London Calling: BAW 218 – DEN to LHR
Well, it took me a little while to finally find some time for my next Atlantic-crossing, but yesterday I jumped on board my Triple Seven and flew that bird home from Denver to Heathrow. The very weak Jet-stream at the moment is not only giving the real airlines a difficult time. Average tailwind was 20 kts yesterday, sometimes as low as none at all. On an east-bound Transatlantic flight that is a very rare occasion. This not only increased our fuel burn, but also had an influence on our flight time.
Anyway, nothing a 777 couldn’t handle. Flight was BAW 218. In case you’re wondering about my username on here: No, Speedbird 217 is not the flight to Denver. BA has uneven numbers on their outbound flights and BAW 217 is the flight from Heathrow to Washington Dulles. The flight number to Denver is 219.
Yesterdays flight was originating in my favorite country, arriving in one of my favorite cities, on one of my favorite airlines and on my second favorite aircraft…so yes, it was a lot of fun as you can imagine!
Even though it is hard to find a good T7 for FS9. The one from PSS is relatively old and has a terrible exterior model. Especially the nose section doesn’t look like the real deal at all, the main gear is out of proportion and there are a few other things that catch the eye. If you compare the exterior to the freeware version of POSKY, the POSKY wins by far and looks really stunning. It even has a virtual cockpit, which is essential to me, but sadly the guy that created the VC decided to put stupid sun visors all over the Cockpit that can’t be removed. Also the MCP doesn’t look like the real thing (even after a Merge with the PSS Gauges and flight dynamics) and the flight model is kind of unstable in some situations. So, here comes the big advantage of the PSS: Despite the ugly exterior it has a fantastic virtual cockpit, even after all those years. If you install some replacement textures for the VC you get a great visual experience. Add a nice sound set for the real GE90 feel, the V2-Patch for fixed bugs and improved flight dynamics and Auto-flight and you get the best 777 available right now. I know, PMDG’s is around the corner, but it will only be FSX and is not available yet.
But enough about the 777 now, let’s talk about the flight, shall we?
ETD in Denver was 6:20 pm MDT. ETA in London was scheduled to be 8:51 am GMT. Now we all know that FS has problems with time zones, DST and other stuff. So if we compare the flight time, we took 17 minutes longer than scheduled and arrived at 9:08 am GMT. Pretty good, if you consider the weird winds over the Atlantic right now.
If we take a look at our route you might think: What the heck was this guy doing there? A flight from the heart of America to the UK usually goes over Greenland and way up north. Well, thanks to the almost non-existent tailwinds on east-bound Transatlantics these days, our routing will lead us over the very southern tip of Newfoundland. Also we will fly through US airspace almost the entire time while still in North America, instead of the more common route through Canada on normal days. Take a look at some West Coast flights to Europe lately on Flightaware.com, and you will find that this routing is not unusual at all under the current conditions. Despite the fact that on normal days we would be flying all the way up over Greenland.
In Denver it all starts at Gate A37 of Concourse A. After a short taxi to runway 34R, and waiting for some other departures to clear the runway, we will take off, follow ATC vectors for a second and then follow SID PLAINS4 to our initial way-point. On an eastern track we will pass Chicago some time into the flight, fly south of Toronto and Montreal and head out over the Atlantic Ocean over Torbay, Newfoundland. We’ll be flying on NAT T and reach Ireland south of Shannon. Over Wales we will start our descent into Heathrow, where we will land on 09L in beautiful weather with no winds and CAVOK.
This Frontier Airbus is waiting in line behind us for take off. Also you can see the distinct roof construction of the Jeppesen Terminal building in the background. It’s supposed to resemble the peaks of the Rocky Mountains, and is constructed with Teflon-coated fiberglass.
The journey ends at Terminal 5C. The new T5 is used for almost all International flights operated by BAW. There are still a lot of people complaining about it, I really enjoy connecting in T5 on my flights to the USA.
Thanks for reading about today’s flight. I hope you enjoyed it. I know it was a little more pictures than usual, but there were just so many nice pictures this time.
The upcoming itinerary will take us to Barcelona on BA B767, and from there we will start on a little island hopping in the Canary Islands. After that we’ll return to Amsterdam, from where we will fly on KLM B737-700 to Bergen, Norway. I’m taking this flight in 3 weeks in reality to visit some Norwegian friends, so of course I have to check it out in the sim first…