Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Smokin' the tires

So anyway, I did this the other day:

While I'm not pleased at the prospect of replacing a $200 tire, it could have been worse:

It's commonly said that any landing that you can walk away from is a good one.
If the aircraft is usable again then it's a great landing. This one wasn't.

However, while contemplating the Baron's flat-spotted tire, it occurred to me that this could be the starting point for another photo spread. Nearly all of the photos I shoot are stills, and while there's nothing wrong with that, airplanes are not meant to be still creatures. They move, and that's the fascination with them. Some of that gets lost in still photography. There are some moments, though, where the action is strongly implied, even in a snapshot. The moment of touchdown is probably one of the best examples, as it's very transitory: blink, and you've missed it.

A microsecond too early:

An instant too late:

Just right:

An Allegiant MD-80 with Blue Man Group promotional markings

Southwest B737-700

United B757-200

China Cargo (callsign: Cargo King) MD-11; we're now seeing them here in B777-200's

Asiana B747-400. This is his second touchdown - he's just bounced, and will end up rolling all the way to the end of the runway

Air France B777-300 in their refreshed scheme. Air France operates -200s and -300s at LAX; we used to see B744s and A343s.

An early morning arrival: Avianca B767-200

Volaris A319 in LAX commemorative livery: LAX was Volaris' first US destination.

Skywest, flying as Delta Connection, CRJ9

KLM B747-400

Another early morning arrival: El Al B777-200

Qantas A380

Oh, and speaking of Barons . . . This is what a Baron looks like at LAX:


  1. And the flat spot comes from touching down on exactly the same piece of tire repeatedly? Maybe you need your tires balanced...

  2. I remember the smell of burnt rubber from heavies all the way at In n' Out from 24R arrivals, when the on-shore winds are strong.

  3. N: A flat-spotted tire usually results either from turning the plane on the ground by pivoting it around a locked inside wheel, or by locking up the brakes on landing roll (or landing with the brakes already on). This doesn't normally happen on airliner-type aircraft because they are equipped with anti-lock brakes. I would think that it would be hard to land on the flat spot repeatedly because in order to do so the flat spot would have to be the heaviest part of the tire, thus allowing it to be on the bottom when the tire quit spinning after takeoff. I suspect that in fact the opposite is true: that the flat spot becomes the light part of the tire, and so is unlikely to be landed upon twice. When I go to change the tire on the Baron, I'll try to remember to check its balance before I pull it off; I'm guessing that the flat spot will end up facing up when the tire quits spinning.

    Blue Wave 707 : In-N-Out . . . Double-Double animal style . . . mmmm . . .