Thursday, 10 February 2011

Airbus A320 - Twilight from the flight deck

The view from an office usually gets fairly boring and pretty much never changes. Well, unless you're an airline pilot.
Most people know what the usual office looks like, but they don't realise how good it can get up front in the flight deck of an airliner. We still call it an office since this is where we work, although it doesn't have a lot in commun.

Even when we fly the same routes everyday, the view does change a lot, depending upon the time of the day, and the time of the year.
In fact, the view alone is a great factor in making the flight deck of an airliner an amazing place to be in.

Pilots are often said to be dreamers, or people enjoying a bit of magic. When you get to see such views, you certainly understand why.

The twilight over the French Alps does catch your attention.
The sun is cracking the horizon and you suddenly get that truely superb golden light, spilling an intense orange light over the cockpit.
The Alps shape starts to form over my right shoulder, and Lake Geneva gets in sight.
Almost all the South-East part of France is covered with a thin layer of fog, adding to the beauty of the scene.
This is one of those moments you'd like to last forever, but at 600 miles an hour Paris is coming up very fast.

Airborne life continues...

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Paris CDG - ATC visit

Thanks to a friend Air Traffic Controller, I got the opportunity to visit the CDG ATC once again (first time was with the International Air Cadets meeting in Paris (IACE)).
We spent a couple of hours in the night-used Central control tower.

During the day, there is one tower in use for each of the two doublet runways. The North one controls runway 09 Left and Right, for wich most aircraft go and depart from Terminal 1 and 3 (long haul foreign airlines flights).
The South one controls runway 08 L and R, for planes taxiing to and from Terminal 2 and S3, the Skyteam hub (mainly Air France).

There is a traffic tower, further East of the Terminal 2 and it is used for ground control only.
And then, there is a fourth control tower, right in the middle of the airport, used at night as a central tower while North and South towers are closed. That's the one we went in, allowing us to chat without disturbing anyone.

Fairly lucky today since the weather was actually good in Paris, apparently it does happen every now and then. I'm being sarcastic actually, the weekly forecast are more spring-like, perfect timing this is!

I managed to get a few decent shots, with quite a few twin-aisle airliners departures including a Singapore Airlines A380, a lot of 772 and 773, a few 747-400 and 747F, the US carriers 757 and 767, lots of ATRs and ERJs, and countless A320 series aircraft.
CDG being one of the busiest airports in the world, there is a lot going on all day long, to my greatest delight!

Airborne life continues...