At the end of the last post we had arrived in Tokyo on the third leg of this trip. Today finds us in Tokyo again. I see a pattern rotation developing. The past three days were spent flying a round trip to LAX.
The first leg was fairly uneventful, the way you would want all your flights to go. As the junior copilot, I ended up with the first break, lasting one third of the planned flight time of 9:12. That part of the flight turned out to have the majority of the turbulence that we encountered and was the reason I got no sleep at all. We were flight planned on a route that took us across the north-central Pacific to just west of San Francisco. From there we were cleared direct to Avenal for the Sadde Six Instrument Arrival with vectors to runway 24R. The weather at the time of our arrival was calm winds, 1300′ overcast and 2 1/2 mi visibility in haze and a solid marine layer covered the entire valley. We were sequenced behind a B-757 and told to keep our speed up at 190 knots until the final approach fix. It seems that no matter how much you brief the arrival and approach into LAX, it always feels like a goat-rope when you get in close. The controllers are just trying to keep the traffic moving as smoothly as possible, but you end up descending earlier than planned or slowing early or both, with a possible speed-up in the middle as a hole opens in the line of traffic. Of course, our arrival time didn’t appear to be in their quiet period, either. Everything settled down as we turned onto the final approach course and the landing turned out fine. We even exited the runway before the last exit, not something that we manage to do very often on this 8900′ long runway.