Saturday, February 5, 2011

Bird's Eye View

From far the picture on the left might look like some angel opening her wings or a base jumper with these flying squirrel suits, but it is in fact the camera view from the back tail of the Airbus 340-600. If you have not flown in one before, then you might not have seen this or be aware of the fun of having this view in front of you. The camera is situated on the back vertical wing of the aircraft and the image can be seen on the entertainment screen in front of each passenger. What is nice about this is that you can watch all the activity going on outside while everyone else is still boarding and be the first to know once the cargo door has been closed and/or when they remove the staircase. This means that you are very close to departing. Unless you see the cargo door open again and a few guys going inside to search for the luggage of yet another passenger that has checked in but never managed to find the departure gates. It is also very interesting to see the take-off and when the wheels are pulled in. Even in the air you can see oncoming planes and other UFOs approaching from the front at sound barrier breaking speed. Fortunately I have never seen that one before. Then of course when coming in for the landing you can get some idea of how hard the landing is going to be...or in a worse case scenario whether the captain had indeed remembered to let out the wheels or not. On shorter runways it could be quite exhilarating to see the end of the runway approaching very fast while the aircraft is still moving at around 200 km per hour. This might give you a second or two head start to get into the brace position before the captain shouts over the intercom for everyone else to do so. Flying can be fun, you just need to know where to find it on your aircraft. On the Airbus 340-600 it is right in front of you. Bon voyage. 

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