Depart - Santiago (SCEL) / Arrive - La Paz (SLLP)
Capt Ron - First Officer Matt
OUT - 1234Z / OFF - 1246Z
IN - 1508Z / ON - 1511Z
Block - 2:34 / Flight - 2:25
Fuel Loaded - 32.0 / Remaining - 6.8 / Used - 25.2
Landing Rate - 44
OUCH! I think that describes that leg!
After a lovely lunch in the sun Ron and Matt prepped the cockpit for a flight up the Andes towards La Paz. The crew had spent plenty of time in our planning department looking at the charts and Britjet's briefing guide and were feeling happy as they strode purposely out to the simulator.
The crew diligently worked through our new guides and managed to line the aircraft up on the right (only) runway. Ron advanced the thrust levers to 1.20 EPR, let the RB211's stabalise and then selected TOGA. The engines roared to the selected thrust setting and the aircraft lurched forward slowly, it continued to lurch and lurch some more but the aircraft didn't seem to be getting any quicker. Noting that only doing 40kts may not be conducive to flight the 'heavy' crew member Benny suggested that taking the brakes off may help matters slightly. Amazingly this last ditch, blue sky thinking worked and the plane suddenly decided to go a little bit quicker and after a rotation that felt like a week the aircraft was airborne. Benny commented how amazing his performance figures were and everyone agreed he is a god and the team are lucky to have him! (Although that's not what they were saying as he wrote this sentence!).
Cruise was most uneventful but at least the crew were able to see the mountains as daylight had appeared. After a few 'natural spring power water' drinks a chat with everyone watching the stream is was time to start the descent.
Due to the elevation of La Paz the crew had to manually pressurise the aircraft for the descent and were ably assisted by Dan who had now become the third crew member as Benny had gone to enjoy even more 'natural spring power water'.
Under the assumption that this landing could be interesting the whole crew retired to the crew rest area to watch the stream, joined by our real world training captain - no pressure then!
As the aircraft flew down the glideslope we were all impressed at how well it was looking (well the autopilot was in!) and what a difference landing at high elevation makes. At one point our ground speed was 190kts while indicated airspeed was only 150kts.
We knew it was starting to go wrong on this approach when we heard the autopilot disconnect. Shortly afterwards there was comments from the assembled crew of roll, pitch, speed and we're all gonna die! As Ron decided the correct speed to fly was about 30kts slower than the aircraft would like the aircraft got a little upset and added quite a lot of power. At this point I would like to explain what happened but we all had our eyes closed and therefore don't really know!
As Ron called "go-around" we squinted at the screen and summated that it was probably wise... as they were half way down the runway, still with 80% odd thrust and yet to touch down.
A quick circuit was performed, thankfully away from the mountains and the aircraft was soon established again. Things looked slightly better this time around, we were wrong! As the stall warner was screaming and there was a significant amount of bank Ron crossed the fence, I would say threshold but unfortunately the runway wasn't beneath us. A quick correction of the roll and we smoothly touched on the grass just to the right of the runway. Ron had been clever here as the grass assisted our retardation (slowing down) and therefore didn't have issues such as hot brakes.
The taxi in was uneventful, we think, we were too busy laughing and writing a letter from Boeing for the repairs to the aircraft.
Simon, Gary and Peter for the next sector - we expect things may be a little better