Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Konnichiwa (Greetings) from the Pacific Rim


Before departing Beijing for Seattle, John, Sherry, Stephanie and I visited the Great Wall of China. (Pictured above.)Located about an hour and a half outside the city, we hired a driver who spent the day with us. The rest of the day was spent exploring the Forbidden City, the Pearl Market and Tienanmen Square.

B-767-300ER at Narita

John, pictured above in the header shot, and I arrived in Narita early this morning from Saipan and leave in just a couple of hours for Beijing in a 767-300ER. It's the first trip to Beijing for both of us and we hopefully plan to contract a private tour to see the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. After a 36 hour layover, we'll depart Beijing at 0855 on 13 June, span Russian Airspace and 4,800 miles and 10:45 later land in Seattle.

Posted from the Guam Hilton
Northern Mariana Islands
Philippine Sea

N13 29.0 E144 47.8
Clear skies, light winds, 90F/32C
Just another beautiful day here!

View from my room at the Guam Hilton

We'd departed Guam at 0630 into a brilliant, sun drenched summer sky, punctuated by small, low lying clouds. Our bright silver pathway ahead illuminates our course, but we'll rely rather on our dispatchers carefully constructed flight-plan, via airways B586, A1 and G597. Captain Musik and his contemporaries would have marveled at our Flight Management System and its accuracy I suspect, as we pass 18,000 feet and set our altimeters to 29.92 inches. I marvel at it too, but am inwardly envious of his experience in Flying Boats flying with the "Chosen Instrument."

"Delta, turn left on course, direct to TOESS, climb maintain flight level 350," we heard from Agana Tower as we completed the After Takeoff Checklist. The gear, flaps and APU are secured, packs operating, anti-ice off and we'll signal our Flight Attendants when climbing through 10,000 feet. It's been a while now, but I'm still not completely accustomed to my new call-sign. Old habits die hard but change is driven by economics. I understand this.

The Pacific sky is smooth and clear this morning as we pass just southwest of Anderson AFB and start our three hour, fourteen minute flight towards Tokyo and Narita International Airport. The cockpit is cool and quiet, our passengers are mostly sleeping as our gracefully beautiful B-757 carries us towards central Japan.


3:14, 1,389 nautical miles, TO weight 200,810 pounds, Landing weight 177,315, Fuel Load 35,300 pounds, ZFW 166,070 pounds. Destination Alternate HND Haneda and OKO Yokota.

We're approaching VASKO, (N25E142) still 218 miles south on B586 and will cross it at 2229.5Z. Notice RJAW to the left of our course. Unfortunately, when we flew abeam RJAW, Mt Suribachi on Iwo Jima was obscured in cloud. I find it interesting that we're flying past Iwo Jima on 6 June. Today is the 66th anniversary of Operation Overlord, known more widely as the D Day landing on Normandy.

Over VASKO, north of the Oakland Oceanic FIR, John prepares his Oceanic, HF position report with Tokyo Radio on primary frequency 6739. Remember, the lower the sun the lower the frequency.

Our crew after arriving in Narita.

Holding short of 16R, the "A" runway at Narita.

We've experienced a lot of new "firsts" since our merger. In a few days I'll visit Beijing for the first time (where I hope to visit the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and Tienanmen Square) and then fly non-stop from Beijing to SEA over the North Pacific in a B-767-300ER. I'm accustomed to flying from HNL to the west coast but this flight will be more than double that distance consuming nearly 11 flight hours.

More on this later!


  1. Hello Rand...
    Nice to read from your adventures... :)
    I particularly liked your photo of the Pacific... such images seem full of peace and beauty to me.
    One of my colleagues in Mexicana went to PEK last year... and my sister some years ago and told me wondeful thing of the city. Hope you enjoy... :)
    Greetings from Mexico.

  2. Lovely shots Rand - and a nice trip by the looks of it! Now - the long haul - that will be your first in the 763 right? Be interested to hear how it compares to the trips you used to do to AMS in the 752 - apart from being a lot longer!

  3. Morning Mark,

    I love these Asian trips, between the people and the scenery it's a wonderful experience. I flew a 763 DTW-FRA trip just before I came out here. I hadn't been to Europe since last summer and enjoyed the trip the airplane and my crew. Other than sitting a little higher off the ground, it's difficult to differentiate between the various 75 and 76 models that I've seen so far.


  4. What a fantastic blog for people who love aviation!!! Congratulations!!!
    Please visit a portuguese blog which shows air pictures from Portugal taken during my flights:
    Third Dimension - Air Pictures from Portugal

  5. Great Wall at Mutianyu or Badaling? People say that Badaling is more touristy (?) and Mutianyu is more authentic, but that's like saying Disney World is more touristy than Disneyland. In any case, hope you were not enticed to spend many yuan on "real pearls" and special offers "only for you". My family enjoyed our 3 weeks in the PRC, but are still appalled at the exchange rate.

  6. Laurie,
    I think that this was Badaling. What are you saying? That special price, just for me, because I'm his special new friend wasn't for real? I'm shocked! I did buy a few items at the Pearl Market, mostly electronics though. Gee, I think that I got a good deal, but we'll see if they last.