Friday, April 25, 2008

Spot the airfield: Stuttgart

Sitting at the back of an airliner can be a rather frustrating experience for a budding pilot: no dials or gauges to look at, no radio to talk into and, to top it all, one can’t even look in the direction of travel. I’m usually a big fan of the aisle seat (can get up anytime I want for bio breaks), but on occasion I like to take a window seat, mostly on short daytime flights.

This is because I enjoy playing “spot the airfield”.

“Spot the airfield” is a game anyone with one functional eye and a boarding pass can play. The idea is to spot as many airfields as possible in the course of an airline flight. With the help of a digital camera, airfields can be later identified using charts and the ERSA, or even Google Earth. Identifying the airfield on the spot gives you extra points of course. Using the moving map on the in-flight entertainment system is considered cheating.

I took the picture below onboard a Lufthansa BAe146 on a flight from Marseille, France to Frankfurt, Germany. That's the only airfield I spotted on that flight, since we spent most of our time in clouds.

I had a suspicion this airport was Stuttgart, both because I knew our flightpath would take us near it, and the time remaining to Frankfurt (about 30 minutes) matched. A minute later I could see the nearby town.

I later confirmed using Google Earth that this was indeed Stuttgart, home of the German automotive industry. The brightly lit patch is actually the Mercedes factory, while the stadium above and to the right of it is the Gottlieb Daimler Stadion. According to Wikipedia, the two video walls of the stadium are the largest in Europe.

And you know what the good thing about flying Lufthansa is? Real good Warsteiner beer in glass bottles.

Plenty of airline flights planned for the next few months, plenty of opportunities to play "spot the airfield". Hope I get decent enough pictures to post them here. I used tips from the Plastic Pilot (here and here) to clean up the pictures in this post, I think I still have a lot of room for improvement. My camera is always bad in low lighting anyway, maybe time for an upgrade...

1 comment:

PlasticPilot said...

Julien, thanks for the reference, and glad to see there my tips can help !

Let me know if you're still in the Frankfurt area, as I live there now.