Boeing View 2006

Comments and observations from the tubular perch


Chicago Orange Morning

Oct 26, 2006

CockpitPano1280.JPG (167562 bytes)2006-10-26-SWA-MDW-FLL 020-small.jpg (110944 bytes)One cool thing about this job is climbing through the gloom into some incredible skies. The sun illuminates clouds on both top and bottom when conditions are right as they were this morning.

"If you gotta work!"

That flight headed down to Fort Lauderdale, FL where it was, no surprise, sunny and beautiful with only the usual beach cu's forming. We took off on runway 9, to the east, and got an eyeful of shoreline. A couple miles out, the pictured ship was heading off to some distant port. After turning back towards the west we started punching through these cumulus in a graphic illustration of why it's a REAL bad idea to be flying a PPG in the clear canyons between them.

Fortunately, there were no imbedded paramotor pilots and the flight back up to Chicago's gloom was just the way we like it. Boring. Wet, too, drizzle and low clouds made it great to leave. St. Louis wasn't much better, though.

Lo and behold there's a baseball game going on here. Yup, the World Series, it turns out. I should really follow that stuff a bit closer.

Raleigh to the Northeast

Sept 30, 2006

The East coast is frequently shrouded in clouds, especially during summer thunderstorms. But occasionally even those clouds can splash gorgeous scenes on cockpit windows. A low sun is indispensable for making the most of light and this morning was no exception. The lack of light makes sharp images hard to capture because the shutter stays open forever. Our human eye is indeed a marvel with its ability to function so well with so little light. One day camera technology will reach that level but that day remains a dream.

The Heads Up Display's (right middle) coolest feature is that you focus on the outside and still see the display's clearly. Low light is good for seeing the symbology although it does work in bright sun, too.

As the sun rose, the colors faded but some still-cool scenes appeared as we descended towards New York City. 

These clouds tend to hit back so we avoid flying through them whenever possible. Of course we have to listen to our air traffic control friends, too, since hitting aluminum is also pretty bumpy. 

The rest of the legs going into Chicago were more like being  the filament in a frosted white light bulb. Not much to look at but these treats made up for it.

RDU-PHL-PanoDisplay.JPG (37126 bytes) HUD.jpg (110278 bytes) CloudsPano.JPG (37357 bytes)

San Diego, San Francisco and the Fires

Sept 22, 2006

During clear days, leaving Oakland's runway 29 is an enjoyable departure. We almost always use that runway which means we launch right at San Francisco. Then they turn us towards the city then veer us down the coast whenever we're headed south. It really is a spectacular view that this pictures barely capture.

ff2006-09-21-SWA 010.jpg (189097 bytes)ff2006-09-21-SWA 013.jpg (106964 bytes)ff2006-09-21-SWA 019.jpg (107671 bytes)ff2006-09-21-SWA 031.jpg (290457 bytes)

1. Cool coastline. 2. Waves of white. 3. Fires raging. 4. Torrey Pines?

2006-10-27-SWA-STL-PHX 030sm.jpg (80907 bytes)2006-10-27-SWA-STL-PHX 035-sm.jpg (44753 bytes)2006-10-27-SWA-STL-PHX 036.jpg (369089 bytes)2006-10-27-SWA-STL-PHX 009sm.jpg (87900 bytes)

Fatal Fire From 10,000 Feet

Oct 27, 2006

Today's flights extricated us from the wet gloom of Saint Louis to the scorched hillsides of Southern California. The fires actually consume a miniscule percentage of land but are putting out copious amounts of smoke. Santa Ana winds, where air flows from the highlands down towards the ocean, make matters worse and we could smell the results after landing at Orange County airport which is probably 20 miles west of the blazes. This conflagration, reportedly the crime of an arsonist, has now claimed 4 lives from the firefighter ranks. Sad indeed. 

The fire pictures were taken as we overflew Palm Springs, descending into Orange County.

Next is a banking shot from the prior leg into Phoenix. Warm sunshine is the rule here and today followed it nicely. This is looking southwest from a point about 15 miles northeast of the airport. There are Indian reservations scatter about and they are clearly delineated by the lack of development. They have to be relishing their open space amidst the now-surrounding suburban sprawl.

The last shot is during a flight from Orange County up to Oakland, CA. It is the valley north of Los Angeles where the Paratoys Port Uaneme (sp?) fly-in was held several years ago. A number of pilots fly this area regularly.

ffOakland.jpg (194581 bytes)This Google Earth map (click to show full size) shows Oakland airport so you can see the area.

The View

1. Looking down runway 10. If you're were soaring the "Dumps" on Thursday, Sept 22 around noon, I flew right over you. Thanks for not getting up in this airspace. Admittedly that would be tough, altitude here is about 12,000 feet.

2. Clouds make visible the air's interesting behavior. The wind is blowing off the water so waves have no obvious source. Could it be like the bow wave on a boat? The mountains are like the bow and the onrushing air show's it's action as it approaches.

3. From the air, these raging fires appear as little more than a smoldering landscape. At night you can see the destruction-causing flames and imagine the searing ugliness that they portend.

4. Normally we're much lower than this and it's real easy to pick out world-famous Torrey Pines. But today, we were held up high and it's not obvious what Golf course this is. At the time I was certain it was Torrey but, looking at the picture, it's hard to tell.

Leaving San Diego in the morning was anticlimactic. A marine layer prevented any good pictures (or sightseeing) and, by the time I could see the ground there was but midwestern flatness. Not that there's anything wrong with such flatness, it just doesn't make for interesting high-altitude photography.

Handling Weather

June 23,  2006

Handling weather in a jet is blessedly easy. Go around it. 

The reason why airlines complete such a high percentage of flights is because they can pretty easily go around any nastiness that can't be easily topped. Almost any thunderstorm worthy of the name is bigger than we're willing to go over and these beasts usually travel with their buddies.

One day coming out of Tampa, there was quite an array of ugliness putting the drench on Florida's west coast. Handling it, however was brainless: point the nose into blue sky, sit back and enjoy the show. Radar is good, but, as the saying goes "a peek is worth a thousand sweeps." Sweeps of the radar, that is.

At night, the show is impressive. Big storm lines well up in advance of a cold front and put out lightning strikes almost continuously. It looks like a choreographed light show missing its musical score. Radar is welcome at night since the storms can be wet, tall and ugly before they produce lightning.

2006-06-22-WeatherFL.jpg (185580 bytes)
Nope, don't wanna go through any of that!


Another Perspective

May 24, 2006

I'm blessed to have the world's best job. Flying airplanes for a living is still work - about the 4th time to Detroit I'm ready for a break - but most of the time it's quite enjoyable.

It also provides a great platform to pick out new launch sites and see an incredible variety of weather. The thundercloud panorama at right was the scene on a recent flight between Los Angeles and Chicago. We give these things quite a wide berth, you can imagine why they wouldn't be good to tackle with a powered paraglider!

The next photo was from a group of clouds that wanted to become a thunderstorm but didn't.

ThunderBumpus.JPG (193732 bytes)Rockies.jpg (145721 bytes)MountainsSkiResorts800.jpg (237279 bytes)


May 24, 2006

While looking for powered paragliding sites, it became clear that these hills would do much better for sliders than flyers. This ski slope is just west of Denver, CO.

Altitude was 40,000.


Napkin Art

June 17,  2006

Southwest Airlines, now celebrating it's 35th year, was founded on a napkin. Some aspects of its operation cling to the napkin for various uses including in the cockpit. When flight attendants count passenger heads, they write the number down on a "revenue napkin" that details the count, special requests and other information required by the pilots. It's the "revnap."

Sometimes they get creative but none more than that seen on a recent flight from Las Vegas to Chicago. Just before pushing back from the gate, our A (lead) flight attendant dropped off the napkin and my jaw dropped. I couldn't believe my eyes and I certainly couldn't throw it away!

Susan Larrabee turns out to be quite the talent with a colored pen. While some find amusement in front of the telly, she finds it at the end of a pen and we, the pilots, get to marvel at her artistry. 

She gave me permission to put some of her creations here. Amazingly, these are usually used only once. A shame, to be sure, although I'm sure many pilots keep them as little memoirs of their Southwest experience, made even more unique by this talented young lady.

NapkinArtBySusanLarabe800.jpg (252411 bytes)NapkinArt2bySusanLarabe800.jpg (173873 bytes)
A talented Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant 
shares with her fellow crewmembers.


Chicago Cloud Mountains

May 30,  2006

These are as beautiful to look at as they are ugly to fly through. The good thing about the Boeing is that it's real easy to give them plentiful berth.

2006-06-02-Harryport640Clouds.jpg (50564 bytes)2006-05-28-PBI 027-640.jpg (83972 bytes)

Beach Bummin

May 29, 2006

Now this is how to do an overnight!

Thanks to the generosity of Dave Cole, I was able to bum a "ride" in the Palm Beach area and get some PPG flying in. I flew his I-flyer snap 100 and Fly Products Kompress. 

This glorious view was from one of several trips down the beach. Trevor flew out a tank of fuel and Dad Dave flew tanker to retrieve his powerless son.

Grand Titons

May 13, 2006

What's in a name? I mean really, they must have been named by the same guy of phonetic alphabet fame who came up with "romeo" and "juliet."

These are actually some mountains east of Denver that we flew over in May. 

Snow. Blech! 

But the mountains are sure beautiful.

MountainsLenticular+OtherClouds004-640.jpg (85383 bytes)

2006-10-26-SWA-MDW-FLL 036-small.jpg (49869 bytes)

2006-10-26-SWA-MDW-FLL 028-small.jpg (50559 bytes)

© 2016 Jeff Goin & Tim Kaiser   Remember: If there's air there, it should be flown in!