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The “Tokyo Out -N- Back”!

I just completed a few ‘firsts’ this week.  Considering I’ve been doing this for more than 13 years, this is somewhat remarkable.  I left the house at 0545 Wednesday morning, and walked back in about 5:15 pm Friday evening.  That’s a total of just under 60 hours.  In that time I flew from BOS to MEM and started my official pre-trip crew rest.  At 0315 Thu morning we launched for NRT (New Tokyo International Airport – Narita)

The route is displayed here: http://is.gd/8w8J This is roughly the path and the speed we flew.  While on a map, it appears to be that we ‘curved’ north – perhaps to follow a route close to land, the fact is, this is a ‘great circle route.  If you were to take a piece of string and lay it on a globe from MEM to NRT, this is the path the string would show as the shortest distance between two points.

It was about 13:49 air time, (average 80 knots headwind) and 14:30 block time. As we landed in NRT on Friday morning (local time) the visibility and ceiling were unrestricted, thus allowing for a fabulous view of snow-capped Mount-Fuji shortly after sunrise.  This is the longest flight I can recall doing since I’ve been flying.  The other long flights I’ve operated are Paris to Manila, and Osaka to Memphis.  I then waited in NRT about 4.5 hours, and took the next flight home… NWA 12 from NRT to DTW then BOS.

Mount Fuji
Mount Fuji

From the time I left MEM at 0320 and arrived in BOS at 1520 was about 36 hours. In that time, I spent about 28:45 on moving airplanes. OUCH!  The big trick to surviving this is 1. Hydration. Lots and lots of water. 2. Good rest. While I can’t and DON’T take anything as an operating crew member, as a passenger on NWA, I did take a ‘simply sleep’ and managed to get about 7.5 hours straight sleep on the flight from NRT to DTW.

While this type of flying is ‘once in a lifetime’ for many people, it’s just part of what I do. I frequently ride passenger carriers to Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris, Frankfurt, Delhi, etc and get paid to do it. I try to always remain conscious of how special it is, and how lucky I am to get to do something that many people would love to do, but will never or only rarely have the opportunity.

Semper Fly!

PilotPete

November 21st, 2008 Posted by | Aviation Photography, General Information, Travel | no comments