I haven’t told you the whole story of yesterday’s flight from Frankfurt to Atlanta yet, mostly because I was too tired after all the video editing of my departure capture and because the day had not ended, yet! So here is what happened:
Arrival to Atlanta
Our flight over the Atlantic was pretty smooth, but once over Canada it started shaking a bit. Due to the aerodynamics of the MD-11 you don’t feel it much in the cockpit and without any passengers in the cabin, we didn’t have to worry at all.
We approached Atlanta from the north and initially follwed the DIRTY 3 RNAV arrival route via the “Snowbird” and “Foothills” VOR and then past DIRTY to HAARY. With other VORs in the area wearing names like “Hazard”, “Electric City” or simply “Choo Choo” it was once again proven that Americans have a great sense of humor when it comes to naming places!
The weather was excellent with a 10-knot wind from the northwest. Visual approach to runway 26R, 27L and 28 were carried out. Our legally required landing distance (about 60% longer than the actual landing distance under certain conditions) was around 2300 meters, so there was no problem accepting any of the offered runway and we decided on a Flaps 50 landing to 27L, as it was closest to our parking position. We had to change our speed a couple of times to accommodate the flow of aircraft into the airport – first above 300, then above 280, then reduce 220, then again above 250 and finally a reduction to 180 and approach speed Vapp. With a Vapp of around 160 knots we were faster than most other aircraft, but the air traffic controllers did a good job in separating other aircraft from us and there were no issues at all this time.
Here is the video of our arrival into Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Intl. Airport as seen from my perspective. I am working on getting a filter for the GoPro so that the displays are being shown right – if I have had it on, you would have noticed that I didn’t use the flight director this time…
On the ground
Unfortunately there was a mishap with US Customs and we had to wait for 30 minutes before we could open the doors of the aircraft. As we are an international flight arriving on our own private ramp, we are not clearing customs and immigration in the terminal. Therefore two very nice officers had to turn up at the aircraft, inspect everything and clear us to enter the country. The next crew was already waiting for us in the shade of the warehouse and after a quick chat they would be getting ready to fly back to Europe, while we were climbing into the van to the hotel. Those vans are not that comfortable, but they look really “American” from the outside!
Our hotel is situated right in the middle of Downtown Atlanta with big rooms and easy access to nearby restaurants – I have seen (much) worse! This is the room when I entered and before it became a complete chaos…
After a short rest, publishing yesterday’s post and editing some of my video footage we went for dinner at nearby Ted’s Montana Grill. They have restaurants in more than a dozen states in the U.S., but surprisingly only in Montana! Anyway, the onion rings as a starter were great and nothing beats their bison burgers (actually supporting the bison population in America) – just the right combination of delicious meat, great toppings and a perfect amount of sauce and fat. It is probably not the healthiest food option around, but we are in the States, so we had to have burger!
Here is what happened on Day 3 of my “An American journey” 10 day live feed
This morning I woke up at around 6 am local time after a good night’s sleep. My inner clock is most likely still tuned to European time and with a time difference of six hours it was about time for me to get up. But I had nothing planned and the shops would not be open anyway at that time of the day. So I decided to take it easy and only left the hotel room around lunchtime. My extensive morning research on what to do in Atlanta lead to me still not knowing what to do. I had already seen World of Coca Cola (don’t try every product that there is for tasting at the end!) and seen the Aquarium (fantastic, but avoid weekends!). Everything else was either to far away or not accessible by public transport at all or I simply didn’t feel like doing it this time. In the end I wandered around Downtown for a while.
The southern States of the USA are always being associated with “soul” – the music, “soul food” and so on. Surprisingly I didn’t feel the vibe in Atlanta. It is in fact rather boring. Wivikoyage says in their Atlanta article that “it can sometimes seem as though every other person in the city is wearing a name tag” due to the many conferences and conventions taking place and I have to say: it is all true! But there are also, like in all other major U.S. cities have I seen, hordes of mostly black (I stayed for some time South Africa, you are welcome to exchange that with “african-american”, it is not a racist remark) homeless people and it is a shame to see so much wealth and so bitter poverty side by side. Even after years of visiting America I still don’t get that… To lift moods up, here are some impressions from Downtown Atlanta:
All of these images were I taken with an iPhone 6 – I know they are not art, but much easier for me to handle and upload. I also don’t have to carry my heavy camera equipment around…
A highlight was Atlanta Underground. A couple of decades ago the city decided to elevate all roads by one level, so all the old roads and shops were more or less “buried” under the new road system. It’s just like in the comic series Futurama were Old New York is hidden under New New York – it sounds weird and that’s what it is. I was not interested in shopping, but hungry! Luckily my extensive morning research revealed that there was a Johnny Rockets right there in the Underground and that is always a safe option for all burger and milkshake lovers!
I wandered far and near, but in the absence of any breath-taking sights I opted to take a stroll through the Centennial Olympic Park that was still reminds everyone that Atlanta hosted the 1996 Olympic Games 100 years after the first Olympic Games of the modern age in Athens in 1896. As I got there the sun was hot and temperatures reached the upper 80s (about 30° Celcius a the time). So I sat down in the shade, exploited the park’s free wifi network to chat with my wife at home. It wasn’t a spectacular day, but it could have been worse.
It already took be two hours to write this post and I think that is enough for now! It is nearly 5 pm local now and I will be meeting with the captain for dinner shortly. Maybe we will be heading over to Buckhead on the MARTA to check out the area. Tomorrow will be a travel day again, as we are flying on one of Delta’s MD-88 to Chicago! Stay tuned for the other episodes of “An American journey”!