Monday, August 30, 2010

Into the Storm

It's not easy to come across low visibility take-offs and landings in the Summer if you only fly with real-time weather mostly in the northern hemisphere. There might not be dense fogs but at least you can have thunderstorms giving you the thrill of flying through cells and severe turbulence.

To say I felt like E K Gann flying through the storms during take-off and landing certainly wouldn't be exaggerated. If you've read Gann's Fate is the Hunter, you should have loved the way he describes those tense moments trying to navigate through ice and low visibility in his DC-3.

I chose this route totally randomly and much to my pleasure both airports proved to affected by storms and heavy rain.

Flight map

DHL flight 2183 was from Hahn Frankfurt to Warsaw Poland. On my last flight I had flown out of the beautiful freeware EPWA and here I've flown into it.

Hahn is the secondary airport in Frankfurt and is a main cargo hub. Incidentally it's also one of Ryanair's hubs. During my 1 hour or so preflight at least 10 Ryanair NGs arrived from and departed to all over Europe.

Weather at Hahn was winds 292 at 11 with a ceiling of 600 feet broken in heavy rain. The temperature was a chilly 12C. Runway 21 was in use this Sunday evening. My departure was Rudus 4s.

Heavy rain in Hahn

I took my time on the preflight to let the weather ease off a little but after 50 minutes there was no improvement and the forecasts weren't very optimistic either. I didn't want to wait any longer and went on with the start up. Besides, the DHL dispatcher was getting impatient anyway!

Falling in behind 2 Ryanair NGs

I fell in behind 2 FR NGs completely indifferent to the storm. Note the weather radar in the shot above.

AI action

I was hoping for a gap in my departure route but no joy. Heavy cells and strong returns were everywhere. The enroute and arrival weather seemed to be stormy as well. I was hoping that conditions would improve at Warsaw on the way.

More Ryanair traffic

The incoming Ryanair crew reported severe turbulence and speed losses at 500 feet so I made a mental note to keep my initial climb speed slightly high to avoid any nasty surprises.

Rolling on runway 21

My GW was a hair over 200K lbs but considering the conditions I used full take-off thrust.

"Into the Storm"

The climbout was extremely turbulent and the 757 bounced all over the place upto 20000 feet with the autothrottle having a very hard time maintaining the computed speed. Still, I have to say that PSS has done a good job here as the climb was quite steady despite the speed fluctuations.

Out of the storm

The flight was calmer above FL200 and although the ride was smooth, the winds aloft were constantly changing direction and speed resulting once again in the A/T playing cat and mouse with the speeds.

I flew over a very crowded EDDF airspace with runways 25L/R in use. Plenty of LH callsigns working their way through the arrivals and departures.

Keep an eye on those "charlie bravos"

The approach was bumpy too and I had to deviate a couple of times to fly around CBs thus ruining the carefully entered LDZ 2N arrival. PSS SID/STARS aren't that great so I usuall enter the SID/STAR waypoints and constraints manually.

Approaching Okecie Airport

Arrival weather wasn't very different from EDFH minus the strong winds. EPWA metar was reporting winds 197/2 and a ceiling of 4300 broken with 16 miles visibility. Not to dramatic.

Established on the ILS 11

The EPWA scenery looks awesome at night as well.

What a sight

During my approach I heard aircraft, a Shamrock callsign to be more precise, lining up on runway 15 so I guess my multiple runway afcad file works like it should.

Ramp overview at EPWA by MK Studios

The next flight will likely be around Spain, possibly a holiday flight with the 737NG.

Thank you for viewing


  1. LOVE the EverGreen 742F on the ramp! And the weather!

    Love those CB's all over the route. And of course that series of shots on your approach.

    Makes me wish I had got off my ass and did a leg during that weather.

  2. I got extremely lucky with the weather. The route was a random pick. The climb was very rough though.

    I wonder if Evergreen is still flying...?

  3. Yes EverGreen is still in operation. With 742F's to boot!

  4. I am also blown away by the returns on the ND! How far ahead of it's time was PSS huh?

  5. Nothing but magenta retuns all the time... I shouldn't have been flying!

    Yeah, the PSS 757 is an FS legend, if I may say so... Too bad they went out of business.

    I love the Wx radar on this aircraft, it adds to the immersion remarquably.