC for clearances somewhere. Air Canada and then
someone else went to "emergency" fuel situation. Planes started to heading for
air force bases. The nearest to Tokyo was Yokoda AFB. I threw my hat in the ring
for that initially. The answer - Yokoda closed! no more space.

By now it was a three ring circus in the cockpit, my copilot on the radios, me
flying and making decisions and the relief copilot buried in the air charts
trying to figure out where to go that was within range while data link messages
were flying back and forth between us and company dispatch in Atlanta. I picked
Misawa AFB at the north end of Honshu island. We could get there with minimal
fuel remaining. ATC was happy to get rid of us so we cleared out of the
maelstrom of the Tokyo region. We heard ATC try to send planes toward Sendai, a
small regional airport on the coast which was later the one I think that got
flooded by a tsunami.

Atlanta dispatch then sent us a message asking if we could continue to Chitose
airport on the Island of Hokkaido, north of Honshu. Other Delta planes were
heading that way. More scrambling in the cockpit - check weather, check charts,
check fuel, okay. We could still make it and not be going into a fuel critical
situation ... if we had no other fuel delays. As we approached Misawa we got
clearance to continue to Chitose. Critical decision thought process. Let's see -
trying to help company - plane overflies perfectly good divert airport for one
farther away...wonder how that will look in the safety report, if anything goes

Suddenly ATC comes up and gives us a vector to a fix well short of Chitose and
tells us to standby for holding instructions. Nightmare realized. Situation
rapidly deteriorating. After initially holding near Tokyo, starting a divert to
Nagoya, reversing course back to Tokyo then to re-diverting north toward Misawa,
all that happy fuel reserve that I had was vaporizing fast. My subsequent
conversation, paraphrased of course...., went something like this:

"Sapparo Control - Delta XX requesting immediate clearance direct to Chitose,
minimum fuel, unable hold."

"Negative Ghost-Rider, the Pattern is full" <<< top gun quote <<<

"Sapparo Control - make that - Delta XX declaring emergency, low fuel,
proceeding direct Chitose"

"Roger Delta XX, understood, you are cleared direct to Chitose, contact Chitose

Enough was enough, I had decided to preempt actually running critically low on
fuel while in another indefinite holding pattern, especially after bypassing
Misawa, and played my last ace...declaring an emergency. The problem with that
is now I have a bit of company paperwork to do but what the heck.

As it was - landed Chitose, safe, with at least 30 minutes of fuel remaining
before reaching a "true" fuel emergency situation. That's always a good feeling,
being safe. They taxied us off to some remote parking area where we shut down
and watched a half dozen or more other airplanes come streaming in. In the end,
Delta had two 747s, my 767 and another 767 and a 777 all on the ramp at Chitose.
We saw two American airlines planes, a United and two Air Canada as well. Not to
mention several extra Al Nippon and Japan Air Lines planes.

Post-script - 9 hours later, Japan air lines finally got around to getting a
boarding ladder to the plane where we were able to get off and clear customs. -
that however, is another interesting story.

By the way - while writing this - I have felt four additional tremors that shook
the hotel slightly - all in 45 minute

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26 May 2011

Which Situation is Worse?

THe last one is real but not a shark...some probably photoshopped

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25 May 2011

The End of the World

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Cats & baths

A few thoughts on cat baths...
by The Cat:

[see attached file: image001.jpg]"But You Said You Loved Me !"

[see attached file: image002.jpg]"You will pay, as Godis my witness, you will pay."

[see attached file: image003.jpg]"Holy crap,you call this water warm???"

[see attached file: image004.jpg]"I don't think I like you anymore."

[see attached file: image005.jpg]"You Lied !!!!!!"

[see attached file: image006.jpg]E.T.Phone home.......quick!

[see attached file: image007.jpg]"No, I'm not yourGood Little Kitty anymore."

[see attached file: image008.jpg]"Traction... I'm losing Traction!"

[see attached file: image009.jpg]"I want myMommmmmmyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!"

[see attached file: image010.jpg]"Oh, Nooooooo !!!!"

Even if you're not a 'cat person' these pictures are priceless!!

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23 May 2011

20 May 2011

Ya Gotta Love'em - They're Ours

My favorite at the bottom :-)












~~~~~~ ~~~~

















        Don't cha  
   Just LOVE 'EM!!!!!

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"Interesting" Facts

Interesting facts for those who think they know everything:

  •   If you are right handed, you will tend to chew your food on the right side of your mouth. If you are left-handed, you will tend to chew your food on the left side of your mouth.

  • To make half a kilo of honey, bees must collect nectar from over 2 million individual flowers.

  • Heroin is the brand name of morphine once marketed by 'Bayer'.

  • Tourists visiting Iceland should know that tipping at a restaurant is considered an insult!

  • People in nudist colonies play volleyball more than any other sport.

  • Albert Einstein was offered the presidency of Israel in 1952, but he declined.

  • Astronauts can't belch - there is no gravity to separate liquid from gas in their stomachs.

  •  Ancient Roman, Chinese and German societies often used urine as mouthwash.

  • The Mona Lisa has no eyebrows. In the Renaissance era, it was fashion to shave them off!

  • Because of the speed at which Earth moves around the Sun, it is impossible for a solar eclipse to last more than 7 minutes and 58 seconds.

  • The night of January 20 is "Saint Agnes's Eve", which is regarded as a time when a young woman dreams of her future husband.

  • Google is actually the common name for a number with a million zeroes.

  • It takes glass one million years to decompose, which means it never wears out and can be recycled an infinite amount of times!

  • Gold is the only metal that doesn't rust, even if it's buried in the ground for thousands of years.

  • Your tongue is the only muscle in your body that is attached at only one end.

  • If you stop getting thirsty, you need to drink more water. When a human body is dehydrated, its thirst mechanism shuts off.

  • Each year 2,000,000 smokers either quit smoking or die of tobacco-related diseases.

  •  Zero is the only number that cannot be represented by Roman numerals.

  • Kites were used in the American Civil War to deliver letters and newspapers.

  • The song, Auld Lang Syne, is sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English-speaking country in the world to bring in the new year.

  • Drinking water after eating reduces the acid in your mouth by 61 percent.

  • Peanut oil is used for cooking in submarines because it doesn't smoke unless it's heated above 450   F.

  • The roar that we hear when we place a seashell next to our ear is not the ocean, but rather the sound of blood surging through the veins in the ear.

  • Nine out of every 10 living things live in the ocean.

  • The banana cannot reproduce itself. It can be propagated only by the hand of man.

  • Airports at higher altitudes require a longer airstrip due to lower air density.

  • The University of Alaska spans four time zones.

  • The tooth is the only part of the human body that cannot heal itself.

  • In ancient Greece , tossing an apple to a girl was a traditional proposal of marriage. Catching it meant she accepted.

  • Warner Communications paid $28 million for the copyright to the song Happy Birthday.

  • Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.

  • A comet's tail always points away from the sun.

  • The Swine Flu vaccine in 1976 caused more death and illness than the disease it was intended to prevent.

  • Caffeine increases the power of aspirin and other painkillers, that is why it is found in some medicines.

  • The military salute is a motion that evolved from medieval times, when knights in armor raised their visors to reveal their identity.

  • If you get into the bottom of a well or a tall chimney and look up, you can see stars, even in the middle of the day.

  • When a person dies, hearing is the last sense to go. The first sense lost is sight.

  • In ancient times strangers shook hands to show that they were unarmed.

  • Strawberries are the only fruits whose seeds grow on the outside.

  • Avocados have the highest calories of any fruit at 167 calories per hundred grams.

  • The moon moves about two inches away from the Earth each year.

  • The Earth gets 100 tons heavier every day due to falling space dust.

  • Due to earth's gravity it is impossible for mountains to be higher
than15,000 meters.

  • Mickey Mouse is known as "Topolino" in Italy.

  • Soldiers do not march in step when going across bridges because they could set up a vibration which could be sufficient to knock the bridge down.

  • Everything weighs one percent less at the equator.

  • For every extra kilogram carried on a space flight, 530 kg of excess fuel are needed at lift-off.

  • The letter J does not appear anywhere on the periodic table of the Elements.

And last but not least:

In 2011, July has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays, and 5 Sundays. This apparently happens once every 823 years! This is called 'money bags'. So send this on to 5 and money will arrive in 5 days. Based on Chinese Feng Shui, the one who does not pass this on will have money troubles for the rest of the year.

I do not believe this but I'm not taking any chances. Now you know almost everything.

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17 May 2011

Hotel Internet Connection Speeds

In the last few weeks I have not been in a single hotel that has had a decent internet connection - this latest speedtest
Is par for the course. I think we need a new rating system for hotels that is based on the speed o the internet connection rather than a simple they have internet or not. THis is no better than POTS dial up!

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14 May 2011

20 year old Matrix printer..still in use


Found this ancient impact printer still in use in a modern appliance shop. Still has sound proof box in place since it was so noisy

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