FlightBlogger Feature Part IV of IV. All images are copyright of FlightBlogger unless otherwise specified.
Read Part I - Ground School
Read Part II - To The Sky
Read Part III - Go-Arounds and Wildfires
I returned to the flight deck about ten minutes after our final go around at Roanoke and I climbed into the jump seat behind Horne and Weight. We had reached our cruising altitude of 21000 feet and 300 knots and were heading direct to intersection FINKS, which is part of the SHNON TWO arrival into Dulles.
Because of the short duration of the flight home, we had already begun planning our arrival. Horne and Weight received the ATIS (Automated Terminal Information Service) which details the current status of the airport including active runways, weather conditions and any other notable information.
The Dulles ATIS was reporting 5 knot winds blowing from the north, with 10 miles of visibility, few clouds at 6,500 feet, with another layer scattered at 10,000 feet and a broken layer at 25,000 feet. The temperature at the field was 37 degrees Fahrenheit with an altimeter reading of 30.39 inches of mercury. The parallel runways 1R and 1L were active for both visual and instrument landings for our return to terra firma.
At 9:24 PM we departed our cruising altitude and began our initial descent and ran through our descent checklist. ATIS - Received. Approach briefing - Accomplished. Flight management systems - Arrival set. Flight Instruments - Set as required. Cowl and wing Anti-Ice - Set to auto. Cabin pressure - Set to auto/landing.
Our arrival procedure had us crossing intersection DOCCS at 11,000 feet and 240 knots.
As we crossed through 14,000 feet on our return to Dulles, we flew directly over Shenandoah National Park. The synthetic vision beautifully rendered the Appalachian mountain range below providing an extraordinary situational awareness for the pilots of the terrain below as we descended at a rate of 2,200 feet per minute.
Rather than continue following the stepped descent after DOCCS to five intermediate waypoints, we were instructed by ATC to descend to 5,000 feet and fly direct to intersection MIKEJ a point 33 miles directly in front of us and the start of the base leg of our approach. This routing set the Gulfstream up for our arrival on Runway 1L.
As we lined up on our final approach ATC instructed us to put additional spacing between us and in the aircraft in front of us on approach by initiating a 360 degree left turn. The Jeppesen RNAV Runway 1L approach plate was brought up on the MFD and displayed our position once again relative to our arrival to the airport. The display can be split to illustrate the complete vertical path information for the arrival. All the information that pilot needs is at their fingertips at any moment.
The clear skies showed Dulles’ runway 1L, in the non-synthetic vision world, beautifully lit ahead and guiding us home. The illuminated taxiways glowed cobalt blue and the terminal was a collection of various yellows, greens and reds.
Another key feature of the synthetic vision system is its ability to render selected runways on the Integrated PFD. Our approach to Runway 1L was displayed with a line of bright blue “breadcrumbs” leading us to the threshold of the gray shaded runway.
At 9:41 PM as we were just about to cross the threshold of the runway our landing lights caught the ground showing us the reassuring path ahead. The synthetic vision display of the Runway 1L filled the IPFD as were moments from touchdown at a speed of 135 knots. Our main gear contacted the runway with a soft jolt.
Following our touchdown, the MFD automatically transitioned the Jeppesen approach plate we had flown to the showing our exact location on the airport real estate. We continued our roll out on the 11,500 foot runway and exited on taxiway Y2 and taxied north back to the Landmark ramp where our evening had begun.
As we crossed over to the ramp the EVS displayed a Dassault business jet in front of us with its APU running. The hot exhaust appeared to us like an F-18 with full afterburner getting ready to catapult of the deck of an aircraft carrier. The infrared system also provided a unique view of the line marshal directing us to our parking spot. As he waved his lit batons, we were able to make out all of his features.
The G450 rolled to a stop at 9:46 PM and the fuel control switches were moved to the cutoff position. The whirring engines spooled down and our flight had come to an end a mere 99 minutes after we first rolled off the blocks. As we departed the aircraft, preparations were already being made to fly N922H back to its home in Morristown at Honeywell International Headquarters. Our busy evening had come to a close and the Honeywell and Gulfstream crew still had one last flight ahead.
I want to extend a very special thanks to them for the invitation onboard to see the synthetic vision system in action.