Monday, June 8, 2009

Titanic of the sky

Emirates A380...we were on the move so its not a great shot

June 1st marks the beginning of the month, for obvious reasons, but it also marks another beginning in Toronto in the form of a 13 hours and some minutes long flight from Dubai to Toronto in one of the biggest, well THE biggest, commercial airliner right now...The Airbus 380.

My friends and I were only a few out of the many, at least a couple hundred spectators of the long awaited first arrival of the A380 to YYZ, Pearson International. Emirates sure have a lot of money buying Airbus' vision of world travel in the A380. I heard somewhere that the Emirates A380 only serviced 4 international cities in the world. One of which was New York City in JFK before but now switched it to Toronto's of the best in the world.

The travel to YYZ was hectic, and taking the 401 wasn't the best idea we made that day...if you know Toronto, you would know how the 401 is even early afternoon it's still one of the busiest commute out there. However, after the almost constant 40-60 kph (25-35 mph) on the 401, we end up missing the appropriate exit and it actually rewarded us because it was almost bumper to bumper at that exit. We took a detour to another intersecting freeway, a U-turn and on to another exit which was probably the only reason we got a glimpse of the giant that was about to smack Pearsons recently reinforced tarmac.

There was also the chase and suspense of not knowing which of three parallel runways (06R, 06L or 05) it was going to land on. The winds that day were pretty much a direct crosswind for these three runways but for some reason Tower decided to switch runways from the more usual 24s and 23. A lot of people were upset about that move, but the chase continues. After stopping near the approach path for 06L, a few onlookers with receivers cursed, and yelled, some even wept (maybe not) that Emirates Flight 240 was cleared to land 06R.
So on to my friends car we went, and drove down the street, immediately stopping at a nearby Burger King as we see the SHIP slowly sailing down the approach path of 06R. It was huge, and surprisingly quiet. And I can safely say that the bigger the airplane on approach, the more it seems to be floating in mid-air stationary in its position as it goes short final for the runway.
Air Transat A310
After the whole ordeal, we took pictures and plane spotted a few other airplanes...but none had the same impression as the first A380 in YYZ. Then we met up with another friend who had airside of the whole event because he was part of Airport Watch, a bunch of aviation enthusiasts and pilots alike who volunteer to keep an eye out for Pearson whenever they pass by, and report anything that seem suspicious. To their undivided efforts, they get rewarded to witness the whole spectacle of the A380 landing and water salute from Pearsons finest as it taxi to the gate.

An hour after Tower decided to go back to using runway 24s and 23. They sure had fun teasing those people that waited near the approach path for these runways. O well, we then spotted more airplanes, looking for good spots to SPOT and take some pictures.
After all of it, it was time to go home, and the drive home was well...we drove back on the 401 at evening rush hour...

And so our journey and the whole day's worth of events came to an end. The long awaited ship has come and gone, and even though it may be compared to as the Titanic of the sky, I hope to never hear about an iceberg making it sink to the depths of the Atlantic...which was the unfortunate fate of an A330 in the form of Air France 447.