Monday September 9, 2013
So this is a little odd:
“Pavement failure” has closed 34L/16R at Sydney airport, the longest runway here (3962m, or 13,000 feet), typically used for heavy departures (and, in my flying experience out of YSSY, exclusively).
We were literally at the door of UAL870 (YSSY-KSFO) when they turned us back (hello, AirNZ Lounge, again).
There is a thumping breeze out of the West, so 25 seems to be the only active runway. I just saw a Virgin A340 get off 25 (2530m or 8300 feet), which was a little spectacular from the vantage point of the AirNZ Lounge overlooking the west end of 25:
Oh, and note that temperature reading in the ATIS, above. 33C. What the hell? Apparently there is a southerly change coming our way shortly, which will be most welcome.
No word on the prognosis… Can a 744 loaded with pax and fuel for 12-13hrs get off in 8300 feet with a thumping headwind?
Update: So this is cool. So I’m sitting in the upper deck of this flight now, got to visit the cockpit and asked the crew what’s up. 34L is repaired and we intend to go out on that runway. The UAL LAX flight is going out ahead of us on that runway right now.
The LAX and SFO bound 744s carry too much fuel for the shorter runways here at Sydney; over 300,000 lbs of fuel.
An A380 headed for Singapore did get off 25 just before (nice of that from the cockpit). The UAL guys said that they can get off 7/25 in the 744s if they are only going to Melbourne.