Saturday, 21 February 2015

Townsville - Brisbane Flight

After already having a cancelled flight this week from Cairns - Townsville due to Cyclone Lam up in North Queensland I was expecting this flight to be severely delayed or even cancelled due to Cyclone Marcia that was currently hitting Yeppoon / Rockhampton area. (by air these areas are 540 klms / 330 miles North of Brisbane)
I arrived at the airport at 1.15pm for my 2.20 pm QANTAS (flight 973) flight home. I checked in and got my boarding pass, I asked the lady checking me in if this flight was operating; and she confirmed it was, she gave me my boarding pass and I was sitting in 25F for this flight.
After clearing security I made my way up stairs to the departure lounge, we were leaving from gate 3. Townsville airport; unlike Cairns; has a great view of the runway and taxiways, so I sat there watching the movements.... which for the hour I sat there, there was very very little movements.
The aircraft for this flight was VH-VXF Boeing 737-838

We boarded our flight and at 2.40pm we pushed back from gate 3 and we had a short taxi out for runway 01. The weather was warm and sunny but I knew that wasn't going to last, we rotated at exactly 2.51pm and a short time after take off we turned right; (offering great views of the Townsville foreshore and city) and headed south for Brisbane.

We climbed to flight level 370 and for the first 30 mins the flight was smooth and comfortable. I could see the weather ahead of us and the clouds were higher than we were. We entered into the clouds and apart from the occasional short break, that is how we flew.

 The flight was becoming rough and bumpy and looking up to the front of the cabin, I could see people's heads bobbing from side to side and then I noticed no body was talking at all...there was an eerie silence. Looking out the window I saw an aircraft fly underneath us about 1,000 feet below. It was hard to make out who it was or what it was as I saw it for a matter of about 5 seconds before it disappeared into an ocean of white. (when I got home I checked plane finder and it was a Virgin 737)
We continued to fly in amongst cloud, even on our descent, and I couldn't help thinking about the guys up front and how they would be very busy.  We continued our descent and headed in for an approach, which surprised me because I was expecting to be entered into a holding pattern, especially since it was Friday afternoon and that is a very busy time for the airport.
We landed in extremely heavy rain on runway 01 at 4.23pm and taxied to gate 19.

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