Heading home for the weekend

This weekend was my dad’s birthday, after the passport fiasco I was thankfully on my way home (particularly as the family were travelling all the way down to Lingfield from Scotland/The Peak District).

It was a beautiful clear day today so I decided that I would ask for a jump-seat on the way to Madrid.  This practice has pretty much ceased in commercial aviation for passengers following 9-11; infact I can remember my last jump-seat being in a Fokker 100 on KLM CityHopper to Amsterdam before heading to New York, that was in 2000.  Anyway, I boarded the late-running aircraft and asked in reasonable Spanish if I could talk to the crew and showed my golden ticket (my flying Airside Pass), no problem.  I had two really nice crew members, one had been flying for Iberia for nearly 20years, and the other for 4 years.  The First Officer had lived in the USA as a flying instructor for about 3 years and spoke impeccable English.  Almost every time they did something on board, they took the time to show me what they were doing and why they were doing it, it was almost like having an introduction to flying the Airbus.  The guys were chatting to Air Traffic in Spanish, each other in Spanglish and me in English, together with listening to FTE students talking on the radio in English.  They were even sharp enough to know which way an FTE plane should turn in the circuit from background radio traffic (despite the student asking twice and still getting it wrong).



(Apologies for the aspect ratio, something dickie has happened when i uploaded it to Youtube)

When we landed in Madrid, both Pilots commented on how bad air traffic control was in Spain, in particular at Madrid where they cannot cope with more than 5 aircraft per person (compare this to Heathrow where Ground Controllers have in the region of 15 aircraft each) which causes copious delays to aircraft landing and leaving the airport.  Interestingly, Barajas has 4 runways but only 2 can be used at once due to the poor design of their approach and landing, and right next door is a military airbase whose runway alignment cuts right across the Outer Marker!

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~ by globalste on February 26, 2011.

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