Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Switzerland from the air

I was in Switzerland recently where I spent a few days on a advanced diving course and then de-toured into Germany to see my parents.
The return trip from Zurich was in the morning and I was at the airport very early, so I decided to check out their observation deck that I read about on airport's website. I thought it would be some high structure away from all action. 2 Swiss Franks got me admission and having gone through security check, I was soon walking towards the deck. And walking… and walking some more, seeing some funny contraptions along the way.

After about a mile (on the top of one of the levels, so on a roof essentially), I came to the deck – which was almost right next to one of the runways. With the mountains in the background! I really missed my semi-professional camera and long lenses, but alas, with 3 overweight bags full of scuba gear, all I could pack was my little travel camera, Canon G9. The runway adjacent to the deck was used for landings and it was neat to see different names on the airplanes, compared to the familiar North American ones. They also had the radio transmitting the talk from the tower, so for a while I was back in aviation photography nirvana listening to conversations and shooting airplanes. Too soon it was time to leave least I’d be shooting my own airplane departing without me.
The weather was nice with little puffy clouds and as we climbed and turned, i could see the airport from my window.

We then flew over Zurich and Lake Zurich and headed towards the mountains. Soon afterwards, the sun was too bright to shoot anything.

Coming near Toronto, i was puzzled to see a dusty red layer immediately below the clouds. As soon as we went into that layer on descent, i realized, it must have been smog as the visibility below clouds was terrible. But it did not matter - i was home. This time for longer than a few days.

Frankfurt - Toronto from the air

Life never turns out the way you planned it, but I guess making the best of what’s thrown at you is part of the fun. I had all kinds of plans to start my glider training and finish my night rating, but life and family matters interfered causing me to be away more than home for the past three months.

"Away" meant Europe where i have travelled twice recently. This meant flying big airplanes, including 777 (as a passenger of course). On a recent trip back from Frankfurt (to see my Dad who is in cancer treatment in Germany), an approach pass went right over downtown Toronto and of course I had my camera ready.

Leaving Frankfurt:

Somewhere over Germany in rainy weather:

Breaking through clouds on descent to TO:

Flying over Yonge Street with downtown in background and another plane headed for parallell Rwy:

Downsview Airport: