Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Heavy Metal

It's been a gray week at LAX; what we call 'June Gloom' has arrived early this year. I guess that's to make up for last year, when it arrived in August. As the airport is just off the beach, we're often afflicted with the fog or low clouds associated with the marine layer. As the day warms up, it sometimes burns off inland, but there are days that it never clears the airport. This creates the odd scenario where arrivals can get in quicker than the departures can get out thanks to the arrival end of the runways being clear, whereas the departure end is obscured. Photos taken in these conditions tend to be less than ideal:

Yesterday, however, while things were a little better, what prompted me to pull out the camera was the departure of an Antonov 124. We get an AN-124 passing through LAX a couple of times a year, so while not unheard of, it is sort of a special occasion.

This was my initial view of the AN-124: Parked on the Imperial Terminal ramp, across the south runway complex from the tower.

Right after sun up, we have a flock of cargo departures:

Besides the cargo guys, sun up also heralds a wave of air carrier departures, most of them bound for hubs or the east coast:

A little side note: This AirTran B737 is on departure roll. These guys always roll long: Compare to the previously shown departures, all of whom were well airborne by this point (the AN124 hasn't moved in any of these shots). Every AirTran flight I've ever been on has been completely full, and by the looks of it, so is this one, leaving for Atlanta.

About the time that first wave of departures wraps up, we get the first of our down-under arrivals:

The Antonov crew timed their departure well, for by the time they were ready to go we were into the breakfast time lull. Good thing too, since for some reason every AN-124 I've ever worked required four minutes in position on the runway before starting takeoff roll, and this one was no exception. I have yet to get a good explanation for why this is so; the joke yesterday was that that's how long the prayer takes.

It flies!

1 comment:

  1. One of those UPS guys looks as if it dragging its tail on the runway!