Friday, December 21, 2007

Ah, 'tis the season!

I've ejected the last student from the bus for 2007 and now can settle in for some serious good times. Fortunately, the weather is gonna be perfect for a photography outing at DFW tomorrow. WHAT? (you say) Temperatures dropping through the 40's with winds up to 40 mph? Has someone spiked Tim's eggnog?

About 4 times a year, conditions like this will hit DFW - huge winds out of the northwest or west. Usually get a couple days like this in the spring and a couple during the winter. We had one two Saturdays ago and I skipped the outing due to an impending head cold. I won't miss tomorrow.

Why is this great for photography? As you know, aircraft land into the wind. DFW's runways are configured north/south. But tomorrow's high winds will be counted as "crosswinds" since they are going to northwesterly. This makes landings very problematic on north/south runways. The aircraft are very vulnerable to winds as they slow their speed to land. Crosswinds get up under the wings and try to flip the plane over. That won't happen, of course, because to some extent, pilots can make adjustments. But on very high wind days, there will be many go-arounds (where the landing is aborted and the plane has to circle in for another try). Pilots and airlines hate go-arounds because of the havoc they cause to schedules and the extra fuel they burn.

What DFW will do at some point tomorrow afternoon is to route as much of the incoming traffic to two runways that are configured NW/SE, 31R and 31L. They aren't thrilled with this prospect because those runways are shorter that the others. But the intense headwinds tomorrow, that won't be a factor.

Here's where I come in. There is a little public cemetery near the numbers on 31L. If all of this happens as I think it will, I'll be parked in the cemetery and have fantastics views of incoming aircraft, many of which will still be struggling with the wind. I'll be struggling with the wind myself, trying to hold a camera with a zoom lens steady in the wind. I can't wait. Maybe I'll have pix to share in upcoming blogs. Maybe I'm crazy for standing outside in horrendous conditions. Or maybe I'll get a cover shot.

1 comment:

Lynn Leaming said...

Hope you have a really fun day!
Will look forward to seeing the pics.