Real Life Pix- FLL to PIT

Pro Member Chief Captain
Drew B (belgeode) Chief Captain

Crap... I'm behind schedule here... Forgot to post these pix of the flight back from Florida.

Well as you may know I went to FL on the weekend after July 4th to surprise my daughter, Lolo, for her birthday. I got no pix of the flights down on Air Tran since said daughter (well her mom) had my camera. I made sure to retrieve it from her and her mom, and set about recording the flight back to KPIT. What a flight it was...

So here we have KFLL... Fort Lauderdale (sometimes known as Fort Liquordale), FL. Look at that 737, ain't she a beauty?

Well that's not my plane...

THIS is my plane... the ghetto version.

So I had about a half hour to spare before boarding (Zone 1 again... woot) so I figured I would head to Sam Adams to have a beer. My mom had given me $100 and it was burning a hole in my pocket. As humid as it was that morning, by time I got to the airport I needed a beer. One Heineken please...

For a Sunday it was pretty quiet... guess all the pilots were in church that day.

I got back and decided to get a decent shot of US Airways and the Fort Lauderdale skyline, when suddenly it dawned on me...

Umm... it's a little darker than it was 20 minutes ago...

My fears were realized the moment we got on board...

Thunderstorm approaching. Typical for a Florida summer but about 2 hours ahead of schedule (usually they happen around 3).

One thing about Florida thunderstorms, they are usually short but intense... I could see this one rolling in with avengeance however.

There is something unsettling about watching grey clouds whisk themselves in, then all of a sudden you start seeing a grey line pressing forward to the ground...

Having lived in Florida for almost 20 years I knew this meant one thing... this one was going to be a doosey.

I hate it when I am right.

We got the call finally to pushback, and head to taxiway sierra, but I just had this funny idea our flight would NOT leave on time...

again... I hate it when I am right.

No sooner I thought it, we stopped. I mean stopped dead. The lady next to me started peering over my shoulder, and I informed her that there was no way we were going to be taking off right now.

Of course she asked why... I answered, well Florida thunderstorms can wreak havok on a plane... unless we want to end up in the Atlantic after takeoff we had better stay put. The winds were bound to precede the rain.

Once again... right. The 737 started shaking like a wet dog. The engines went off... and our Captain announced that we were basically gonna sit there for a while.

And so was just about everything else at FLL.

Complete groundstop. Sounds familiar doesn't it...

So the lady next to me asks me if I was a pilot, and me in a moment of clarity I announce why yes I fly for US Airways back home in PIT. HAHAHAHAHA. She'll never know. After all, she did not specify VIRTUAL or REAL LIFE.

So the rains came... and 15 minutes gave way to 45... damn what a long storm. We sat there on taxiway sierra with engines off, waiting it out.

As did the others... wondering when the call was going to go out for all clear.

Now I should add we were supposed to takeoff on runway 27R that afternoon... but once the rains marched in, that squashed that idea... we waited a little longer for tower to decide.

Not long after, a JetBlue zipped past on its way to runway 9L... well that clued me in as to what was happening next...

EVERYBODY do the mad dash to runway 9L!!!!

Halfway to 9L Southwest decides (or was given clearance) to go ahead... those punks. They think just cause they get cheap gas that gives them the right to go ahead of us?

Well I had no one to argue to... instead I watched as the water on the ground behind our engine got evaporated in seconds... as we waited...

and waited... I think they let Air Canada in front of us also, along with the company traffic that had been circling for 45 minutes...

Now there is a good reason to carry extra gas.

If there is any justice, we passed up Southwest on our way to the runway anyway... see ya sucker!

At that point the wierdest thing happened.

Apparently our captain got orders to go OUT ONTO runway 9L... go to the threshold by I-95, do a U turn, then line up for takeoff!

Ok, so that is a first... Never seen that before...

As soon as we were lined up, our captain wasted NO time, in bringing us to N1 settings and blasting outa there like Han Solo...


Takeoff is always my favorite part.

From the air you could hardly tell there was a storm not even 10 minutes before... it did its job then left.

No matter... we were up up and away... only thing left was to get through the residual storm and up to altitude.

Our captain had announced before takeoff that we were cleared to the previous flight plan, and in about less than a minute after takeoff... I figured it out.

Another U turn...

Awful quiet on the beach today... as we made our way back to heading 270, and started boogeying to gain 10,000 feet.

So my neighbor decides to ask me what is going to happen next...

I told her one word.


Sure as shooting by time we passed the Florida Turnpike... there it was... the best ride since Disney. Up Down... Up Down... side to side just for good measure...

I'm sitting there with this grin on my face and my neighbor is sitting there gripping the armrests in mortified horror.

Just a few bumps more...

I don't think she believed me anymore...

You can imagine what she was like when we went through the thick of it. I even think her husband in the aisle seat was starting to turn green.



It's JUST a little stormcloud!!!! (Hmm, where have I heard that before?)

As we got out over the 'Glades, we changed course... I judged probably to 030 or somewhere close to that.

The ride stopped and we hit the backend of the stormfront, and smoother air.

We banked so hard I swore I could count the Gators down there...

Finally on our course for PIT... we stabilized and started getting some serious air.

As we got north of Lake Okeechobee I got a good look at the storm system we had just flown through.

Wow... nasty looking.

Mother Nature sure knows how to put on a show... glad I am out of it.

Next stop... Pittsburgh... well... after some food anyway.

As I waited for my bumblebee chicken salad in a can, and really hard Steely McBeam cracker to put it on, I suddenly noticed I was hearing noises that were NOT coming from the aircraft.

My ears could not be deceiving me...

The lady next to me was laid out...

Down for the count...

Sawing logs...

and I had NO HEADPHONES, or XM satellite radio to drown her out. Ugh... This is where Air Tran would come in handy.

I think even her husband was kinda turned off...

Oh well, at least she was not grabbing our arms with the Vulcan death grip.

I figured that would be it for her till we got to PIT...

I was RIGHT!

She slept the whole way...

Another glimpse at trouble ahead of JAX... deftly avoided by our captain...

At least it is not a hurricane... that would have sucked.

I am still awed by the beauty of clouds...

Pretty close to where i was in April...

As soon as I can see the beach I get excited... cause that means the long trek through Florida is almost past...

Only one thing left...


And with it, Georgia on my mind...

I wondered if the beach I was on back in April was underneath us to the right.

Ahh yes the famous deltas for which the grand airline of Atlanta is named.

Hello Peaches...

Sorry, could not resist.

As we made our way inland over South then North Carolina I wondered if I would see Charlotte...

No such luck... our path took us too far east... but I had a blast looking at the mosaic of farmlands, and wondering how many of them down there were looking up at us leaving contrails at 30,000 feet.

Probably none... they're all in church no doubt.

Over eastern West Virginia it became apparent that the clouds had changed...

Remember how I always say there is a difference between northern and southern clouds... Well it is true. Once I started seeing the less puffy and defined northern clouds I knew... PIT was only 20 minutes away.

Once again... RIGHT.

We began our descent.

I had no point of reference through West Virginia... but judging from our turns, I figured we were either gonna come in on 28L or 28C...

More than likely 28L... the default landing runway for south to north flights.

I wished I could hear the comm... damn why couldn't this be a United flight... I would have headphones on, and would know exactly what the pilots are doing at all times.

Ugh... I wished for VATSIM... or something that could tell me what was happening.

The Allegheny river...

That gave it away. We were northeast of downtown PIT... and headed northwest... which means turn to 280, pick up localizer past NESTO and it's off to the races in to 28L.

No brainer for a "US Airways pilot" like me. 😉

My next door neighbor woke up just in time to watch us come in, and was indeed pleased that the winds were nice and smooth.

As we passed over the island (Neville Island) I figured I was on the wrong side of the plane to get that perfect downtown picture... and on a full flight I was not about to ask the people in the A seats to let me sit there for a few.

Heck I should not even be using this camera... electronic equipment is supposed to be turned off by now hahahahaah.

I am such a rebel.


If I tell you how many times I have been on that highway you probably would not believe me.

Oddly enough it looks much shorter from 5000 feet up.

And the Ohio river in its summer glory seemed to say, welcome home Drew.

Only one thing left... bring this puppy on in. I PRAYED that the guy at the yoke was NOT the caliber of the virtual CLT manager... I would rather not lose my lunch. (We nicknamed him "Strutbuster")

As we swooped in, I saw the Air Force... 911th Airlift Wing, and their awesome C-130s. The mighty Herc... sitting there waiting for their next orders...

Gotta love it.

Now folks... you wanna know whether or not you got a great pilot? try taking pix as the plane touches down.

Whomever these guys were up front, they knew what they were doing...

Total greaser.

I was impressed... no potholes at the end of the runway, and the landscapers will frown tomorrow when they have no work to do.

All the same... we were here in PIT.

And there it is... in virtual world, KPIT virtual repaints Inc...

In real world, Hangar 4. Home to US Airways...

No activity today though, but when I had left for FL I did see the PSA plane there parked.

Guess it left by now.

As we pulled up to Terminal B I noticed Frontier has already gotten a sizeable foothold on KPIT.

They have now taken over the end of terminal B... what used to be USA territory.

Sign of the times?

Who knows... Pretty soon I may have to ONLY take Air Tran to get to Ft Lauderdale at the rate at which things are headed...

Not much future for the real Steeler Air here...

And finally... the TRUEST sign that any Pittsburgher is home.

Greeted at airside terminal by the two most iconic figures in Pittsburgh history...

On the right, George Washington... whom I guess slept here once... I dunno.

On the left, #32 Franco Harris of the Steelers... who received the immaculate reception.

ONLY Pittsburgh would celebrate both side by side....

Only in Pittsburgh...

11 Responses

Pro Member Chief Captain
Cheeks Chief Captain

Great story bel, I was freakin laughin so damn hard when that pax next to you was snoring! 😂

Pro Member First Officer
Westernstyle First Officer

Iv only been by Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood Airport once (we were going on a cruise), but by car. It was impresive, flights landing right above the highway flights taking off over the port. Nice shots 😀

Pro Member Chief Captain
VegasFlyer Chief Captain

Very nice shots Bel!

Pro Member Captain
acepilot32 Captain

bel your not the only one here who had to deal with thunderstorms in florida

except it was night and screaming girls that were on some kind of trip and they never stopped yelling! and they kept saying "omg we are ganna crash" finally the stewardess go them to shut up

Pro Member First Officer
Westernstyle First Officer

Oh man i was on a flight from KATL-KMLB on and CRJ-200 (generaly quiet inside) i was relaxed until a little boy started yelling in the plane all the way to the destenation. It was night (so i was tired) let alone for them to shut the Censored up!

Pro Member Chief Captain
Drew B (belgeode) Chief Captain

Cheeks wrote:

Great story bel, I was freakin laughin so damn hard when that pax next to you was snoring! 😂

OMG you should have heard it... like something out of a cartoon... As nervous as she was I bet the tired herself out stressing over a few bumps.

I did my best to get that pic where her husband did not see I was taking it hahahaa.

Just kinda worked out.

I guess I should be thankful she did not lean on me and start drooling in her sleep.

Pro Member Chief Captain
Cheeks Chief Captain

LOL! 😂
I would laugh so hard if she saw this thread.....

Pro Member First Officer
Hongming Zheng (jianqing) First Officer


Pro Member First Officer
GoodisonBlue First Officer

Cheers for posting all that, I really enjoyed reading it. 😀

Pro Member Captain
Welshflyer Captain

Bel, how did i miss this? A superb log of your flight that made me smile throughout. 😀
P.s who's the handsome dude in the T-shirt ? 😀
P.P.S Thanks Goodisonblue for bringing this to my attention.

Pro Member Chief Captain
Drew B (belgeode) Chief Captain

Wow! Y'all brought it to MY attention... I forgot I had posted it! It was great to reread it after all this time.

What a fun trip!

I am glad you guys enjoyed it.

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