FIDAE – South American Airshow

Pictures from FIDAE 2014, an international air show in Santiago. Highlights included seeing a A-380 flying and maneuvering low, watching people pose with the Air Force pilots from Gringolandia, and chatting up private pilots from Chile and Argentina.

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Boston Harbor Cruise

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Heathrow Expansion

Lufthansa 747-400 on approach to LAX

Lufthansa 747-400 on approach to LAX

Despite their environmental harms, I tend to think airports are a pretty good idea.  The Great Park is okay, but building a small airport at the former MCAS El Toro for general aviation traffic would have been preferable and would have reduced the number of runway incursions at John Wayne.  Administrators at John Wayne tend to  blame the small planes but ignore the larger structural problem of combining heavy commercial and general aviation traffic at a tiny airport.  Instead of building a bunch of soccer fields and a giant balloon, it would have made sense to move general aviation traffic to El Toro, safely out of the way of the commercial flights at John Wayne.  Small recreational aircraft and charter planes wouldn’t have to deal with the constant “Caution wake turbulence” advisories from John Wayne Tower, and they would be able to clear the foothills that El Toro airport opponents claimed would doom any takeoffs.  The larger planes at John Wayne would have been safer without all the runway incursions.

While I tend to argue in favor of additional runway capacity, I do have to appreciate some of the tactics being used against Heathrow’s proposed third runway.  One of the more creative ones:

Greenpeace has quietly bought a field close to the site of the third runway, right in the middle of what would be the expanded airport.

The plan is to parcel it up into tiny squares, and sell them online to people across the world.

“The airport will have to buy the land back from Eskimos and people living on remote islands,” said one Greenpeace activist.  [BBC]


Cool Trip Back from New York

Megabus at 30th and JFK

Megabus at 30th and JFK

This evening, I returned from a trip to New York that will be my last for quite a while.  There were some enjoyable highlights on the ride back.  Of course, I got stuck in an aisle seat and out of respect of others’ personal space (which some of my fellow passengers seemed to lack), I couldn’t lean over to the window and snap any pictures.  What I saw:

  1. While I missed the moonrise last night due to clouds, I got an awesome view of a huge full moon rising over Manhattan as we emerged from the Lincoln Tunnel.
  2. Around Exit 14-14C of the New Jersey Turnpike, the lights of five planes on approach to EWR’s runway 4R could be seen stretching out in the distance.  They appeared to form a downward opening parabola, with the closest light about to land and the farthest just above the lights of the Goethals Bridge.  It almost looked like the lights of the bridge were flying off and skipping over to Newark.  Very cool.
  3. One of the tall gas flares at the Linden Cogen Facility had numerous strings of lights attached to the top, spreading out to form a circle at ground level.  That’s right, an illuminated petrochemical Christmas tree.  Only in New Jersey…
  4. We passed about 30 utility trucks and cherry pickers with their lights flashing heading north on the Turnpike.  Quite the convoy of reinforcements heading up to get the power back on up in New England.


The Commodore Barry Bridge and Southeastern Pennsylvania after a morning takeoff from PHL

The Commodore Barry Bridge and Southeastern Pennsylvania after a morning takeoff from PHL

This weekend will be sandwiched in between two trips to the West Coast.  I was home last weekend and will be in Las Vegas next weekend.  While I’ve enjoyed some pretty aerial views, that’s way too much flying.  I’m on track to have made 21 takeoffs and landings in 2008.  Can anyone say carbon footprint?