VH-OEJ QF0017 26/11/2008 11:29 Qantas B747-438(ER) Sydney-Buenos Aires
Joined 1999 FlightDiary Airliners Web QR Retired PPL C150/172 PA28-161/181 Pitts S-2B Nikon D100-D200-D300
Well, this trip was certainly the highlight of my (short) time in QF!
Amsy's asked me to speak about it on the February weekend, so I won't bore you with the full blow-by-blow trip report just now.
But here are the plan details:
QF17 YSSY-SAEZ 24/11/8 (Inaugural Service)
Planned TOW 380.7 LW 250.5
Flight Time 11:51
TONIM (via Y84)
BAR (via UB682)
BODIR (via UW68)
Overall Wind Component - 71 kts tailwind
Departed SYD 16R KAMPI 1
Arrived EZE ILS 11 via dct ARSOT
The route as plotted on our Jeppesen South Pole Plotting Chart...
About to make landfall near Puerto Montt, Chile after a very lengthy ocean passage.
Crossing the southern Andes range
Final approach to runway 11 at Buenos Aires Ezeiza Intl
Arriving at the old terminal at Ezeiza Intl
QF18 SAEZ-YSSY 26/11/8 (Second service)
Planned TOW 374.8 LW 229.9
Flight Time 13:49
VIE (via UA570)
GAL (via UT109)
NAS (via UA570)
S48 08 E163
SY (via N774)
Overall Wind Component - 11 kts headwind
Departed EZE 11 via Belgrano
Arrived SYD IVA 34L
(Note the deep south latitudes on this sector. Being handed over to McMurdo Centre ('Mac Centre') on HF was certainly a highlight).
Flying over Thurston Island and Cape Flying Fish, part of continental Antarctica. Note the green terrain shading selected on the ND.
The return route plotted on our South Pole chart. Much further south than the first leg.
Melting ice at the very edge of the Antarctic ice pack. Next stop, Terra Australis!
About to pass by Invercargill, NZ, our main alternate in this direction.
Anyway, that's the nuts and bolts of it. Feel free to ask any questions, and I'll go through it all in more detail (and with many more photos) at the Spotting Weekend dinner.
To answer some of the questions above (I missed them earlier):
- It's a 744ER-only route. Not sure why the initial allocation showed as OED.
- Ops are currently limited to a maximum of 72 deg South, which provides a small buffer against overflying Antarctica proper (save for the low-lying cape/island we overflew). Going further south entails similar considerations to our Antarctic charter flights (eg. Polar survival equipment, which requires the removal of a number of seat rows). An analysis is currently being undertaken by QF on the concept of going to 80 deg South, which would allow westbound flights to take advantage of significant tailwinds there. Going down to 80S (versus staying further north) can make the difference between an overall wind component of 40kts headwind and 10kts tailwind.
- Takeoffs out of Buenos Aires are likely to be somewhat limited in the summer months by the short runway. OAT for our departure was 34 deg, and this necessitated the use of a Packs Off procedure, which is something we regularly do out of JNB (and I believe is also a standard Airbus operating procedure).
awesome report, thanks Will. what's packs off for those of us not in the know? and roughly how long does it take get as far down 63S on the outbound from SYD?
photos updated 29 Sept
thanks very much for the report will; it looks like an amazing flight to do!
I'd also like to know what packs off means please!
Next Flights: 08/7 PER-DRW QF | 15/7 DRW-PER QF // 14/8 PER-MEL JQ | 15/8 MEL-PER JQ
And sorry, I should've explained the 'Packs Off' procedure. Basically, pressurisation and air conditioning (cooling and drying) of the cabin air is accomplished by three separate and independent 'Packs'.
Hot, high pressure bleed air extracted from the compressors of each engine is sent to the packs where it is cooled (via a heat exchanger fed from those ducts you see near the wing root) and dried (centrifugally) and then fed to the cabin air conditioning system. Outflow valves at the rear of the aeroplane allow a certain amount of this pack air to escape overboard at a controlled rate, so that the cabin doesn't end up over-pressurising. By controlling the rate at which the air is allowed to escape overboard, the pressurisation system can therefore control the cabin altitude.
Anyway, when the engines are rotating at their maximum speed (ie. at takeoff), a certain amount of air flowing through them is diverted to run the packs, rather than providing useful thrust for takeoff. So, a 'Packs Off' procedure involves turning all three packs off for the takeoff roll and initial climb, and so allowing all of the engine airflow to be used for thrust. The packs are then switched on by 3000ft AGL. On the 744, we only really use this procedure when our normal, 'Packs On' takeoff configuration doesn't provide enough thrust to lift the payload. Generally, this is the case at JNB where the high airport altitude (low density air) and high airport temperatures conspire to limit many of our takeoffs.
Mont, unfortunately I didn't keep our nav log (this has to go to the QF archival department ), but I was surprised at just how quickly we got down there. We also had a roaring tailwind (courtesy of a jetstream) all the way down there, in the range 100-130kt. Plugging a groundspeed of 610kts into Great Circle mapper gives an ETI of around 4 hours from YSSY to S63, and that seems about right.
Obviously hundreds and hundreds of photos were taken. I'll put up a few more ones from the flight deck this afternoon once I've gone through them.
A few more piccies:
We logged 3 hours of night on this sector, but this was as 'night' as it got. Photo taken looking due south towards the pole, from 63S.
Forward-looking view of the same:
Sunlight reflecting from the water in between ice sheets.
Still more ice (it was around this time that ice creams were delivered to the flight deck from the Economy Class galley)...
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