On Friday afternoon Vienna Airport spokesman Peter Kleemann was kind enough to offer a tour of portions of Vienna International Airport to a group of journalists in town for the Star Alliance Chief Executive Board Meeting.
Among the highlights of the tour was a stop at the Visitor’s Center, where an outdoor terrace offered wall panels with explanations of what goes on at an airport and, on this day, foggy views of the airfield.
We also stopped at the Terminal Operation Center, where banks of video screens offer an at-a-glance view of the traffic at dozens of spots inside the airport.
The operators in this room are charged with keeping an eye on the flow of passengers throughout the airport. If lines get long or there’s a back-up of any kind, they send word to open another access line or make sure back-up is on the way.
Wonder what kind of help arrives if someone pushes this button…
The images, many as large as 6 feet by 6 feet, are courtesy of photographer, graphic designer, architect and licensed pilot Jeffrey Milstein, who captured many of the images by standing at the end of a runway at Los Angeles International Airport and photographing planes from underneath as they came in to land.
“It’s like shooting a moving duck,” said Milstein. “The planes are moving so fast, and I have only a hundredth of a second to get my shot. I have to keep the camera moving with the plane and then fire the shot exactly at the top dead center. It took a lot of practice.”
At times, it also took some negotiation.
“One of the problems if you’re hanging around an airport with a camera a lot of times is that the authorities get a bit antsy,” said Milstein. “Especially since 9/11. When I first started going out to the airport, the police would sometimes converge on me with up to six cars at once. Now they know me because I’ve been out there so much.”
Milstein’s practice and perseverance have paid off. Using a high-end professional camera that Milstein said costs “as much as an SUV,” the photographer was able to get images that reveal the mechanics, rivets and other details of an airplane’s underbelly. “With Photoshop, I remove the sky background so that the airplanes become just floating objects. As far as the colors, I don’t fake anything, but I might clarify to increase the contrast or bring out the detail,” said Milstein.
“There are a lot of amateurs out there photographing planes,” said exhibition curator Carolyn Russo, a museum specialist and photographer. “But what Milstein ends up with are really crisp, clean, beautiful color images that transform the planes into art and are unlike any other photographs of aircraft. We’ve compared them to an array of pinned butterflies.”
Alaska Airlines Salmon Thirty Salmon Boeing 737-400
Among the images on display, Milstein has a few favorites, including a red Southwest Airlines Boeing 737, an American Airlines Boeing 777-200 that’s “just silver, and just really beautiful,” the helicopters and some of the planes he’s photographed from the side that sport pictures, such as Alaska Airline’s Boeing 737-400 Salmon-Thirty-Salmon plane.
Alaska Airlines Disney Boeing 737-400
“AirCraft: The Jet as Art” will remain on display until Nov. 25, 2012, at the National Air and Space Museum.
(A slightly different version of this story appeared on msnbc.com’s Overhead Bin)
Photographs courtesy Jeffrey Milstein/Smithsonian Museum
It’s been a while since I gave up my membership in the United Red Carpet Club. But very frequent traveler Joel Horn insists the price of admission is worth it if only because there are sights like this to be seen out the window of the Red Carpet Club room on Concourse C at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.
What do you think? I do have a birthday coming up….
In Everett, Wa. on Wednesday, Air New Zealand took delivery of its first Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. The plane is on its way to to Auckland, with a planned touchdown on Christmas Eve morning.
Sadly, I couldn’t join that first flight, so I can’t report for sure whether or not Santa is on that plane, but I do know that the plane is equipped with the new lie-down Skycouch or Cuddle Class seating in economy class, induction ovens that allow the preparation of made-to-order meals, bathrooms with wallpaper depicting book cases, chandeliers and other home interior elements (photo coming soon) and an in-flight story-time for kids hosted by the cabin crew.
But as of Thursday, October 21, 2010, Haneda Airport has a new runway and a brand new International Terminal that’s filled with shiny new arrival and departures halls, gleaming gate areas, and dozens of new restaurants and shops.
An increased schedule of international flights to North America, Europe and Asia begins on October 31st.
The big advantage of flying into Haneda Airport will be the time you’ll save getting to and from Tokyo. By express train, it’s an hour’s ride from Narita Airport to Tokyo.
From Haneda, you can get to town on a monoral or a train in about 20 minutes.
The other advantage: Haneda’s International Terminal is brand new.
I was on site for opening day inspecting the restaurants, the shops and the new amenities along with what seemed to be at least half the population of Japan.
Several hundred people lined up as early as 3 in the morning to be among the first to ride the new monorail connection to the airport. And throughout the day thousands of what the airlines certainly hope will be future passengers made their way out to the terminal just to take a look around.
They visited the outdoor observation deck. Even though it was raining and there wasn’t much you could see.
They cheered on the cars zipping around the airport’s slot car racetrack.
They bought Hello Kitty souvenirs in a Hello Kitty store that a father of two young Hello Kitty fans assured me was among the most-well stocked Hello Kitty stores he’s seen.
And they waited patiently to be among the first to have a meal in brand new airport eateries that range from a pizzeria with a brick oven to a French café and a restaurant where sushi is delivered via conveyor belt.
Around lunch time, I joined one of the longest lines at the airport. The one where people were waiting to order green-tea soft swirl from the newest branch of Kyo Hayashiya, a sweets vendor that has its roots in a teahouse established in 1753.
And like this woman who was buying ice cream for herself and a friend, I sat and ate the swirled, sweet treat while contemplating future adventures that might start at this sparkling new airport.
There’s lots more to share about the amenities at Haneda’s International Terminal – and the two domestic terminals, which are quite swanky.