General >> General Discussion >> Lou - STORIES

Message started by JayG on Feb 21st, 2011 at 5:11pm

Title: Re: Lou - STORIES
Post by LOU on Jul 25th, 2017 at 6:08pm
A number of years back, I was the captain on a TWA flight from New York to Cairo. I had flown this trip several times over the years. We also would fly New York to Tel Aviv. Both of these flights were some of the longest the 767-300ER would fly. The westbound flight was around 15 hours, so we were pretty tired by the time we would land.

This flight to Cairo from New York would takeoff from JFK around 2200 hours and arrive Cairo just about 4 P.M. local time. One of the hardest parts of the trip was that a few hours after takeoff the sun would rise and be in our face for all morning. Even after making landfall over Europe we still had many hours remaining in the trip.

So, here we are in descent over the eastern Mediterranean and cleared to 3,000 feet by approach control. The weather was absolutely beautiful. The sun was low in the west and the air as you can imagine, crystal clear. Then from approach control we receive one of the strangest messages I can remember. It seems the Egyptian air force was recalling a large group of aircraft after a drill. The controller asked if would be willing to take a small delay so that all the military planes could be recovered. They said it would be short, less than 15 minutes. I said we would be glad to help and asked where they would like us to hold. The controller said we could circle over our present position and maintain 2,000 feet.

I looked out the window and saw we were coming up on the extended center line to the Cairo airport, and right ahead were the Giza Pyramids. I told the controller we would hold present position and requested a few left turns and some right turns. Approved as requested!

I got on the PA and told the passengers I would turn off the seat belt sign for a few minutes and that they should get out their cameras for a rare sight. We made a few turns to the left and then maneuvered for a few turns to the right. We were light so we could fly pretty slow and I just selected flaps to 5 degrees and slowed to 180 knots. None of us in the cockpit had a camera as luck would have it, but the sight of the Giza plateau with Cairo so close and the magic light of the low sun in the west is something I will always remember.


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