In my last blog I mentioned that Delta piled a bunch of us into 767's recently and took us out for touch & goes... yes, it was a ball. The airline used several airports to accomplish this training, including Lansing, Saginaw, Toledo and Grand Rapids, all of which I've visited in my DC-9 and 727 days. Other fields were utilized nearer Minneapolis for MSP based 757 pilots as well. Certainly, the simulator training that we'd accomplished in January satisfied the three takeoff and landings within the last 90 days aspect of the FAR's, but Delta went a step further by actually exposing us to a real airplane. Although expensive I'm sure, it was money well spent; at least from a pilots perspective. Our accountants I'm sure have another view of this, but Flight Operations/Training prevailed and valuable experience was garnered by those of us new to this type. Today's simulator technology is great, but there's nothing like the real thing; particularly when the airplane is catered too.
Effective May 1, 2010, when I show up for a 757 trip, a 767 may be awaiting me at the gate. That's why all of this training is taking place. As you know, the 757 and 767 are a common type rating.
I'd also mentioned that we'd noticed airplane photographer's gathering at specific locations around the airport as our training progressed. In fact at one point the tower asked us how much longer we'd be training, as I'm sure they were receiving phone calls about our presence. These small groups swelled as word got out that "Delta trainer one heavy" was in the neighborhood. Much to my pleasure, I've recently heard from Greg Peters in GRR who has shared some of his photography with me.
Take a look at Greg's work as we practiced Takeoffs & Landings
Delta trainer one heavy just feet above the runway.
Greg worked for Northern Air at the Grand Rapids airport for many years, servicing airliners, corporate and other private aircraft. His duties included loading, fueling, deicing and towing. As a diversionary airport for Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland, his exposure was great and he developed a fascination with transport category airplanes.
Straight ahead to 400' than a left turn to the crosswind leg.
He purchased his first camera in 1989, upgrading quickly to a Nikon SLR. He went digital in 2003 with a Nikon D70, has never taken any instruction and learned by experience. I can relate to that, never having taken any lessons myself, but I've driven a lot of people crazy with questions.
Today, after generously giving the D70 to his wife, he's shooting with a Nikon D200 with two primary lenses; a VR 75-300 and an 18-135. Here he's captured one of us after landing, standing the throttles up, retracting the flaps and accelerating towards V1. The shots that I post on my blog are all shot with a little Nikon P5000... I need to catch up with Greg!
Greg left the FBO in 2003 and works today at Grand Rapids ARFF (Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting) on a 10 day, 24 hour per day rotation, and according to him, "it's the best job ever." I love people who enjoy their work and apparently it offers sufficient opportunities to satisfy his photographic interests.
There were nine captains aboard this training light and when not in the cockpit, explored the cabin with another Delta flight instructor. But as I'd mentioned the aircraft was catered so we did this with coffee and a bagel in hand. And guys complain about training!! And yes... I like airline coffee.
On the go approaching the localizer antenna
Greg mentioned that he has some 7,000 digital photos cataloged and has saved all of his slides from his pre-digital days and that he always... ALWAYS has a camera with him.
Looks like fun doesn't it?
Both the flying and the shooting.
Thanks very much to Greg Peters for sharing his photography with us and to all of those who visited recently from AIRLINERS.NET. Would you like to see more great aviation photography? Then click over to AIRLINERS.NET to see some of the best aviation photography available on the net and participate in some of their interesting forums.
Now click here to watch the first scheduled 767 landing at DCA as Delta flies the River Visual Approach to land on 6,869 foot runway 19. In a heavy!
Plane Spotting is a huge hobby. I see spotters and photographers all over the world as I land and taxi about, at mostly larger, international airports. In fact a few years ago when NWA flew its last DC-10 flight from HNL to MSP, throngs of spotters and photographers surrounded HNL for its departure. More with long lenses anxiously awaited its arrival in MSP.
Here's just one photo of NWA flight 98, aircraft 237NW, pushing from gate 11 at HNL for the last time. Do you see the 757-300 in the background with its taxi light illuminated? That was me, inbound from SEA. An aircraft spotter sent me this photo a couple of weeks after this flight. We'd been asked to hold our position as the Ten pushed back.
I set the brake, grabbed my camera and took this shot while we held. Somewhere over there is the fellow who took the previous photo! Unfortunately darkness was beginning to descend over Oahu and my shot isn't particularly good, but it's historic so I've saved it. My friends at AIRWAYS Magazine published in February 2007, what has become a DC-10 collectors issue, addressing flight 98 and NWA's DC-10 history. They were nice enough to include my thoughts about flying this fabulous airplane in that issue. So it appears that I'm an aircraft spotter too, only from a little different perspective. I hear from aircraft spotters regularly, in fact I wrote this article for AIRWAYS in November 2008, concerning some I've met in Dusseldorf, Germany.
As usual, thanks for following along.