Tag Archives: landing

Landing a Southwest 737 in a Crosswind

This Southwest 737-700 was completing a test flight at Paine Field.  The crosswind was pretty strong so the pilot used the wing down approach to handling the crosswind.  They touched down on the starboard gear and bounced a bit before settling those wheels on the surface.  A short while later, they rolled wings level and the port gear made contact.  Aside from the bounce, a pretty good example of landing in a crosswind in a big jet.

Landing the Balloon Where You Can

I posted about the hot air balloon over our town in this post.  At the end of that post, the balloons was descending behind the trees for a landing and I was driving off to find them.  It turned out that I had forgotten about a field between the rail tracks and the highway.  I came around the corner and the ballon was on the ground but upright sitting in the field.  It looked pretty incongruous.

I was clearly not the only person intrigued by this as a bunch of vehicles had gone down the normally quiet road alongside the field.  The team was actually still burning as they maneuvered the ballon to the edge of the field to give themselves space to deflate it.  Most people got bored with the view, but I decided to try and get photos and video of the whole sequence of deflating the balloon.  The light was fading rapidly at this point.

A bunch of the crew grabbed the lines to the top of the balloon as the top vent was opened up.  The balloon started to sag rapidly but, once they pulled it over to a certain point, the vent was too low to let the warm air out.  Then they waited while another person gathered up the envelope and squeezed the remaining air out.  Finally, it sagged to the ground and the final gathering up was quickly completed.  By now it was quite dark, and I figured it was time to go home.  I am not aware that they use the field to land normally.  I wonder if this was a bit of an urgent landing as the light was fading fast and the low winds were limiting options.

The Significance Wasn’t Known at the Time

These shots aren’t particularly nice but, at the time I took them, I didn’t realize that they would be a bit more significant for a friend of mine.  He was a skipper for Virgin Atlantic and making his first run to Seattle.  I went out to get his arrival despite it being a bit gloomy.  We met up afterwards for a beer and some food.  He flew back the following day.

Since that time, the airline business (along with many businesses) has taken a bad turn and Virgin Atlantic has been getting rid of staff.  My friend was eligible for retirement and decided to take it.  Consequently, this flight turned out to be the last landing he made in his commercial flying career.  The return leg landing was made by another member of his crew.  It would have been nice if the conditions were better but I am glad I was there to see it.  Happy retirement Chris and see you soon I hope!

So Close to a Gear Up Landing

A gear up landing is never something you want to have.  What is worse is doing it in front of a lot of people.  However, the crowd can sometimes be a benefit.  The open house at Paine Field included some flybys by various types and one Navion was the last in his group to recover.  Coming down the approach with flap deployed but no gear he looked very odd.  I imagine the horn should have been blaring but, whatever the reason, he continued.  Much frantic waving by the crowd and a call from the air boss had the desired effect, fortunately.  A go around ensued followed by a normal approach a landing.  I understand many beers were bought that night.

Another Go at 777-300ER Rotations

Getting repetitive here.  My never ending quest to capture and demonstrate the unusual gear articulation of the Boeing 777-300ER gets another outing.  Similar animation of some stills as before.  This time the light was good and the distortion was limited so here we go again.  I won’t bother with the technique aspects this time.  Instead, here is the animation with the rotation about the rear axle pretty easy to see.

Section Training

B11I5727.jpgIn my previous visits to Tucson International, I have never seen jets taking off or landing as pairs.  It has always been single jets.  This time I had a couple of times when section takeoffs were carried out.  There also appeared to be some arrivals in pairs too.  Nothing too dramatic but a bit of a change from what I have seen there before.

Coolest Landing Light

AE7I5266.jpgWhile walking along the ramp at Davis Monthan I was looking for different shots of the A-10s that were arriving for Hawgsmoke.  The lights on the nosewheel of the A-10s have been replaced with an LED based solution.  This is clearly not the original light.  It actually looked to me like it was a circuit board rather than a cluster of LEDs.  I didn’t see it lit up but I don’t doubt that it’s bright.  I just think it looks rather cool.

AE7I5267.jpg

A330 Wheelies

AU0E9692.jpgI have seen a few Airbus A330s landing recently and they have a slightly unusual landing approach. I am not sure whether this is a feature of the design, the training techniques for the pilots or just a random occurrence that I have seen more than my fair share of. The planes appear to do a wheelie as they land. They have two main gear legs with a four wheel bogie on each. As they touchdown, they seem to hang on the rear wheels longer than would seem normal, even as the aircraft is de-rotating.  Meanwhile, the reversers will start to deploy (sadly not in any shots I have) so there must be enough weight on wheels to trigger their activation. Gradually the jet sinks down on to all main wheels and the nose lowers.

Pairs at SFO

C59F3434.jpgThe layout of SFO with the two pairs of cross runways makes for some operations that are quite specific to this airport. At peak times, parallel approaches are made to the 28 runways from along the bay shore. These approaches require the following plane to make sure it does not overtake the leading plane. I don’t know for sure but I imagine the choice of which side leads is based on the wind direction so the wake turbulence doesn’t affect the downwind plane.

C59F5718.jpgGetting them close together is the goal as a photographer. Often they end up being separated by a lot more than you thought. When further out things look like they are close but then the approach turns out to be more offset than you expect and you don’t get a good shot when they come in to land.

C59F2343.jpgArrivals aren’t the only parallels though. The departures are sent of the 01s from both sides. The clearances are usually offset and the thresholds are slightly different so the planes often get airborne well apart. However, that is not always the case and sometimes you get what amounts to a formation takeoff. Once airborne, the planes turn to increase their separation. Getting a shot of them close together is something to try for if you can. They are too far away when they take off to be a great shot individually but getting both in frame certainly makes for a more unusual shot than is the case for most departure procedures for big airliners.

Interesting Landing Technique

AU0E8322.jpgThis guy landed at Half Moon Bay while we were there.  I have to admit I thought I was taking pictures for the accident investigation at first.  However, he maintained this pose all along the runway until he turned off and apparently had done it earlier.  I guess he had a lot of elevator authority.  However, whether it is a good idea is a very different question.