Sunday, May 17, 2009

Florida rainy season has started, ATC, and some information...

Well, according to the National Weather Service, the rainy season in Florida has started - it started last Monday. And, what has been evident is that it has decided to show itself at the most inopportune moments - like my lunch times that I get to go spotting at Ft Lauderdale!!

This week however, I was able to get out for a couple of days and it made for some interesting times. On one day, Tuesday, a rain storm formed to the west of the airport and aircraft were starting to fly through the storm. It led to one interesting conversion on the scanner:

FLL Lady Controller: Cactus 1995 (US Airways for those that don't know the calls signs - A 737-400 on approach), how was the rain storm?
Cactus 1995: Wet.
FLL Lady Controller: (Laughing) I guess I deserved that.
Cactus 1995: If you wanted to know the conditions, it was moderate rain and no speed variation and no turbulence

After the flight landed,

FLL Lady Controller: Cactus 1995, exit at Bravo 4, dry off, turn on Bravo and contact ramp control.

The storm was very evident as it grew in intesity a little, as shown behind this Air Canada A320 that was landing.

Which brings me to an interesting topic - the subject of air traffic controllers. I happen to know one who works at Newark and is one of my New York photography friends. Having a scanner makes it more intersting for spotting as I get to hear all the conversations, and there are funny ones, frustrated ones, angry ones and the normal run of the mill conversations which are by far in the majority. However, there are always controllers that seem to go the extra mile for crews - wishing them good flights, safe flights, thanking them for help, etc. At Ft Lauderdale, I have come to recognize two voices in particular, the lady from the conversation above and one gentleman who is always friendly. If anyone knows any of the people in the tower at Ft Lauderdale, I'd love to get a chance to meet these folks sometime - maybe even an interview for the blog - please contact me. Another case in point this past week, with the same lady controller, a US Airways A320 was on approach and a Southwest B737 took a little longer to role and take off, so she was forced to call a go-around for the US Airways flight.

As soon as the flight came around and landed, she gave them runway exit instructions and then immediately apologized for the go-around - at which point, the reply from the flight crew was "No problem". In a world where a lot of common decency has gone by the wayside, it's so nice to see things like this happen.

Special schemes this past week - only two that I caught, US Airways brought in the Carolina Panthers scheme

And Southwest brought in the Triple Crown plane - this I have shot before, but it has grown a pair of winglets since I last saw it.

Finally, this week, I got a new piece of equipment for my camera - a quick draw strap.

I have an Uncle (related by marriage) that is a professional photographer and adventurer. He sells these straps on his web site Roger Moore Photography and has some very interesting videos about the strap and the technique of hip shots - something I am going to try while we are away in St Louis for Memorial Day weekend. The strap is cheap at the price (I definately think) for $22.95. I urge all photographers who hate the strap around your neck to go right over to Roger's web site and check the strap out.

As noted above, this weekend is a holiday weekend in the US - Memorial Day, and our family will be sampling some Southwest hospitality between Ft Lauderdale and St Louis, so the blog may be a little later next week....

Another week behind the camera lens gone.....

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