Sunday, November 1, 2015

In Between the Clouds

 
Its been a while since I've flown. Three years in fact. This time the journey was from Chicago (ORD) to Cedar Rapids (CID) on the last leg of a journey from Nashville (cats.) The pilot reported it would be a race between weather moving in to CID and his ability to land safely.
 
 
Wheels were down on final approach about a quarter mile from the runway when the captain pulled up and went around. A wall of water hit the plane with lightning all around. After a 10 minute arc around the airport the pilot said he would come in from the opposite direction. A few looks outside and it was easy to see what was happening. Developing rain systems were popping up along with the wind and light show. We did make it down just as the one of the waves hit. Our plane taxied near the ramp and shut down. For the next 90 minutes we sat on the tarmac as storm waves came through. Apparently there are actual FAA regulations about ramp crews servicing planes when lightning is around. Think about it - metal planes and jet fuel - not really safe if you are working the ramp and baggage collection in those conditions.