I arrived at the airport later than expected — 7:45 am — Sunday, May 12, but just in time to see a Sun Country Boeing 737 at the terminal, engines spooling up, obviously ready to depart. At first I rushed to the office to get my Sony Cyber-shot, but when I arrived back outside, I could tell from the way it was taxiing, the “73” would be using Runway 22; not 31 as I had hoped. Another mad dash to my office connected me to my long-lens Canon EOS 20D. Returning outside, there was no rush because I knew by the time the rake-off roll began I would be in position.
For the first time since setting up AeroKnow Museum, the “position” would have me standing in the flatbed of my pickup truck, leaning against the back of the cab to be steady and looking across a nearby parking lot, hoping for a clean view of the 73 during acceleration on 22.
This was the best I could do. If I had wanted to photog it simply as it approached rotation speed, wheels firmly on the ground, I could have jogged, in the limited time I knew I had, to the distant hurricane fence that separated the rest of the airport from the parking lot. But if I had, the angle would have been bad for photog’ing after wheels left the ground. This lesson came early in my time out here, probably summer of 2010, our first summer at SPI. I knew he’d be on the ground all the way into the area blocked from my view by the airport terminal (which is fantastic, btw) and that he would be just into the air — inches, maybe a few feet — when he reappeared. Even then, initially, ground equipment would preclude camera action.
From the flatbed of my truck, I was elevated enough to view this much “clean airplane” above the fence. If my feet were on the ground, this would have been ALL FENCE. I knew this view was coming, I wanted it, and I was ready for it, fence and all. I was HOPING at this moment, he would rocket vertically skyward so I could get a few clean pictures before he was over Missouri . . . .
AGAIN, more fence, but it was close to the horizon, and I had a good angle on the 73.
Last of the series, this was cropped a mite, but that’s okay by me. There is no exaggerating his angle of climb here, and I like what can be seen of the top of the wings.
On the whole I was happy with this exercise in serendipity. I was there at precisely the right time, am reasonably pleased with the result and look forward to spending the rest of Sunday working on the museum, mostly upstairs. I will check the flightline frequently, alerted through open windows of the arrival of any “major muscle” on the ramp.