Last weekend, we went to a reunion in Tampa. It was pretty cool. The family had never had a reunion before and it ended up becoming a spectacular event.
We flew back to San Antonio on a nonstop from Tampa. Since our airport in San Antonio sucks and is totally minor league, only one airline flies nonstop from Tampa; it’s a well known airline ending with “west.” When you fly into San Antonio, there’s a normal route. Your aircraft makes a tight turn over a military installation called Camp Bullis. This is to avoid disturbing luminaries like David Robinson and George Strait in their homes in the Dominion, despite the damn place having been built decades after the airport. Then your jet flies over The Rim, TX-1604, northwest San Antonio, low over US-281, and your jet lands. It’s routine. If you’ve flown into San Antonio regularly, that’s the way it is, with little change.
Unless your aircraft executes a missed approach. The pilot went to full power just before US-281 and turned right over downtown San Antonio.
From a pilot’s standpoint, a missed approach is nothing special. You practice them. Pilots can stop reading now. A missed approach from most passengers standpoint is “pee your pants” time, because you have no idea what’s happening. Especially when “west” Airlines intercom isn’t working properly. Too funny, the flight attendant says “I think the pilot said there was a tractor on the runway.” Except it wasn’t funny. You have no idea what’s going on because your jet has gone to full power. We looped around the city, got back into the pattern, went to the approach and had a hot ass hard landing, the “west” airlines standard.
I tell myself “why worry about it because there’s nothing you can do anyway?” You do worry about it, because if you know a little bit about flying an airplane (I do, I worked in aircraft maintenance when I was in the service), you know there’s a lot happening. Workload increases. You can’t understand the aircraft commander so you don’t know about them. You can’t see out front of the aircraft so you don’t know. Is it something on the runway or something else?
A white knuckle flier like myself does not enjoy discrepancies in their flights.