Saturday, May 15, 2010

Take-off and Landing Direction

I received this email:

"Dear PT, Please tell me, how do I get to know which way the airplane will pass during take off in Manila? You see, I do not fly as much as you do, but when I do, I'd like to maximize the views especially when my children are travelling with me. For example, when we take off at NAIA, sometimes the plane goes from South Super Highway towards Manila Bay, sometimes its the other way around. Sometimes its even from Baclaran towards Merville and over Laguna Lake. I/We would like to know so that we can choose window seats with the best view of the city and all those things below. Thanks, RC"

Hmm, that's a very good question and at times, I too, would like to maximize the views esp during late afternoons to early evenings. While am not good at the photo or video department, looking at a city during take-offs or landings could be mesmerizing - thus, memorable! And I thank RC for asking that question. Here I go:

Wind. Yes its all about wind direction. Planes would usually take off towards the opposite direction of where the wind blows. I hear from pilot friends that they need the wind to give their planes a boost during take-off. More wind blowing into the wings of the plane is better so that it can climb faster as it has something to climb on (the drag?). BTW, that is also the very same thing they need for easier, safer and comfortable landings. That means, if a plane takes-off from east to west, another one will land also from east to west - considering wind does not change direction.

So, for purposes of getting the good views, here's what's best to do:

On approach to the airport, look up to planes taking off or landing and note their direction. If they're flying off from the highway to the bay and you want to see Roxas Blvd during your take-off, then choose a window seat on the right side of the plane.

If you are at other more remote airports where flights come far in between, just look for that conical orange cloth waving out in the runway. Hard to miss as its color is really bright. They call it a wind cone and it serves to tell everyone which direction the wind is blowing. And that is towards where the tip of the cone is. Your plane will most likely take off from that end of the runway where the tip of the cone is pointing. So choose your best seat based on what you want to see.

Oh, if there is no wind cone, try looking at other things that indicate wind direction like trees swaying, flags or even birds having a hard time flying against the wind!

BTW, talking about that runway from Baclaran towards Merville... its always like that. Of late, I have not seen a big passenger plane taking off in the opposite direction. And that is usually the path that cebu pacific's planes take. Thus, during take off, your view to the right are the then Nayong Pilipino, Centennial Terminal and NAIA 1 while to the left are Makati, The Fort and the Highway - to me, both offer good views!

Oh while we're in this topic, you may want to also check-out the good take-off and landing views at other cities in the country. I like many of them

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