Friday, October 18, 2002

Well, I made it home again in one piece after a couple more flights on the Bombardier-made Canadair Regional Jet. (I'm getting a little ahead of myself, I'm making this post on my laptop at 30,000 ft with the hope of being able to post it after landing in Calgary)

Retraced the route I took to Austin -- through Salt Lake City and on to Calgary.

For those of you out there who think there isn't much room on a "regular" jet -- give your local regional/short-haul carrier a try and see what your knees think of the experience.

If you're anywhere near six feet tall, let alone over, you'll want to leave yourself enough time to secure a seat in the emergency row...and pray they don't shoehorn someone in beside you!

The most "exciting" part of the journey (so far ;) was the approach to Salt Lake City. I had a seat in the bulkhead (the "front row") and was close enough to "the action" to hear what was going on in the cockpit.

About half-way through our "final" (I thought for a minute it would be just that!) approach, the jet banked sharply to the right and slowed appreciably. This maneuver stalled the aircraft and set off the "watch out you're going to crash" alarms in the cockpit -- "woop, woop, woop" -- as we dropped like a rock.

I'm happy to report that the pilots quickly remedied the situation, righted the craft and we landed safely.

On this trip I learned that:

  • National Guard personnel out of Camp Mabry in Austin, TX are doing some neat things with technology, especially video and I look forward to working with National Guard staff on SMART Board (TM) interactive whiteboard-based video-conferencing

  • Travellers are well-advised to leave lots of time for clearing security at the Austin airport

  • Sitting at the front of the plane -- especially when there is no first- or business-class involved -- may not be all it's cracked-up to be.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Quick post from Austin, TX.

Arrived a few hours ago via Salt Lake City, UT. Both the flight from Calgary to Salt Lake and the trip from Salt Lake to Austin were on Canadair Regional Jets operated by SkyWest Airlines. The trip from Salt Lake to Austin (DL 3916) was memorable because of our flight attendant.

"Jim" was a high-school teacher for 30+ yrs and has worked as a flight attendant for 15 months, he told us. He provided excellent service to those on our full plane and he received a rousing ovation from all passengers as we taxied toward the gate in Austin.

I'm sure it would have been a standing ovation, had the captain not had the "fasten seat-belt" sign illuminated ;)

Sunday, October 13, 2002

On Friday night I was unable to get the dialup connection to work in my hotel in Detroit.

Ironic given my "16.8 dialup connection, no less!" comment from Sturgis earlier in the day. It wasn't the fastest, but at least it was a connection.

The Airport Marriott had highspeed and such, but I couldn't get my dialup connection to work. Might have tried harder if I was staying more than eight hours. Landed in around 20:00 hrs on Friday night and a 0630 hrs flight on Sat morning -- meant a 0400 hrs wakeup call, so I wasn't as motivated as I might have been.

Things I learned on my trip to Sturgis:

  • Chicago is closer to Sturgis than is Detroit
  • Traffic on the freeways in Michigan, while as heavy as that in southern Ontario, moves at a much faster rate
  • If my experience in Michigan on Friday (a mix of cars and semis in very close proximity at 70+ MPH) is any indication, more incidents like the crash in Wisconsin are inevitable