Saturday, July 30, 2011

Fort Lauderdale is back to normal operations....

The extensions to current high-speed exits and the new large high-speed exit on runway 9L are now completed, and Fort Lauderdale has resumed normal operations on the two 9/27 runways. This will carry on for a little while longer; the extension and widening of 9R/27L is the next large operation which will turn Fort Lauderdale into a single runway airport. When the work on 9R/27L starts, runway 13/31 will close completely. It certainly served well during the closure of 9L/27R.

This means that in the hot lunchtimes of Fort Lauderdale, I've been back to the usual viewing spot at the end of runway 9L to see what has been about.

The first is something I've been trying to catch for a couple of years now ever since Delta took delivery of their 737-700 aircraft - they have not been operational into Fort Lauderdale at all until now - operating on a Cincinnati-Fort Lauderdale-New York JFK routing which has them leaving FLL around lunchtime - so I was glad to check this off the list.

Virgin America is always nice to catch - their clean crisp colors are great to see.

For a couple of days in a row, it seemed like Fort Lauderdale was Learjet city - every business jet that seemed to be taxiing out was either a LJ45 or a Lj60. Lovely aircraft they are!!

With the final merger of Air Jamaica into Caribbean Airlines and the operation on a single operating certificate, the Airbus equipment that Air Jamaica used to operate has been returned to the lessors and Caribbean's all Boeing fleet has taken over. However, there has been a shortage of aircraft to operate all the flights, so there have been fillers in from Miami Air International (seen below), Sun Country (seen below as well) and North American for the JFK routes. For the Miami Air and Sun Country aircraft, this has been a chance to get some rare visitors to Fort Lauderdale.

The end of summer will hopefully be coming soon as we move into August and with that, hopefully the hot summer lunchtimes will give way to some cooler temperatures!

In the meantime, so more time spent behind the camera lens....

Friday, July 8, 2011

Finding Nirvana......A Shuttle Launch

I finally got to see something I have wanted to see since the first launch 30 years ago - the launch of a space shuttle. Friday July 8, 2011 will be a day I will remember for many many years to come. Two days before the launch date, a friend of mine called and said they were going to the launch with an arranged group and had a spare seat in their car. I couldn't say "YES" fast enough. The evening before the launch had me driving from home to the Space Coast knowing that there was only a 30% chance of the launch. Friday morning had us driving towards the facility watching patches of blue appearing in the sky. It was still touch and go the whole morning until the T-9 minute hold which lasts for about 45 minutes. During that hold, NASA announced that weather was a "go" - there were no technical issues. So, at 11:29 - 2 odd minutes after the scheduled launch time, Atlantis took to the skies as STS-135 - the final shuttle mission. For me who has followed this program since it's inception, this was the ultimate, Nirvana, whatever you'd like to call it - it was - a launch - my first ever, and the last ever - nothing to take that away....