I have always considered Cleveland Hopkins Airport as one of the most treacherous airfields I have flown in to. The field configuration – runways and taxiways – look like they were laid out by Charles Manson, when he was off his meds. I always felt I had to be on my “A Game” when I went into Cleveland – even on clear, sunny days!
Then there was the Northeast Ohio weather to contend with. It could be ‘dicey,’ as it was one night when I flew into Hopkins with Russ.
Russ was a former F-105 driver, who I held in high esteem. He had been around the airlines a bit, and I was very comfortable flying with him. Actually enjoyed our flights together. When we went into Cleveland this one night, it was his approach and landing – and I thought nothing more of it.
The weather that night was ‘treacherous’ at best. Snowy, gusty winds, limited visibility, and turbulent all the way in. And Russ was working his ass off just to get to the runway! During the flare and subsequent landing he really had his hands full of jet (DC-9). But he got it down. It wasn’t “pretty” by any stretch, but he got it down.
As we cleared the runway, he looked over at me, with sweat running off his face and said, “You probably should have taken that one, Sir.” And he was right! LOL!
After that approach and landing, taxing to the gate was a piece of cake that night – snow, ice and all! Still laughing…