Published: Sun, September 10, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Delta Crew Navigates Calm Pathway In Hurricane Irma

Delta Crew Navigates Calm Pathway In Hurricane Irma

A San Antonio businesswoman hunkered down on Puerto Rico on Wednesday and rode out Category 5 Hurricane Irma.

Sylvia Arias was born in Youngstown, grew up in Puerto Rico and lives back here now. Many people were stranded on the island as airline companies chose to cancel their flights after warnings were issued.

Aviation reporter Jason Rabinowitz tracked the tricky flight using FlightRadar24 and provided live commentary on Twitter. "Everyone else has turned around", he said".

DL302 departed San Juan with 173 passengers on board, according to Delta.

With no time to spare, the pilots quickly took care of business on the ground and got the plane back in the air by 12.41pm, FlightAware reported.

The writer tweeted updates as Delta Airlines Flight 431, headed from John F. Kennedy International Airport to San Juan, became the lone airplane headed into the path of the hurricane.

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The flight crew that brought the plane safely into San Juan was relieved by a second crew that flew the plane back to NY.

While the move appeared gutsy, Delta officials later downplayed the incident - saying its staff was "armed with the latest forecast from the airline's meteorology team". From landing in the midst of the fierce "Irma" to flying out just in time everything was nail-biting. Winds were well below operating limits for the 737-900ER to safely operate at around 28 miles per hour, and gusts up to 36 miles per hour.

"They took a hard look at the weather data and the track of the storm and worked with the flight crew and dispatcher to agree it was safe to operate the flight", Snell said.

The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang reports that San Juan was hit by historic winds of up to 62 miles per hour later that same day.

Conditions were ramping up as the aircraft left San Juan, with winds buffeting trees at the airport and dark clouds hanging overhead. "It was nail-biting, like, can they actually get back into the air before the personnel in the air traffic control tower evacuates and shuts down the airport?" he added.

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