Airplane Spotting at DFW in January

February 1, 2009 on 1:00 am | In Airplane Spotting | 4 Comments

I got a new Olympus SP550-UZ camera at Christmas time. With 18x optical zoom, it was a huge improvement over my previous camera, an Olympus C2100-UZ. But after testing it out at DFW at the end of December, I realized I needed just a hair more “oomph” and bought an Olympus TCON-17 1.7x teleconverter. That did it.

Plane spotting at DFW is always a bit boring for long stretches because you get to watch American Airlines’ MD-80 and B737 aircraft land all day long with very few other airlines to break things up. On this visit, I managed to catch the AA PinkRibbon Susan G. Komen Embraer RJ once more. I captured a Sun Country Airlines 737, an Airtran 717 and a Lufthansa A340 all taking off or landing on the far runway from Founder’s Plaza. Previously, they would have been a tiny spec in my camera.

I also saw a hawk standing in the field at the foot of the runway watching both us, the spotters, and the aircraft landing. It seemed like it wondered what the big deal was. One of the DFW fire trucks came by on the service road and goosed his fire pump as he went by much to my surprise. I just happened to be taking a photo of him anyway and got the water spraying out although only close up instead of from far away.

The other catch was a China Airlines Cargo B747-400. We visit a secluded area to shoot from that requires us to drive past the air cargo area on the west side of the airport. As we drove by, we saw this huge aircraft parked and pulled over to take photos. While doing so, I noticed it was buttoned up completely and running its APU and figured it would be taking off soon. It did but took nearly an hour to do so.

We also saw three corporate jets take off one after the other. You can see them HERE, HERE and HERE. Both my wife and I had the odd feeling of almost a race the way they took off and quickly turned south by southeast. About 20 minutes later, my wife guessed it. They were the wealthy taking off for Tampa and the Superbowl. I’m sure she is right. They took off so fast that I was only able to get one good photo of each.

 

Take a look at this PHOTO.  The aircraft seems to either be coming straight at me or aimed just to the left of me.  In fact, the runway was to the right of me.  The crosswinds for that runway (13R-31L) must have been pretty high today.

One final observation. I’ll be sorry to see the Northwest Airlines livery fade away into Delta. Northwest has, in my opinion, one of the handsomest liveries on a US Airliner and it is a shame that Delta isn’t even retaining some small portion of the logo.

You can view all of the photos HERE.

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Anubis Photo

January 1, 2009 on 1:15 pm | In Airplane Spotting, Airports | No Comments

It’s 2009 and I still think putting this statue at the viewing center (or anywhere else on airport property) was stupid.   And the candy cane is just plane dumb.  It shows a lakc of sensitivity to travelers with other beliefs and thoughts.

 

I’m sure that the city of Dallas (which owns the Dallas Museum of Art and is a co-owner of DFW airport) wanted to promote the King Tut exhibit currently on display but airport managers didn’t really want such a statue on the premises so it was given a spot at Founder’s Plaza.  However, sometimes you just say no.

 

Anubis Statue

 

 

 

 

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Airplane Porn

December 30, 2008 on 10:50 pm | In Airplane Spotting, Airports | 1 Comment

I went to DFW Airport this afternoon to see a family member off on their flight home.  Since I was there, I decided to visit the Founder’s Plaza viewing center and take some photos with my new (to me) Olympus SP-550UZ camera.  It has a 18X optical zoom (equivalent to 28mm to 504mm 35mm lens) and a great reputation for its dual image stabilization.

 

Before anything else, let me comment on these photos.  First, this was my first practice run and there are some not so good ones.  Second, there are some worth pointing out as well. 

  • It still excites me to catch a photo of tire smoke as an airplane lands.
  • American Airline’s Susan G. Komen EMB-145 is one that I caught but, sadly, slightly out of frame.  When I shot it, I didn’t notice the pink ribbon or I would have shot another photo. 
  • United Airlines has some of the dirtiest aircraft out there now and it is likely it isn’t noticed too much because they have that truly awful paint scheme to distract you from it.
  • I got an AA B777 accidentally.  I literally just pointed and shot the photos without knowing what it was at first.
  • The Alaska Airlines B737-900 is my family member departing.
  • ATR-72 aircraft are very frequent visitors into DFW now.
  • That Anubis Statue is still a very strange thing to have at Founder’s Plaza particularly since it was placed there to advertise the Dallas Museum of Art’s King Tut exhibit and it would do a far better job placed at the north or south entrance of the airport.
  • DFW is still one of the more boring locations for airplane spotting simply because of the ubiquitous AA MD-80s.

 

So, without further ado, here are the PHOTOS.

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Interesting Day For Andrews Air Force Base

November 14, 2008 on 1:16 pm | In Airline Fleets, Airline News, Airplane Spotting, Trivia | No Comments

Using FlightAware.Com, I’ve been able to see some (but I don’t think all) of the government flights from around the world heading to Washington D.C. for the G20 Economic Summit.  So far, I have identified these:

 

The British Prime Minister on British Airways Flight 001

 

The Indian Prime Minister on Air India Flight 001

 

The Argentinian President on Aerolineas Argentinas Flight 1001

 

The President of the Indonesian Republic on Garuda Indonesian Flight 001

 

The President of South Korea on Korean Airlines Flight 63

 

The Prime Minister and his government on Japanese Air Force Flights 1 and 2

 

The Russian President and his government is on the Russian State Transport Flight 9031 and Russian State Transport Flight 9001.

 

The Saudi Arabian government is flying in on Saudi Flight 1B

 

The Chinese government is flying in on Air China Flight 17

 

The President of Mexico is arrving on Mexican Air Force Flight 001.

 

No doubt there are others that are not being tracked inbound. The mix of aircraft will include a 777, several 747 aircraft, Airbus A330 and A340 aircraft, a 757, IL 76, IL 62 and IL 96 aircraft from Russia and even a 747-SP (Saudi Arabia).

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Plane Spotting – doesn’t include Ewan McGregor

August 3, 2008 on 5:02 pm | In Airplane Spotting | No Comments

My wife and I went on a peace-keeping mission yesterday by visiting DFW airport to do some plane spotting. She’s actually quite enthusiastic about these trips and, I hate to admit, is better at framing a shot of an airplane than I am. Damn it.

 

We have 4 locations that we often visit. You can see them all on this Google Map.

 

Yesterday, we visited the Temporary Founders’ Plaza location for about 5 minutes to see who was on the northwest freight ramp. We were hoping to spot a China Cargo 747 that was scheduled to take off about 20 minutes after we arrived. We didn’t see that airpane but we did see a UPS 747 on the ramp (a passenger conversion of a 747-200) and a North American Airlines 757 at Terminal B (Braniff’s Old Terminal 2W).

 

We then went to Minter’s Chapel Cemetary located on DFW property on the southwest side of the airport. From here, you can view spectacular take-offs and the occasional aircraft taxiing by. Unfortunately, this location generally offers many different varieties of American Airlines aircraft and very little else.

 

There were 2 particular airplanes we wanted to try to get today. A China Cargo 747-400 and a British Airways 777-200ER that were scheduled to take off. The first was the China Cargo and it never did. I had my laptop connected to the internet via my cell phone but flight in FlightAware.com never changed its schedule and never showed itself as having taken off.

 

After more than hour of photographs, we were leaning against our car in the shade and suddenly my wife asked “What is that airline?” and pointed. Ummm, it was the British Airways 777 we were waiting for. By this time, I had lost the batteries in my camera so she took the photos with OK results. (It was a long, long shot for her camera.)

 

After getting that photo, we decided it was time to pack and leave. As we were putting together our things, I looked to the northwest and saw this rather large aircraft coming in for a landing.

 

Me: “Hey! That looks like a 747 coming in!”
Carolina: “Yup. We aren’t going to miss it like all the other 747s are we?”

 

You see, we have this history of leaving the airport, looking over our shoulders and seeing a 747 coming in for a landing. Not a good history but a history.

 

After landing and taxiing, we discovered it was the China Cargo 747 and was just late arriving so its takeoff clearly was going to be late too.

 

There is some good news. DFW is nearly finished building a NEW Founder’s Plaza (See the Google Map for the location) at a new location that is on the northwest side of the airport. It is nearly adjacent to the UPS freight facility and practically in front of runways 18R and 18L.

 

Here are some selected shots from both this trip and one we took about a month ago. Click Here.

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Airbus A-380 in the NYC area

August 1, 2008 on 9:21 am | In Airplane Spotting | No Comments

An Emirates Airbus A-380 is landing at JFK airport for the first time today.  The flight is scheduled to arrive at around 4:45pm EDT.  As big as that aircraft is, I actually think it would be worth looking up now and then from 4:00pm on just in case.

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