Wednesday, July 19, 2006

"Airside", Again

My contact at DFW, Ken Sodergren, finally got released from his midnight shift, opening the door for me to do another ride-along yesterday. Uh, the temperature was 107. Just perfect for standing next to runways for 2 hours.

Before we went out, Ken showed me something I had never seen. It was the communication center for the airport. Interesting stuff. It looked like a war room. A huge TV screen dominated a wall...tuned into CNN. Smaller screens framed it, and they showed various airport operations. The room was dark, eerily lit by computer monitors monitored by the personnel. An adjacent space was literally a war room, with tables, chairs and maps. Draped on each chair-back was a safety vest with someone's last name stitched on. I queried Ken as to what sort of situation would put this room into action. "Hijacking?" "Of course."

We had a great time, heat notwithstanding. Because of the problem of heat haze, Ken had no choice but to get me as close as he could to the action. He edged me a few dozen feet from runway 17R and I captured the photo above, a Lufthansa heading nonstop to Frankfurt.

At 107 degrees, I don't blame them for getting out of town.

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