In the United States, August 19 is National Aviation Day. Established by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1939, it is a day for us to reflect on and celebrate the history of aviation, as well as its role in our lives today. Perhaps not-so-coincidentally, it is also Orville Wright’s birthday. How did we mark the occasion at the airport? More on that in a moment, but first…
We Have A Winner!
At the end of last week’s blog I encouraged (OK, fine – cajoled, begged, badgered) you to let me know which mini Boeing should grace my desk at work – the 747 or 787. Well the results are in and the winner by a respectable 43% is THE QUEEN OF THE SKIES!
Don’t feel bad Dreamliner fans – she’ll continue to brighten up my living room from her location right next to everyone’s favorite ground support vehicle – the stairs truck!
National Aviation Day at the Airport
You’d probably expect an airport to take full advantage of National Aviation Day by engaging with passengers and employees to celebrate all the ways in which aviation inspires and connects us. There’d be balloons and confetti! Or maybe a couple of posters. Or perhaps an email? Or… yeah, you guessed it – there was no mention of National Aviation Day at all. At least not in any organized way.
One-Woman Aviation Celebration
Well you know I wasn’t about to let National Aviation Day go by without acknowledgement, ESPECIALLY not at the airport! So I built some biplanes (no, not real ones – I’m not THAT talented), brought in mini-cupcakes, wrote an announcement on my white-board and invited everyone to join in the celebration. I also brought in my mini-747 and gave it a place of honor on my desk. I wasn’t sure how my coworkers were going to take all this celebrating – as you know, most of them aren’t avgeeks. But then I got an email from a supervisor actually thanking me for being passionate about aviation! The email went on to say that it’s easy to get caught up in all the day to day work and it is good to be reminded about an event that recognizes and celebrates the aviation industry. Wow! That totally made my day!
Happy National Aviation Day everyone! After all, for avgeeks and aviation enthusiasts all around the world, EVERY day is aviation day!
As I’ve mentioned before, there’s never a dull day at the airport. Think things might slow down a bit over the summer? Nope! Here’s a look at some things I’ve been investigating recently, along with another installment of random airport trivia.
The Mysterious Wall Debate – Resolved!
If you follow me on twitter then you may have participated in a recent discussion over the purpose of this wall:
The wall: not near the start of a runway, nor near any gates, nor near GA parking. What the heck is it for?
It is located next to an open grassy area, at wide point along the apron so that it is in the vicinity of gates but not close to them. Airplanes come and go past the wall all the time and are sometimes pushed back near to the wall but never directly in front of it. I have wondered for quite some time what purpose the wall serves. The majority of twitter friends felt that it is most likely a jet blast deflector or blast fence. I wasn’t so sure. For one thing, it is in a strange location for a blast fence. For another, the only thing on the other side of it is grass , which is not something that generally needs protecting. And NO all you smart-alecs out there, the wall is NOT there so ground crews can hide stairs trucks from me. I finally got the answer directly from our good friends over in Airport Operations. Drum roll please…
Fire up those engines!
It is a run-up wall! In some airports blast fences are used as run-up walls so those arguing that it must be a blast deflector are partially correct. At my airport the purpose of the wall isn’t to contain jet-blast – it’s to contain jet SOUND. Aircraft that need to test their engines (up to 80% of max) park behind the wall, which deadens the sound and prevents the neighborhood across the way from being disturbed. It does not, however, prevent my department from reveling in the full glory of jet engines firing up. OK, fine, my co-workers find it annoying. I, on the other hand, LOVE it!
Here’s another mystery I’ve been puzzling over. We are currently undergoing the rebadging process to get our SIDA credentials renewed. As part of this we have to sign a document in which we attest that we haven’t been convicted of various offences, from murder to creating a disturbance at a foreign airport to interfering with a flight crew. Most of the items on the list were self-explanatory except for “Lighting violations involving transporting controlled substances.” Huh???? Once again a twitter friend came to the rescue with a link to the explanation. The takeaway here is apparently that if you’re going to transport controlled substances (which isn’t recommended to begin with), keep your lights on! No trying to sneak your plane in without lights or, even worse, drive the stairs truck around without headlights on!
Other Bits of Randomness
– Every door at the airport is numbered. Every. Single. One. And there are some people who know each and every door number. I am NOT one of those people, so if you want me to meet you at your desk and you tell me to go through door 308B and then through door 472A , expect me to take several weeks to find you. (Yes, someone actually gave me directions to their office this way.)
– Airfield maintenance meets with ATC weekly to discuss runway and airfield repair and maintenance plans. These meetings are held at the ATC tower. I think it is of critical importance that I attend one of these meetings. OK, actually I just really WANT to attend because hello – they meet in the ATC tower!!! I’ve been assured that the meetings happen in a room on the first floor but I don’t care – I still think it would be cool.
– Thinking winter yet? The airport is. We just took delivery of over 13,000 gallons of runway deicer! That sounds like a lot of deicer but I bet it won’t be the last delivery of the year.
– Ever feel like you are being watched? There are over 450 cameras at the passenger airport alone! Behave yourselves people!
– What is the most annoying thing you’ve ever had to endure just to get a nice cup of coffee in the morning? Well I had my badge inspected, my hands tested for explosives and I was patted down! Yup – I needed coffee THAT badly!
Just for Fun…
Just to mix things up a little I thought I’d have a poll this week. While I was in Oshkosh I ended up with a snazzy little miniature airport set complete with, among other things, a Boeing 747 and a Boeing 787. I’d like to jazz up my cubicle a little by keeping one on my desk, but which one? Vote below and let me know!
Two fine-looking airplanes, but which should brighten up my desk?