Friday, May 19th, 2006
7:50 am - San Francisco  
Am in San Francisco. Wicked long security line at PVD. I admit to being spoiled. The line there usually takes about five minutes. This time it was a half hour. Since I'd assumed a five minute line, I wound up with no time to grab a coffee at the airport Dunkies before I had to board. Bother.

Then there was some worry at the outset because one of the engine oil gauges on the 737 refused to give a reading until they fired up the engine (according to the pilot). Fortunately, that got straightened out, and we were only a little late getting into the air. Mostly smooth flights, some light chop here and there, but nothing terrorizing. There was the cutest little ~4 year-old girl in the seat in front of me who would occasionally look over the back of her seat and wave at me.

Plane geek that I am, I tuned the in-flight audio to United Channel 9 so I could listen to the ATC chatter. The funniest moments were listening to controlled chaos of the crews negotiating with the O'Hare tower as to which runway they could land on.

Some crew: "We'd like 27R."
Tower: "No."
Tower: "Gimme a few, we'll figure something out.
Tower: "How about 22R?"
Crew: "We'd really prefer one of the 27's."

On approach to SFO:
Tower: "Advise when you have either the airport or the bridges in sight."
Me (thinking back to the scene in Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo where a B-25 flies under the Bay Bridge): ("The bridges?")
Crew: "I have the airport. Hey, I have the bridges, too."
Me (thinking): ("Okay then...")

ATC is also probably the one venue in the US where you will still routinely hear the phrase "Good day" used as a greeting, as in this handoff from one set of controllers to the next.

Salt Lake Center: "United 131, contact Oakland Center on 195.2."
United 131: "Contact Oakland Center on nineteen fifty-two, United 131, good day.
United 131 (after switching frequency): "Oakland Center, United 131 is with you at flight level 360, good day."

The one annoyance to the flight from O'Hare to SFO, from a plane geek point of view, was that I was seated directly over the center of the wing. Normally, this is not too much of a problem for someone who loves the window seat, but the plane I was on, a 777, has a frelling enormous wing, with an extreme dihedral (the vertical angle at which the wings are attached). On a 777, the wingtips are actually higher than the top of the cabin. It was like staring out the window at a wall. I could only see a little to the front, and a little more to the back. Feh.

DebG picked me, along with sophiap and amaliedageek at SFO, and took us on a little tour of San Francisco. Some of it paralleled the tour Nutty and I took two years ago (wound up by the same beach by the Cliff House).

Spent much of the afternoon chatting with folks, then I went back to my room and crashed hard, falling asleep about 8:30. (I'd had trouble staying completely awake on the plane, too. Four hours of sleep will do that to ya.)

Okay, just spent 40 minutes in the hotel fitness center. Shower now.
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location: San Francisco
 
 
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Veejaneveejane on May 19th, 2006 - 03:33 pm
I did not listen to flight crews on my way over. However, while flying at night into approach for OAK, we did overfly a helicopter. I saw it far out, a serious of white and red blinks in the wrong shape for a plane, and thought I was seeing a fog light. And then it came close and passed under us and I could see the blades.

Awesome!
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msbellemsbelle on May 19th, 2006 - 05:27 pm
btw the baseball and the airplanes, you two are cracking me up.

DX, I really should hve you geek out with my Dad sometime about planes. Maybe you could pop over at Thanksgiving and spend a day with us?

Glad you are safely in SF and having a good time with friends.
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casperfleacasperflea on May 19th, 2006 - 04:13 pm
This geekery pleases me deeply.
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