[meteorite-list] Shuttle Carry

From: cdtucson at cox.net <cdtucson_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Wed, 17 Jun 2009 12:20:40 -0700
Message-ID: <20090617152040.EGZ1P.426082.imail_at_fed1rmwml34>

Simon, List,
Thank you for that but many on this list know me and unfortunately I was not the author or pilot. This was a forward intended only to share with the List. Sorry for any confusion. Thanks Carl

---- Simon <sbdeboer at wightman.ca> wrote:
> HI Carl : I am an organic farmer in Ontario Canada, I really enjoyed
> your account of bringing the shuttle back on the 747, I guess we're all
> good at whatever we do but I can just imagine the stress involved in your
> mission. You must be well paid to be able to do an assignment like that.
> Thanks for giving us an inside feel of your job .
> Regards
> Simon
> -----Original Message-----
> From: meteorite-list-bounces at meteoritecentral.com
> [mailto:meteorite-list-bounces at meteoritecentral.com] On Behalf Of
> cdtucson at cox.net
> Sent: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 1:42 PM
> To: meteoritelist
> Subject: [meteorite-list] Shuttle Carry
> Enjoy.
> Well, it's been 48 hours since I landed the 747 with the shuttle Atlantis on
> top and I am still buzzing from the experience. I have to say that my whole
> mind, body and soul went into the professional mode just before engine start
> in Mississippi, and stayed there, where it all needed to be, until well
> after the flight...in fact, I am not sure if it is all back to normal as I
> type this email. The experience was surreal.
> > >> >
> > >> > ?Seeing that "thing" on top of an already overly huge aircraft
> boggles my mind. The whole mission from takeoff to engine shutdown was
> unlike anything I had ever done. It was like a dream...someone else's dream.
> > >> >
> > >> > ?We took off from Columbus AFB on their 12,000 foot runway, of which
> I used 11,999 1/2 feet to get the wheels off the ground. We were at 3,500
> feet left to go of the runway, throttles full power, nose wheels still
> hugging the ground, copilot calling out decision speeds, the weight of
> Atlantis now screaming through my fingers clinched tightly on the controls,
> tires heating up to their near maximum temperature from the speed and the
> weight, and not yet at rotation speed, the speed at which I would be pulling
> on the controls to get the nose to rise. I just could not wait, and I mean I
> COULD NOT WAIT, and started pulling early. If I had waited until rotation
> speed, we would not have rotated enough to get airborne by the end of the
> runway. So I pulled on the controls early and started our rotation to the
> takeoff attitude. The wheels finally lifted off as we passed over the stripe
> marking the end of the runway and my next hurdle (physically) was a line of
> trees 1,000 feet of
> f the departure end of Runway 16. All I knew was we were flying and so I
> directed the gear to be retracted and the flaps to be moved from Flaps 20 to
> Flaps 10 as I pulled even harder on the controls. I must say, those trees
> were beginning to look a lot like those brushes in the drive through car
> washes so I pulled even harder yet! I think I saw a bird just fold its wings
> and fall out of a tree as if to say "Oh just take me". Okay, we cleared the
> trees, duh, but it was way too close for my laundry. As we started to
> actually climb, at only 100 feet per minute, I smelled something that
> reminded me of touring the Heineken Brewery in Europe...I said "is that a
> skunk I smell?" and the veterans of shuttle carrying looked at me and smiled
> and said "Tires"!
> > >> >
> > >> > ?I said "TIRES??? OURS???" They smiled and shook their heads as if to
> call their Captain an amateur...okay, at that point I was. The tires were so
> hot you could smell them in the cockpit. My mind could not get over, from
> this point on, that this was something I had never experienced.
> > >> >
> > >> > ?Where's your mom when you REALLY need her?
> > >> >
> > >> > ?The flight down to Florida was an eternity. We cruised at 250 knots
> indicated, giving us about 315 knots of ground speed at 15,000'. The miles
> didn't click by like I am use to them clicking by in a fighter jet at MACH
> .94. We were burning fuel at a rate of 40,000 pounds per hour or 130 pounds
> per mile, or one gallon every length of the fuselage. The vibration in the
> cockpit was mild, compared to down below and to the rear of the fuselage
> where it reminded me of that football game I had as a child where you turned
> it on and the players vibrated around the board. I felt like if I had
> plastic clips on my boots I could have vibrated to any spot in the fuselage
> I wanted to go without moving my legs...and the noise was deafening. The 747
> flies with its nose 5 degrees up in the air to stay level, and when you
> bank, it feels like the shuttle is trying to say "hey, let's roll completely
> over on our back"..not a good thing I kept telling myself. SO I limited my
> bank? angle to 1
> 5 degrees and even though a 180 degree course change took a full zip code
> to complete, it was the safe way to turn this monster.
> > >> >
> > >> > Airliners and even a flight of two F-16s deviated from their flight
> plans to catch a glimpse of us along the way. We dodged what was in reality
> very few clouds and storms, despite what everyone thought, and arrived in
> Florida with 51,000 pounds of fuel too much to land with. We can't land
> heavier than 600,000 pounds total weight and so we had to do something with
> that fuel. I had an idea...let's fly low and slow and show this beast off to
> all the taxpayers in Florida lucky enough to be outside on that Tuesday
> afternoon. So at Ormond Beach we let down to 1,000 feet above the
> ground/water and flew just east of the beach out over the water. Then, once
> we reached the NASA airspace of the Kennedy Space Center, we cut over to the
> Banana/Indian Rivers and flew down the middle of them to show the people of
> Titusville, Port St.Johns and Melbourne just what a 747 with a shuttle on it
> looked like. We stayed at 1,000 feet and since we were dragging our flaps at
> "Flaps 5", our spee
> d was down to around 190 to 210 knots. We could see traffic stopping in the
> middle of roads to take a look. We heard later that a Little League Baseball
> game stop to look and everyone cheered as we became their 7th inning
> stretch. Oh say can you see...
> > >> >
> > >> > ?After reaching Vero Beach, we turned north to follow the coast line
> back up to the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF). There was not one person
> laying on the beach...they were all standing and waving! "What a sight" I
> thought...and figured they were thinking the same thing. All this time I was
> bugging the engineers, all three of them, to re-compute our fuel and tell me
> when it was time to land. They kept saying "Not yet Triple, keep showing
> this thing off" which was not a bad thing to be doing. However, all this
> time the thought that the landing, the muscling of this 600,000 pound beast,
> was getting closer and closer to my reality. I was pumped up! We got back to
> the SLF and were still 10,000 pounds too heavy to land so I said I was going
> to do a low approach over the SLF going the opposite direction of landing
> traffic that day. So at 300 feet, we flew down the runway, rocking our wings
> like a whale rolling on its side to say "hello" to the people looking on!
> One turn out
> of traffic and back to the runway to land...still 3,000 pounds over gross
> weight limit. But the engineers agreed that if the landing were smooth,
> there would be no problem. "Oh thanks guys, a little extra pressure is just
> what I needed!" So we landed at 603,000 pounds and very smoothly if I have
> to say so myself. The landing was so totally controlled and on speed, that
> it was fun. There were a few surprises that I dealt with, like the 747 falls
> like a rock with the orbiter on it if you pull the throttles off at the
> "normal" point in a
> > >> >
> > >> > landing and secondly, if you thought you could hold the nose off the
> ground after the mains touch down, think again...IT IS COMING DOWN!!!
> > >> >
> > >> > ?So I "flew it down" to the ground and saved what I have seen in
> videos of a nose slap after landing. Bob's video supports this! :8-)
> > >> >
> > >> > ?Then I turned on my phone after coming to a full stop only to find
> 50 bazillion emails and phone messages from all of you who were so super to
> be watching and cheering us on! What a treat, I can't thank y'all enough.
> For those who watched, you wondered why we sat there so long.
> > >> >
> > >> > ?Well, the shuttle had very hazardous chemicals on board and we had
> to be "sniffed" to determine if any had leaked or were leaking. They checked
> for Monomethylhydrazine (N2H4 for Charlie Hudson) and nitrogen tetroxide
> (N2O4). Even though we were "clean", it took way too long for them to tow us
> in to the mate-demate area. Sorry for those who stuck it out and even waited
> until we exited the jet.
> > >> >
> > >> > ? I am sure I will wake up in the middle of the night here soon,
> screaming and standing straight up dripping wet with sweat from the
> realization of what had happened. It was a thrill of a lifetime. Again I
> want to thank everyone for your interest and support. It felt good to bring
> Atlantis home in one piece after she had worked so hard getting to the
> Hubble Space Telescope and back.
> > >> >
> > >> > ?Triple Nickel
> > >> >
> > >> > ?NASA Pilot
> Carl Esparza
> IMCA 5828
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Received on Wed 17 Jun 2009 03:20:40 PM PDT

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