Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile

Advanced

A Trip to the Daytona 500. ATL-CLT-DAB-CLT-ATL

Posted by N776AU 
A Trip to the Daytona 500. ATL-CLT-DAB-CLT-ATL
March 21, 2011 08:04PM
This trip was very a very special one for me. I hadn't flown in 7 months, so that drought was over, and I was attending my first Daytona 500

I've been to two Budweiser Shootouts, including the one from the week prior, so I knew all about the speedway and what to expect, but it's the biggest race of the year. It would be like a baseball fan going to the World Series.

With filled hotels around DAB and Music Theory at 8:00 AM on Monday morning flying was the only choice. Not that it was a bad thing. Unfortunately Delta had no flights after the race until Monday, but as it was US Airways was cheaper by $30 anyway. As a result of this I was setting a personal best for most flights in a day with 4, the earliest and latest flights I've flown, and my first flight on a CRJ.

I'd also like to apologize for a general lack of pictures. Unfortunately taking pictures is rather difficult when 3 of your 4 flights take place in darkness. Anyway, on to the fun.



I always do this, but on this occasion I have a few more goodies.

Since the flight out of ATL was at 5:30, I was up and at 'em at 2:00 AM, ultimately leaving the house at 2:28.



Driving not far from my house. The roads were mostly deserted as one would expect, and the drive all the way there was a breeze, as we parked at the North Terminal at 3:21





A couple looks at the terminal form the parking lot. Sorry for the blurriness. My pictures are real hit-and-miss since I have really shaky hands.



The lower level entrance hallway to the North Terminal. I promise it looks nicer when there are lots of people around.



The sign that greets you when you make it out of the hall and into the main building.



And up the escelator into the termial.



The inactive US Airways counter. Lucky for me I printed all of the boarding passes for the day at home.



Where to next but the lovely TSA? This is one of the reasons I like to fly early. Things like waiting to be groped are quick and painless. And so it was on to the transportation hall



Going down



Unfortunately the train wasn't running since it was so early (Shortly before 4:00 AM). Needless to say I was disappointed.



But that wasn't going to stop me from taking a picture of an idle train in the Concourse T station. So we had no choice but to walk out to Concourse D. I really don't mind walking. I'm not lazy, and I wasn't pressed for time either, but I love that train.



Looking down the very long hallway that runs end to end of the airport.



Until finally we got to Concourse D. It's been a very long time since I've departed from D (6 years to be exact when I flew with Northwest)



And so we began our trip up to the concourse.



A bit of a mundane entrance compared to the other concourses, but I feel a picture was necessary nonetheless. We took a right since our flight left from gate D23.



A look down the concourse. Concourse D is very narrow. It's definitely not as nice say A or B.



And here we are at D23 shortly after 4:00 AM.



And the gate sign



A small shot of the gate area



Most importantly, what we have out the window. Our A319 this morning was N704US



Time to fly:

US Airways Flight 881

ATL-CLT

Depart ATL: 5:30 AM

Arrive CLT: 6:36 AM

Airbus A319 N704US

-We started boarding at 5:02. We had to wait all the way til zone 5 to board ourselves.



Traveling down. Stupid hands of mine....



And really heading down.



The door logo that rather fascinates me.



Cabin view from my seat 14A.



The view out my window at the A320 next to us. This was the last picture I would take until off the plane in Charlotte.

We pushed back at 5:27 and very easily taxied waaaaaaay to the other side of the airport for a nice takeoff from Runway 8R.

Unfortunately my notes are very lacking with the flight being so short. There was no drink service, and we cruised at 27,000 feet. There was no light for picture taking, but I must say the view was amazing. Imagine looking down on the clouds (or down on the brightly-lit Atlanta) with your wing being lit up by the light of a full moon. It was almost serene.

We started descending at 6:14, landing at 6:31 on Runway 5, surprisingly using a fairly good amount of reverse, and we taxied our way to gate B12.

We thought we only had about 45 minutes in CLT. Unbeknownst to us, our flight to Daytona was going to be delayed. More on that later. First we had to make a journey from Concourse B to Concourse E.



At the giant center metting point for all the concourses.



The Wright Flyer heading down to Concourse E. Escelator + my bad hands = blur. Sorry



Descending down to the lovely RJ gates



The direction we were heading at the split in the middle of the concourse. We were heading to gate E26



But just to make it official, here's the sign.



Our CRJ-900 to fly us to DAB N903FJ

Were supposed to take off at 7:32, but we were waiting and waiting and waiting until they came on and told us there was fog in Daytona and we would have to wait. Thankfully wifi at CLT is free. That was a nice surprise. I was keeping tabs on US Airways.com and Flight Aware. Ultimately what tipped me off that were about to go was a Roush-Fenway 727 taking off. Now of course I didn't know officially where it was going, but I think Daytona was a pretty safe bet.

Finally we boarded at 8:05

US Airways Express Flight 2699

CLT-DAB

Depart CLT: 7:32 AM (Delayed to 8:25)

Arrive DAB: 8:58 AM (Actual time of arrival, 9:34)

Bombardier CRJ-900 N903FJ





Waiting to board.



Boarding through the semi-exposed jetway.

I literally had to duck to get in to this plane, and could only barely stand fully upright. If I was an inch taller, there would be no way.



I'm digging the America West interior



My view from 17A



And not much for the leg room either.



And a look out my misaligned and rather low window. Big people are not made for these airplanes. I remember why I had such an aversion to them. Unfortunately it was my only option.

We pushed at 8:05 and taxied over to Runway 18L



Hopefully my Youtube video of takeoff will embed. If not, here's a link

[www.youtube.com]

Takeoff was ok. Some good views of the surrounding area.



Breaking through the clouds.

Drinks started at 8:43 when we topped out at 24,000 feet.



I take it US Airways has done away with snacks? I read aviation news around the web every day, and maybe I read that, but I don't remember.



Some airport in Florida before we started descending at 9:04.



[www.youtube.com]

Once again, if it doesn't imbed, here's a link to my landing video in Daytona on Runway 7L

After we disembarked at gate 5 it was time to experience Daytona on race day!





My first impressions of DAB. Nice terminal, really, though very small.

No need for a car or a ride over to the front stretch



So we walked our way over to Richard Petty Boulevard.



Matt Kenseth's souvenir trailer. My favorite driver. My idea of self-control here is only spending $70.

We had several hours to kill before race time. A great thing with Nascar races is that there's always plenty to do beforehand.



AJ Allmandinger's car at the Ford area.



Speed stage broadcasting Nascar Raceday



Kenny Wallace talking to the crowd during a commercial break.

Eventually we made our way in to the track and up to our seats. The place was a zoo being such a huge event.



Depalma Tower where our seats were located



Our view of pre-race festivities.



A few of the cars starting at the back.



And a look over at turn 4. I should have been more heads-up. It kind of just looks like I was shooting for the Budweiser clydesdales and completely missed.



Matt Kenseth during driver intros



Some of the pack during the pace laps.



The start and opening lap of the 500. Once again, if the embed doesn't work, here's a link:

[www.youtube.com]

It really was a fantastic race, and a huge upset with Trevor Bayne winning, but the day wasn't nearly done yet. We still had two flights to go.



Back to the airport we walked



The walkway to the entrance. It was 6:00 straight up when we arrived at the airport again.



The entrance itself. Quite a contrast to what I'm used to in Atlanta for sure.



Escelator up towards security. It was a really nice and open area, but man is it small. I really was expecting the airport to be a zoo, but it was the total opposite, an absolute ghost town. As it was there were only two flights leaving after the race. Delta to ATL and my flight to CLT. I wish I would have known I could have made the Delta flight, because for time's sake it would have been better, and SkyMiles are for more valuable to me than Dividend Miles. Hindsight is always 20/20. No worries. Beore this day I had only flown the A319 once in my life. Now I get 3 in one day. Talk about a turnaround.

...Rambling over...



We got a bite to eat at the Subway there since hadn't eaten all afternoon. We kind of hung around for a bit before heading to security at 6:20



The very small, one-laned entrance to security.



Gate 5 was our departure. I guess our A319 was special for the race because the gate is marked as US Airways Express.

Our aircraft didn't get there until about 7:00, but I didn't catch the registration. I ended up having to walk down a ways to see it as N769US. While we waited to board the airport was abuzz with corprate traffic, the highlight of which was the Roush 727, which was easy to hear takeoff. A classic.



US Airways Flight 1422

DAB-CLT

Depart DAB: 7:55 PM

Arrive CLT: 9:17 PM

Airbus A319 N769US



This must be a recent repaint because it was in the new livery, but no photos on the database reflect that.

Borading began a tiny bit late at 7:30, but somehow we got going early. I was rather surprised because people fail when it comes to getting on and off an airplane, normally.



My window view. Not sure about the light or why it's there.



My view just after the door closed from seat 14F



Little more legroom here than on the CRJ

We managed to wedge our way in all the post-race traffic when we pushed at 7:50 and made our way to runway 7L



A view of the track from the taxiway

Takeoff was good. I guess I should have expected that from a pretty short runway. Due to my lack of knowledge from a pilot's perspective I probably won't explain this well, but....here goes...He was very up and down on the throttles, and we started to climb steeper the farther out to sea we got (think an exponential function on a graph). Is there a reason for either of these?

We leveled off after an interesting climb at 33,000 feet and got drinks at 8:15, about an hour before landing time.



Some things never change.

We descended at 8:45 for landing on runway 23 and pulling in to gate B1. We had about an hour before our next flight, but that was about to change unbeknownst to us.

US Airways Flight 895

CLT-ATL

Depart CLT: 10:20 PM

Arrive ATL: 11:30 PM

Airbus A319 N742PS

PSA Heritage Livery



I'm pretty sure this was an equipment change. I thought it was odd to be close to flight time that there was no aircraft at the gate, and my checking of Flight Aware showed the flight was delayed. After some research and putting two and two together, turns out the flight is a continuation from Minneapolis (which was experiencing a blizzard at the time), and the first leg of that flight was cancelled.



Gate board



Much to my surprise this is what I saw out the window. I had never flown on a special livery aircraft before. Of course it looks like any other A319 inside, but it was still cool to me.

Boarding began at 10:15 (just 5 minutes before our original departure time)



Boarding our smiling PSA jet in Charlotte



My view from 15A

We were quite delayed already pushing back at 10:44, and apparently our timing was awful. As we taxied to runway 23 there was a giant line of landing aircraft, which we had to wait for, and we were number 5 in line on top of that. You win some you lose some I guess in those cases.

I guess we our pilots wanted to get beck to Atlanta ASAP because it was the best takeoff of the day. Much more powerful than any other flight.



I managed to take one picture (and my last one of the night) of the dark airplane. Really there wasn't much to see until we started from from 22,000 feet at 11:34. No drink service or any of that, so unfortunately this flight is without some detail. I can tell you that the lady next to me was in a very pissed off mood, though I'm not sure why. I figured that should be me since I was awake at this point for almost 24 hours.

We landed on runway 8L at 11:53 (the same one I left from early in the morning), and taxied to gate D23 (the same one I left from early in the morning). When we arrived there was only one gate crew working two gates, but they were occupied sending off an A320 somewhere (not sure where), which meant we had to wait. Luckily the train was working tonight because I was in no mood to walk, and I had to drive back to Athens because I had class at UGA at 8:00 that morning (since it was now past midnight).

I made it back to Athens in under 2 hours thanks to no traffic, arriving just before 2 AM. Suffice it to say I was a zombie the next day, but it's ok, because it was an excellent trip, and my first on US Airways in 10 years. I have my favorite airlines and favorite airplanes, but when you boil it down, I just love to fly (and who here doesn't?). I don't get to do it as often as I like, so when I do I try and savor it.

I hope my errors were kept to a minimum. I started writing this at 3:00 this afternoon and it's now 9:05 with a dinner break thrown in there. I apologize for any misspellings of words and grammatical errors. There are over 2600 words according to my word count, and surely they're not all correct.

Thanks for reading!


Patrick
Admin
Proud Member Since 2003



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/21/2011 08:07PM by N776AU. (view changes)
Re: A Trip to the Daytona 500. ATL-CLT-DAB-CLT-ATL
March 22, 2011 02:53AM
Nice to see your report up!

Quote

Music Theory at 8:00 AM on Monday morning
Eww. I am definitely not a morning person and if I get any 7 AM flight lessons, I make them reschedule me for something later. Fortunately, all the VFR flight classes are from 3:00 to 5:00, so I always sign up for 1:00 and 2:00 general ed. 1:00 is the earliest I have ever had classes at CWU! winking smiley

Quote

a personal best for most flights in a day with 4
You beat me. The most segments I've had in 1 day is 3, going PVD-CLE-PHX-ONT on COex, CO, and HP.

Quote

I was up and at 'em at 2:00 AM
Yikes! I would probably just pull an all nighter and wake up at 2 the day beforehand!

Quote

Looking down the very long hallway that runs end to end of the airport.
I really wish the good ol' people down at LAX would do something like this.

Quote

It's definitely not as nice say A or B.
Hmm. Basically looks like a slightly narrower, but much better lighted version of Concourse D in SEA.

Quote

The door logo that rather fascinates me.
I love their Heritage logo! I'm also the only one in my class who knows what all 5 of the airlines are. grinning smiley

Quote

It was almost serene.
It's things like these that make flying like nothing else and inspire a lot of people! I went to an aviation conference down in Reno a few weeks ago (didn't fly, so no report or anything cool! angry smiley) and it felt really cool to be at a conference full of people who were all aviation enthusiasts in some way, shape, or form, partially because of the great things you see up there.

Quote

I literally had to duck to get in to this plane, and could only barely stand fully upright.
Yes. I'm not the tallest guy but the ceiling was pretty low for me, much lower than the Airbus I had just stepped off of when I flew to BUR via SFO. When I flew on both of mine, I thought it was ridiculous that so many airlines are using these Barbie jets for so many of their flights. It's really sad that the glory days of Pan Am have been reduced down to this.

Quote

I'm digging the America West interior
I like their newer interior. However, the one time I flew HP was on an old 737-200 back in 2001 (still had the old colors) so the interior was old and was in need of replacing.

Quote

And a look out my misaligned and rather low window.
I really hate CRJs because of this! I was hoping that the CRJ-900 would've been better but I guess it's the same as the -700! How far did you have to look out?

Quote

Takeoff was ok.
The only thing I like about the CRJ though, is that the engine sounds good.

Quote

I take it US Airways has done away with snacks?
Most likely. AA didn't serve any snacks on my flights, even the international one, and US used to charge for all drinks in addition to food so I'd expect it.

Quote

Nice terminal, really, though very small.
Very nice. Looks almost kind of liek a mini version of PDX.

Quote

Our view of pre-race festivities.
Nice view and seats. Looks like nice weather too. How warm was it?

Quote

Back to the airport we walked
I'm assuming it couldn't have been too far of a walk because I saw the raceway while you were landing in the CR9 right?

Quote

I wish I would have known I could have made the Delta flight
What plane was it?

Quote

which was easy to hear takeoff.
The 727 is a fine piece of machinery; I just wish that I could've flown on one when I was old enough to remember it.

Quote

people fail when it comes to getting on and off an airplane, normally.
Watching people sometimes is so frustrating. You see moms with like 3 children running around wild and not following directions, people who put their bags in a compartment 6 rows ahead of where they sit, just because they think they see an empty slot and they need to grab it, most people don't put their bags in wheels first, and some people even have the wrong row or wrong seat!

Quote

He was very up and down on the throttles, and we started to climb steeper the farther out to sea we got (think an exponential function on a graph). Is there a reason for either of these?
Hmm. All I can really think of is to either help cut down on fuel a little bit, airspace rules, or in a doomsday situation, they may or may not have thought that something was not proper with an engine or one of the flight controls or instruments. (Not totally sure, and I don't even have my Private license yet! eye rolling smiley )

Quote

Some things never change.
At least it looks like that they did away with the advertisements on the tray tables. By the way, I was able to sample Delta's Biscoff cookies down at the Aviation convention in Reno, after seeing them in your reports! They are actually larger than what I had anticipated and they were quite tasty! I can see why so many people like them so much and even resort to trying to buy them. Definitely a welcome change from peanuts and pretzels.

Quote

I had never flown on a special livery aircraft before.
Were you excited? Also, were the wingfences painted differently than the other planes? I was really excited when I found out I was flying on AS's Disneyland 737-900. I also flew on WN's former Silver One, but that was back before I knew that it was a special livery. My mom told me that the plane was the "newer" paint scheme, and so the plane was also newer and therefore cleaner than the other ones. You gotta love aviation stereotypes from people who know nothing about it!

Quote

I was awake at this point for almost 24 hours
Yikes! I probably would have fallen asleep on one of these flights!

Good pictures, and the race looked like fun! How would you compare flying US to DL and the CRJ to the ERJ?





Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/22/2011 07:30AM by bluewhale. (view changes)
Re: A Trip to the Daytona 500. ATL-CLT-DAB-CLT-ATL
March 22, 2011 04:00AM
Quote

I would probably just pull an all nighter and wake up at 2 the day beforehand!
If I didn't have to stay awake for 24 straight hours I probably would have too. I think I got back to my room in Athens at about 2:30 the next morning.
Quote

I thought it was ridiculous that so many airlines are using these Barbie jets for so many of their flights
It makes booking harder for sure if you're trying to avoid them.
Quote

It's really sad that the glory days of Pan Am have been reduced down to this.
I never flew with Pan Am, but I've flown domestic widebodies back in the day. L-1011s to MCO and home from MIA. And imagine flying IAD-ATL on a 767-200! Definitely sad.
Quote

How far did you have to look out?
I had to hunch over pretty far, almost in the ear of the guy in front of me. On my takeoff video when my camera jerks back, it's because the seat in front of me reclined.
Quote

How warm was it?
High 60s-low 70s and not a cloud in the sky. Very nice all day long.
Quote

I'm assuming it couldn't have been too far of a walk because I saw the raceway while you were landing in the CR9 right?
Yep. They're on the same property. Probably a mile or so to our seats. The airport is behind the backstretch.
Quote

What plane was it?
An MD-88 I think. I hadn't gone through security at that point. During the race a 757 came and went. Kinda surprised me a little bit.
Quote

All I can really think of is to either help cut down on fuel a little bit, airspace rules, or in a doomsday situation
Airspace would be a good guess. To say the airport was congested after the race was an understatement, and everybody (including our flight) was going back to CLT. I'll assume it wasn't doomsday since I'm not dead yet
Quote

I can see why so many people like them so much and even resort to trying to buy them
Yes, they are absolutely excellent. They sell them here in stores (much cheaper than online) at Kroger and Ingles. Do they out West?

...And speaking of....

I found something at work yesterday:

I can't even begin to describe how good it is. It tastes exactly like the cookies (probably since it's just ground up Biscoffs and oil). I haven't tried it on a sandwich or anything. All I need is a spoon

Quote

Were you excited?
Yes I was. Given the time of day and the mood of everyone around me you would have thought I was high or something
Quote

Also, were the wingfences painted differently than the other planes?
I couldn't see well outside, but I think they were. A quick check of Airliners.net says yes.
Quote

and so the plane was also newer and therefore cleaner than the other ones. You gotta love aviation stereotypes from people who know nothing about it!
That's ironic you say that, because it was the dirtiest A319 I flew on that day. Not sure if that's just how it is or if it was a product of being an emergency sub.
Quote

I probably would have fallen asleep on one of these flights!
I thought I could, but when I couldn't I just tried to savor them. My brother and I split the drive back, each taking an hour. I pretty much was out during his hour to drive, and I never can sleep in the car.
Quote

How would you compare flying US to DL
Delta wins that battle by a mile, even starting at online check in. I printed 16 boarding passes (and only needed 8) before I finally got all the ones I needed. The interface was messy. I find Delta's to be very clean and easy.

SkyMiles have a minimum of 500 miles per segment. I joined Dividend Miles for this trip (because hey, why not?) and found there to be no minimum. And Delta gives you a hard membership card. With US you have to print it yourself. Not that the card is any kind of deciding factor, but it is nice to have one in my wallet.

Plus, snacks and PTVs in Y class for Delta.

Quote

and the CRJ to the ERJ?
CRJ wins that one. On the ERJ I had to duck rather than just being close to ducking, and I just felt the ERJ to be more constricting. It's kind of tough to explain without actually flying them.


Patrick
Admin
Proud Member Since 2003
Re: A Trip to the Daytona 500. ATL-CLT-DAB-CLT-ATL
March 22, 2011 07:29AM
Quote

Do they out West?
Haven't really started actively searching for them yet, but I do know that Walgreens sells them, and probably QFC (which would be your equivalent of Kroger) and for that matter, Ralph's down in California might too since it's also part of Kroger.

But wow, Biscoff spread! It must taste amazing with that slice of apple in the picture. Now I'm starting to think how good it would taste on toast in the morning when you're on the go. I'm not really a fan of breakfast but that would definitely do it for me!

Quote

Delta gives you a hard membership card.
That's really nice of them! Alaska doesn't do that and I'm not sure if they ever did. I might have gotten a membership card from them when my mom signed me up like 15 years ago, but if such a card existed, it's lost and long gone now.

Re: A Trip to the Daytona 500. ATL-CLT-DAB-CLT-ATL
March 22, 2011 09:41PM
Quote

Now I'm starting to think how good it would taste on toast in the morning when you're on the go
I need to try that. So far I've only had it straight. I would imagine it would be great on everything.
Quote

I might have gotten a membership card from them when my mom signed me up like 15 years ago, but if such a card existed, it's lost and long gone now.
I should take a picture when I go home. I have all of my super old SkyMiles cards. Even from the early 90s.


Patrick
Admin
Proud Member Since 2003
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login

Home - Forum - Upload - Admin - Contact - About