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Update on Flight Team Travel Home
Tuesday did not quite go as planned.
We left under cloudy skies but thankfully no thunderstorms in the DFW area. We heard later there were tornado sirens, strong thunder and lightning storms and pounding hail. So many American Airlines airplanes were damaged by hail – second day in a row – that the DFW airport may be out of service today, Wednesday. Whew!
However with strong headwinds topping 60 knots (67mph) at times, strong mountain wave air movement and in some cases severe turbulence, our progress West was slow and painful.
All the planes except mine stopped for fuel. I arrived at Dona Ana airport (near Las Cruces NM) first and landed in gusty crosswinds. When all our planes were on the ground we cancelled the remaining flights, tied the airplanes down and went to (another) hotel. Dust storms were predicted for later in the afternoon.
In all it has been a draining, but rewarding experience for our pilots. They encountered conditions on this trip that they would never be faced with in a training environment and they handled it beautifully. With everyone tired and pretty much beat up from four and a half hours of turbulence, we felt it far safer to ground the planes, get some rest and start out Wednesday morning with calmer winds.
Lord willing, with lighter winds we will be home today (Wednesday)!