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Coronavirus evacuation flight question

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Coronavirus evacuation flight question

Old 29th Jan 2020, 15:50
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Coronavirus evacuation flight question

CKS371 (Kalitta Air), an evacuation flight from Wuhan, just landed at March ARB in Riverside, CA (east of LA). They stopped in Anchorage to refuel and screen all 201 passengers. All tested negative for CoV and allowed to continue to California. The aircraft was a 747-400(F), N705CK.

My question as a private pilot and airliner enthusiast- both legs were filed and flown at FL270. Other 744's and 748's on the same route at the same time were at the expected FL330-400, and previous flights flown by N705CK were also at higher, "normal" altitudes. The lower altitude does not seem to be related to winds aloft, weather, or a limitation of this specific tail number.

Any ideas on why they flew at this low altitude?

Local ABC news coverage, reasonably accurate: https://abc7.com/health/americans-fl...ounty/5888390/
N705CK flights: https://www.flightradar24.com/data/aircraft/n705ck

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Old 29th Jan 2020, 16:11
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Originally Posted by kenish View Post
CKS371 (Kalitta Air), an evacuation flight from Wuhan, just landed at March ARB in Riverside, CA (east of LA). They stopped in Anchorage to refuel and screen all 201 passengers. All tested negative for CoV and allowed to continue to California. The aircraft was a 747-400(F), N705CK.

My question as a private pilot and airliner enthusiast- both legs were filed and flown at FL270. Other 744's and 748's on the same route at the same time were at the expected FL330-400, and previous flights flown by N705CK were also at higher, "normal" altitudes. The lower altitude does not seem to be related to winds aloft, weather, or a limitation of this specific tail number.

Any ideas on why they flew at this low altitude?

Local ABC news coverage, reasonably accurate: https://abc7.com/health/americans-fl...ounty/5888390/
N705CK flights: https://www.flightradar24.com/data/aircraft/n705ck
If it is a freighter the lower cruise level will be a legal requirement to do with lack of pax oxygen masks in case of a depressurisation.

Last edited by The Banjo; 29th Jan 2020 at 16:14. Reason: .
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Old 29th Jan 2020, 16:40
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Originally Posted by The Banjo View Post
If it is a freighter the lower cruise level will be a legal requirement to do with lack of pax oxygen masks in case of a depressurisation.
Oh, of course....didn't think about that. Thanks!
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Old 29th Jan 2020, 18:00
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Yea, Kalitta only operates freighters - and unless they've added something recently their 747-400Fs are purpose built freighters, not conversions, so they don't even have the longer upper deck.

201 passengers - I wonder what sort of passenger provisions they added to the main deck? That's a long time in the belly of the beast - been there, done that (in less than comfortable seats) hated it...
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Old 29th Jan 2020, 19:27
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"All tested negative for CoV"
Should that be "All showed no symptoms of CoV?"?
I thought a blood antibody test was just being developed, to detect the virus before symptoms appear. It is infectious before symptoms show.
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Old 29th Jan 2020, 19:40
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Originally Posted by tdracer View Post
Yea, Kalitta only operates freighters - and unless they've added something recently their 747-400Fs are purpose built freighters, not conversions, so they don't even have the longer upper deck.

201 passengers - I wonder what sort of passenger provisions they added to the main deck? That's a long time in the belly of the beast - been there, done that (in less than comfortable seats) hated it...
Delivered to Korean Air in 2001. It's a 747-4B5FSCD (B5= Korean Air F=Freighter SCD= Side Cargo Door). It's not a conversion.

I don't know much about main deck provisions on the cargo version....if it has the same seat track rails as the passenger version, then seats can be added quickly. No overhead bins/ PSU's and probably only the single upper deck crew lav for all the passengers, and no galleys. (Someone probably did a Costco run before they dispatched the plane from their Michigan base to Wuhan).

A photo into the cockpit shows the crew in bio suits. You're right...a flight worse than Spirit Airlines or EasyJet, but lifeboat passengers aren't picky. I heard the crew gave a "Welcome to the USA" announcement after landing in ANC and the passengers cheered. Other countries are operating evacuation flights as well.
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