9/14. LAX-CMH, Severe Turb/Hurricane Ike

febreeze1236

Lifetime Forecaster
Was on a charter flight, DAL9690, (Boeing 757-200), N684DA, from LAX-CMH. Departed LAX at 8am, smooth ride up until we reached Arkansas. The Captain told us over the PA, that the air tends to be calm behind a Hurricane. At this time, the Hurricane had already passed through Texas and was heading up the Ohio Valley, now a tropical depression but still very strong winds and a low pressure front. Our flight plan was pretty unusual between the city pairs, we stayed pretty much south (Arizona, New Mexico, No. Texas, Arkansas, then headed northeast up the Mississippi River. Our aircraft was equiped with GPS moving map so I was able to flight follow along in the comfort of my own seat. Thumbs up for Delta. It is always nice to know where you are sometimes.

Our descent was moderate chop, becoming more intense as we got lower. Winds as we turned final were being reported 180 at 35 gusting to 46 kts. Direct crosswind, as CMH runways run West and East. As we got below 3000 feet, the ride turned into occassional severe turbulence. The pilot was really fighting it, and we were literally coming in sideways, as I was able to see the runway from my passenger seat, he was crabbing that much, and it was very unstable crabbing as wind gusts would either slam us up or slam us down. We got within 500 feet of 10R, the captain applied full power and we had a missed approach. I just wanted to get on the ground because it was so bumpy and did not want to go around the pattern again. He tried again, we missed again. The Captain was very informative during all this, they advised they are going to go a hold, talk to their dispatch in ATL, and come up with a alternate. Cincinnati had evaucated their tower as their winds were at 70mph. So we ended up diverting to PIT. When we arrived at PIT, their were so many other planes that diverted to PIT as well. We had to sit on the aircraft for a while becuase PIT did not have the capacity to accept all these wide-body aicraft that were being diverted.

We waited at PIT for 5 hours. They did allow us off the plane. Many passengers got off the plane for good and elected to take a rental car home, I dont blame them. I was thinking the same, but I manned up. When we departed PIT, the wind had appraoched, gusting at 38kts. It was Severe takeoff, engine actually blew sparks on the climb. I was so scared and I flown many of times, but this was the worst. Once we got above the cloud layer, it smoothed out.

But my advice, if you do not like moderate chop and above, do not fly during a hurricane depression, or take the next later flight. It was rough, and we were in a 757!
 

tb_neg

Administrator
Staff member
I wonder if there was some sort of compressor stall on climb during that severe chop. I do like the story, just wish you didn't have to go through it first hand to tell it.

That being said, you survived. Are you more or less turbulence tolerant now? How bad was it?

Also, I wonder if they exceeded crosswind limits?
http://www.757.org.uk/limits/lim1.html
 

tfaw

Lifetime Elite
Seems very odd that an approach was even attempted. I have no expertise, but this flight seems like a broken process. Probably better than you did not land in CMH. Congrats to you for "manning up". I would have crapped my pants, thrown away my boxer shorts in the PIT restroom, rented a car, driving while going "commando" back to CMH...
 

tb_neg

Administrator
Staff member
If I were in that situation, I don't know what I would have done. I probably would have said something among the lines of, what's worse. An hour on the plane, or five in the car. In actuality, some car rides can get pretty rough!
 

febreeze1236

Lifetime Forecaster
It is nothing I would like to go through ever again. I actually went to liveatc.net and listened to the archive. Good communication on here. Just listen for "Delta9690" - As you will notice, other aircraft went around too or diverted.

The Captain actually told ATC as you will hear that the ride is uncomfortable for the passengers in the back. Listen that a Sirus actuallly landed in the grass, and the Air Wisconsin went missed because the wings were rocking too much over the numbers, and Delta Boeing 767 went missed from London.

http://www.liveatc.net/listen.php

Enjoy the communications, let me know if the link does not work.
 

febreeze1236

Lifetime Forecaster
I was thinking the same thing, 3 hour car drive or a 20 minute bumpy ride. I wanted to beat my fear, and I did it. I cannot explain how severe the takeoff was...You can feel the aircraft zig-zagging down the runway, as I am sure the captain was fighting too keep on the centerline...
 

ksjhawk

New member
been there done that

been there done that

Oh, this sounds soooo much like Jan 2001 Skywest SLC to Reno landing in a CRJ (wish it was a 757). I was on right side, and swear we banked right enough I though the wing was going to hit first. Pilot pulled up,told us we'd try it again and when we did we did not get near as close as we did the first time. Diverted to Sacramento. I rented a car for the 122 mile, less than 2 hour drive on I-80. Had mist out of Sac-town and by the time I got through 1000 ft. it was sleeting. Drive took about 4 hours through a blizzard over the Sierra Nevada. When I got through Donner's Pass I had the car window open, the radio on and was laughing like some crazy person after having felt like I almosted crashed on my flight and was now experiencing this. I went through 4 solid years of white knuckled flying, stomach pain, not eating, being able to eat on flights, etc. after this. Now I'm doing as well as ever and have done two Asian flights this year with little dispair. It is possible to not let this rule your life. It takes work, a couple of trips to the psychologist and faith (if you don't have faith, better find something else to help you).
 
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