21st July 2011……The little Embraer 170 with the ice still on the wings from the previous flight sashayed off down the runway at Melbourne just after 7am with a gut flattening take off reminiscent of trying to get out of Hong Kong in a plane too large for the runway! Climbing steeply and banking around the cap on Mt Macedon we were treated to a fabulous sunrise and I was happy to see that the ice had disappeared.
The Embraer 170 is 2 x 2, a pocket sized little aircraft V Australia use to shuttle business people and footballers back and forth between Melbourne and Canberra….it’s sliding along the isobars somewhere above 500hPa giving us a smooth 43 minutes in the air.
Today is all about following procedure.. The last few weeks has been spent living and breathing a rather enormous tender response for government business with occasional diversions into the Going to Extremes DVD Clyve and I are making from our 6 week foray into Tornado Alley. Clyve’s the creative one….I put it down on the canvas of computerization. More on that, but back to today….well yesterday actually… At 1.50pm I was sitting at my computer willing a batch of zip files to get where they were going…don’t think I breathed for about 4 minutes, well I don’t remember anything except the blue bar crawling across the screen, until the ‘Submission Accepted’ sign flashed up, and I finally understood the phrase’a weight off your shoulders’….so I went and took the dog for a walk along the river to get my breath back before starting in the next stage of the process….printing 3 copies of a 160 page tender….so we’re back to now….from then….and on a plane sailing through to Canberra to put the blessed thing into the Tender Box…..
The low level pressure gradient between the 996hPa low in the Tasman and the (grumble, mutter, grumble) high south of Tasmania is a lot steeper than the gradient up at 33,000′, so it’s all smooth sailing, except that the classy leather seats in the E170 are only wide enough to hold a 12 year old. The captain announced that we were about to begin our descent into Canberra….he’s only been at our cruising altitude for about 3 minutes!!! and we’re starting to wiggle our way down to another state, and surf briefly through a river of rather dramatic turbulence.
The afternoon’s flight is delayed and I am forced to sit and watch the cloud deck lower and Cessnas’s take off, but isn’t that why people go to airports? The flight south takes 3 minutes longer than the flight north and the 737-800 powers down the short runway and sails into the clouds, up through the showers to the south and out into bright sunshine.There’s water everywhere down there, glinting in the sun…drought? what drought????….the Melbourne landing is smooth, and the disembarkation is through the front door and down onto the tarmac..they couldn’t get the rear steps to line up so we all had to traipse out the front…I wondered why the cabin steward was standing in the middle of the cabin and seemed to be praying – but there are some things best not questioned… and it’s back to reality and a $52 charge for parking in the short term carpark…