"Challenge Accepted" - A Windy Landing

Fall keeps not only the pharmacies busy – also we pilots get challenged quite frequently. As summer enjoys some time off on the southern side of the globe, some impressive weather systems keep moving in and across Europe. These frontal systems are quite likely accompanied by gusting winds, dropping temperatures and gusty winds. The closer we get to the ground, the smaller our margins for errors get and gusty winds are among those factors not likely to ease a landing.

 

I’ve been flying in and out of London Heathrow many times during my time on shorthaul. My logbook totals some 98 landings at LHR performed by me as pilot flying. Arriving across the Channel we usually pick up a BIG3B arrival into EGLL – as the airport is also know in the world of abbreviations. Quite frankly the airport is operating at its capacity limit resulting in us having to be a little patient before commencing our approach and landing. Each and every airport has some holding areas where the planes queue for their turn. This so called holding pattern normally consists of a 180° turn followed by a one-minute straight flight before doing another turn.

Today LHR is very busy again, resulting in some twenty minutes delay for our flight. Will circling over the Biggin Hill Airport southeast of the metropolis the Captain and I are going through the approach ahead of us. The latest weather report indicates some strong southerly winds and a low cloud ceiling. My job will be to select the proper commands at the autopilot to intercept the final approach path and stabilize the Airbus for it’s landing on runway 27L. As we go through our briefing I mention the important steps and my intentions. My focus is put on the specials we are soon going to face, or one could also call it the challenge. The main hub of British Airways and the gateway of London to the world is equipped with two parallel runways, facing east west. To accommodate the impressive amount of traffic one runway is mainly used for landings while the other handles the departing planes. In between the two runways are the terminal concourses as well as the maintenance area with its huge hangars. They are sitting right next to the runway heads of 27L/R and are well know to cause some nice wind rotors right by the time we are about to settle the aluminum bird softly onto the concrete. Among the dense traffic situation this is one special LHR offers us during weather as this day.

 

“SWISS THREE ONE EIGHT complete the orbit over BIG and leave heading 260 degrees, speed 220 knots”, a precise instruction by the ATC calls and end to the almost 15 minutes waiting in the queue. Shortly there after we will be instructed to continue our descent and after a series of heading changes will be intercepting the localizer of the ILS (instrument landing system). I will fast forward these remaining 10 minutes to landing and focus on the last seconds before touchdown.

 

The autopilot did a hell of a job, getting us properly established on the approach path. Our gear has been lowered, the flaps set and all the checklists completed. A few minutes earlier we started to feel the wind. It has been giving us some nice shakes and bumps as we are making our way towards the runway. My captain acknowledges the landing clearance the last puzzle piece completing all our preparations for the landing. My brain is fully focused and the ringing sound of me disconnecting the autopilot and thus taking manual control of the aircraft just adds a boost to it. We are going faster as usually to compensate for the gusting winds, racing for the runway at a mere fifty meters per second. I get some nice bumps of the wind and gently correcting our flight path to meet the touchdown zone. “One hundred”, the plane talks to me, saying that I am getting roughly 30m above the ground still focusing on maintaining the descending flight path. Soon I will start to compensate for the wind. In order not to be put off by the crosswind I keep veering the airplane into the wind, something I need to correct by the time we touchdown. This is done turning the nose of the aircraft towards the runway and applying some aileron into the wind. So I am basically flying with crossed controls going some one hundred and forty something knots. “Fifty”, we are now over the runway and I shift my focus into the infinite. This helps me to catch my vertical approach towards the runway. “Thirty”, the airplane is almost aligned with the runway banking slightly into the wind, while I gently starting to pull on the side stick slowing that descent. “Twenty, Ten”, Mr. Jean-Paul Airbus (as we use to call the airplane) tells me that we are about to touchdown and only a few meters are between our gear and the 4000 meters of concrete ahead of us. I pull back the thrust lever, cutting the thrust of the engines down to idle and keep adding some backpressure to keep that nose up where it should be. Here we are, certainly not the gentlest one, but a safe one for sure. Our Airbus has firm contact with the ground and I apply the reverse thrust and start braking to slow these 63 tones of pure engineering down. A few moments later we are vacating the runway, making our way to the gate just in time.

Behind the Scene: Photo Calender "Up in the Sky 2020" now available

Take a closer Look

Welcome on board

As an airline pilot, I get to meet a great deal of people, explore cities, and landscapes around the world. One of my constant travel companions is my camera. These photographs in this calendar were taken during my flights this past year. In this manner, I can to invite you to take a seat in the cockpit and experience the world from a pilot’s perspective.

 

For more insights into my daily adventures above the clouds, make sure to follow my Instagram account «@sky_trotter» and read my blog www.beyondclouds.ch

 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all involved in making this project possible. A special appreciation goes out to my fellow pilots, internal departments for their support, and permission to use the images. All pictures were either taken during the non-sterile phase of the flight, on the ground, or as an observer in the third seat.

It's an honour that my creative work was selected among the winners at the International Photography Awards 2018.

 

 

Because we care

I am very proud to inform you, that by purchasing this photo calendar you are supporting a cause for good. For every copy sold, I donate CHF 5.- to the children foundation of the SWISS employees (Stiftung Kinderhilfe des SWISS Personals). Visit swiss-kinderstiftung.ch for further information. Thank you very much for your support.

 

This project is produced entirely in Switzerland and promotes an effort for the global climate issue. To be carbon-neutral, all arising CO2 emissions are compensated by donations towards projects of MyClimate. From wood processing to the finished print, the production takes place in accordance with FSC-standards. Therefore, the used paper originates from environmentally-friendly and socially acceptable managed forests.

 

Lets take a closer look

Read the picture description down below. These are the pictures of my 2020 photo calendar with some very different insights into my daily life as an airline pilot. Head over to my shop to get your copy today. Click here to get to the store>

Cover

Transatlantic Twilight

 

A new day dawns on the horizon as we are flying east along the busy North Atlantic Track System. The sky ahead of us is about to display the colorful spectacle as the night slowly dissipates and the sun rises.

 

January

Otherworldly

We are reaching the coast of Eastern Greenland where the frozen Atlantic Ocean meets the rocky, snow-covered mountains of the Arctic. The surreal landscape spreads as far as the eye can see and we have to remind ourselves that we are passing over one of the most remote and unforgiving sceneries on earth. We are glad to have LX38 bound for San Francisco as our wingmen.

 

February

Night Landing

A short evening flight takes the crew of this Airbus A220 to the busy hub of Frankfurt International Airport (EDDF). All checklists have been completed and the landing clearance has been received. They are nicely established on the final approach and in a few moments they will land one of the most modern airliners on runway 25R.

 

March

Into a New Day

We have departed Geneva Airport at night with thick fog. A few minutes later mother nature shows all her glory as we are climbing into the new day. The first rays of a serene morning are casting a warm light across the stunning landscape to our left as we are passing by Mont Blanc, Matterhorn and other tall peaks of the Alps.

 

 


April

Alpen Glow

On days of good visibility, the impressive Swiss Alps provide a scenic background at Zurich Airport. While the first light enfolds the Alps with their warm glow, this Airbus A220 is on final approach to runway 14. The airport springs into life connecting the gateway of Switzerland with its 185 destinations in 66 countries around the world.

 

 

May

Sunrise Atlantico

A long night flight is taking us across the Southern Atlantic Ocean to the Brazilian Metropolis of Sao Paolo. Sunrises and sunsets around the equator are among the most beautiful. Mother nature is putting on an impressive and colorful show, as we are heading southwest circumnavigating some dissipating thunderstorm cells along the coast line.

 

June

Finding our Way

Many people think that navigating in-flight is more challenging, than finding our way on the ground. However, getting from the runway to our gate takes us through countless taxiways, while paying attention to busy ground traffic. This can be more tricky than finding our way up in the sky, especially when experiencing reduced visibility or intense precipitation.

 


July

Coming Home

The warm sun rays of a serene morning are welcoming this Airbus A340 back home after flying through the night. Its journey started twelve hours ago when the four-engine aircraft departed from Johannesburg, South Africa. There are only a few meters left and arriving at the gate also marks the end of a great career of the Captain, who will retire after this flight.

 

August

Stormy Rushhour

The evening rush hour is in full swing as an impressive thunderstorm is building up to the east of Zurich Airport. A common sight after a hot summer’s day in Switzerland. Soon, the flights in and out of our home base will be busy circumnavigating the impressive convective weather as they journey to all corners of Europe.

 

September

Sunset Landing

Despite having all the support from the autopilot, the majority of the landings are performed manually by the pilots. It requires great teamwork, a fully-focused concentration and a great set of skills to precisely maneuver the airplane on to the runway and to crown the flight with a great landing. This crew of an Airbus A220 is about to land on runway 26L at Leipzig Airport during the golden hour.

 


October

Not much to see

Thanks to sophisticated autopilots most modern airliners can land in as little as 75 meters of visibility. This is especially impressive considering that an airplane is flying at around 140kts or 260km/h during a landing thus covering about 70 meters every second. This not only calls for impeccable systems onboard and on the ground, but also for extensive and flawless training of the crews.

 

November

Winter Wonderland

A scenic flight takes us across Switzerland and the freshly powdered peaks of the Alps. The pilots of the Airbus A220 get treated with the latest technology and the Head-Up Display (HUD) displays, all relevant flight parameters and autopilot modes within their field of view while they are keeping a good lookout.

 

December

A Pilot's Christmas Tree

Airline crews are out and about on all of the 365 days of the year. Sometimes we spend time up in the sky, even on Christmas, away from our loved ones. That’s why we have our own little Christmas tree, shaped by the approach and runway lights as we are closing-in to land.

 


 

Get your copy today

Did you enjoy these impressions from my daily life as an airline pilot? Head over to my shop to get your copy today.

Click here to get to the store>

0 Kommentare

Behind the Scene: Photo Calender "Up in the Sky 2019" now available

Take a closer Look

Welcome on board

As an airline pilot, I get to meet a great deal of people, explore cities, and landscapes around the world. One of my constant travel companions is my camera. These photographs in this calendar were taken during my flights this past year. In this manner, I can to invite you to take a seat in the cockpit and experience the world from a pilot’s perspective.

 

For more insights into my daily adventures above the clouds, make sure to follow my Instagram account «@sky_trotter» and read my blog www.beyondclouds.ch

 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all involved in making this project possible. A special appreciation goes out to my fellow pilots, internal departments for their support, and permission to use the images. All pictures were either taken during the non-sterile phase of the flight, on the ground, or as an observer in the third seat.

It's an honour that my creative work was selected among the winners at the International Photography Awards 2018.

 

 

Because we care

I am very proud to inform you, that by purchasing this photo calendar you are supporting a cause for good. For every copy sold, I donate CHF 5.- to the children foundation of the SWISS employees (Stiftung Kinderhilfe des SWISS Personals). Visit www.swiss-kinderstiftung.ch for further information. Thank you very much for your support.

 

This project is produced entirely in Switzerland and promotes an effort for the global climate issue. To be carbon-neutral, all arising CO2 emissions are compensated by donations towards projects of MyClimate. From wood processing to the finished print, the production takes place in accordance with FSC-standards. Therefore, the used paper originates from environmentally-friendly and socially acceptable managed forests.

 

Lets take a closer look

Read the picture description down below. These are the pictures of my 2019 photo calendar with some very different insights into my daily life as an airline pilot. Head over to my shop to get your copy today. Click here to get to the store>

Cover

Welcome on board

This Boeing 777 and its crew are welcoming their guests for a trans-Atlantic journey to Miami, just as their colleagues on board an Airbus 330 are climbing into a beautiful, but cold winter’s sky above Zurich Airport.

January

Late Night departure

As we are climbing into the night sky above Hong Kong, a wide left turn offers us a wonderful overview of the bustling metropolis and its glowing city lights. A few minutes ago we took-off from runway 07R at HKG Intl. Airport and the crew of LX139 and its 343 passengers are settling in for a 12 hours journey to Switzerland.

February

Icy Sunrise

A beautiful sunrise greets us somewhere over the vast sea of ice of the Labrador Sea. Just as the first rays of sunlight are piercing through the serene morning sky, we can spot the west coast of Greenland on the horizon and the silhouette of a Boeing 747 and its impressive contrail.

March

Departing Home

A Bombardier C Series 300 is showing its sleeky silhouette in front of the futuristic Airside Center at Zurich Airport. It has started-up its engines and is about to taxi out to its departure runway. A short hop across the Alps will take LX1612 to Milan and the sunny weather of Northern Italy.


April

Challenging Weather

Moderate precipitation mixed with gusty crosswinds offered a challenging approach for this Airbus 330 flight crew. After a smooth touchdown, the gnarly weather welcomes us to New York JFK airport. A seven-hour journey across the Atlantic Ocean is about to come to an end.

 

May

Office Above the Clouds

Flying an airliner takes us to the edge of the atmosphere while flying almost at the speed of sound. To cope with the everyday challenges of our job, it is essential to be fully familiar with the complex, yet very redundant systems. Intensive training and personal effort make us feel home at his office above the clouds.

June

Cleared to Land

A typical American backdrop is welcoming LX40 to California. After an 11-hour long-haul flight halfway around the globe, this B777 is nicely established on final approach at Los Angeles Intl. Airport. All checklists have been completed and the pilots are fully focused to land the heavy airliner on runway 24R.


July

Electric Sky

A hot summer’s day is about to come to an end as mother nature is putting up an impressive show. Some intense convective weather is passing to the east of Zurich Airport and its intense lightning activity illuminates the night sky while the late night arrivals for runway 28 are in full swing.

August

Coming Home

A hot summer’s afternoon greets us at Zurich Airport as we are approaching runway 14. Its three runways take us to almost all corners of the world. But, touching down on them also means coming home to the 5’700 crew members at SWISS.

September

Taking it to the Skies

A powerful scene as the flight crew of this Boeing 777 takes off at Zurich Airport bound for the US west coast. While accelerating down the runway, the wings start to create lift, thus starting to slightly flex under the tremendous forces that are needed to lift the heavy airliner into the autumn skies above Switzerland.


October

The Pilot's View

All checklists have been completed, the air traffic controller has cleared us to land and the synthetic voice of the radio altimeter started to count down our height above ground. Enjoy the pilots’ vantage point as we are fully focused to land at Zurich Airports runway 14.

 

November

Good Morning, Zurich

A serene morning scenery is framed by the stunning Alps in the background this Airbus 330 is about to land back home. The humid air creates vapour trails and condensation effects along the wings as it is moments from a smooth landing. It will mark the perfect end to a long night flight across the North Atlantic Ocean.

December

Destination Milky Way

We are soaring through the night sky above Turkmenistan, following the milky way on our easterly course. We have just dimmed the lights on the flight deck to fully enjoy the ocean of stars shining brightly above us. Only occasional radio chatters fill the quiet airwaves as we are bound for Bangkok, Thailand.


 

Get your copy today

Did you enjoy these impressions from my daily life as an airline pilot? Head over to my shop to get your copy today.

Click here to get to the store>

1 Kommentare

Behind the Scene: Photo Calender "Up in the Sky 2018" now available

Take a closer Look

Welcome on board

As an airline pilot, I get to meet a great deal of people, explore cities, and landscapes around the world. One of my constant travel companions is my camera. These photographs in this calendar were taken during my flights this past year. In this manner, I can to invite you to take a seat in the cockpit and experience the world from a pilot’s perspective.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all involved making this project possible. A special appreciation goes out to my fellow pilots, internal departments for their support, and permission to use the images.

All pictures were either taken during the non-sterile phase of the flight, on the ground, or as an observer in the third seat.

 

Because we care

I am very proud to inform you, that by purchasing this photo calendar you are supporting a cause for good. For every copy sold, I donate CHF 5.- to the children foundation of the SWISS employees (Stiftung Kinderhilfe des SWISS Personals). Visit www.swiss-kinderstiftung.ch for further information. Thank you very much for your support.

 

This project is produced entirely in Switzerland and promotes an effort for the global climate issue. To be carbon-neutral, all arising CO2 emissions are compensated by donations towards projects of MyClimate. From wood processing to the finished print, the production takes place in accordance with FSC-standards. Therefore, the used paper originates from environmentally-friendly and socially acceptable managed forests.

 

Lets take a closer look

Read the picture description down below. These are the pictures of my 2018 photo calendar with some very different insights into my daily life as an airline pilot. Head over to my shop to get your copy today. Click here to get to the store>

Cover

Transatlantic sunrise

It’s the crack of dawn south of Greenland when the first rays of sunlight pierces through the misty morning sky. We are flying into another warm and beautiful summer’s day.

January

Winter you look beautiful

Some intense snowfall has covered the airport with a thin layer of powder and keeps the ground crews busy; clearing the runways, taxiways as well as de-icing the mid-day departure wave that’s in full swing. A beautiful winter scene at Zurich Airport as these two long haul aircrafts are getting ready for their transatlantic journey.

February

Cutting-edge technology

A calm sunset greets the cockpit crew as they head into the approach at Zurich Airport. The head-up display on the flight deck of the Bombardier C Series offers its pilots a better overview on the important flight parameters while keeping a good lookout.

 

March

Taking a closer look

I am inspecting the starboard engine of our Boeing 777 before departure. These two marvels of technology will soon take us into the sky on our long journey across the Atlantic Ocean. The massive GE-90-115B engine is the most powerful jet engine in the world and boast a 3.2m diameter which could fit the fuselage of an A320.

 


April

Accelerating down the runway

We are fully focused as we are thundering down 25R at LAX. A Boeing 777-300ER can weigh up to 351t at take-off. Today, it takes us about one minute, 2.5km of runway, and speed of approximately 300km/h to lift this aircraft into the air.

May

Feeding the bird

LX39 is getting ready for its long journey back to Switzerland. The ground crew at San Francisco International Airport is busy loading cargo, baggage, and catering. Soon it will lift-off into the evening skies of California carrying 340 passengers, 17 crew members, and 20 tones of cargo.

June

Ready for departure

It’s one of the last days of the Avro RJ100 at SWISS before its retirement. The pilots are concentrating on the upcoming flight phase as the air traffic controller clears the morning flight to Milan Malpensa for take-off: “SWISS 612Q, winds calm, runway 28 you are cleared for take-off”.


July

Encounter in the sky

We are flying along the airways above Georgia when we spotted this Airbus A380 painting an impressive contrail. They appear at high altitude when water vapors in the exhaust of the engines mixes with the surrounding cold air.

 

August

Home sweet home

A serene summer’s morning greets us at Zurich Airport as we are approaching runway 34. Its three runways take us to all corners of the world. But, touching down on them also means coming home to the 5’700 crew members at SWISS.

September

Old meets new

Its been a year now since the last Jumbolino left our fleet. While preparing for its retirement, he met with its successor, the Bombardier C Series. After the lights of this hangar at Zurich Airport went out and all the people had left, they might had a little midnight chat about flying.


October

An office with a view

A sea of lights as far as the eyes can see; it is the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles passing us by. Soon, these lights will fade away and we will be engulfed by the night sky until the sun rises over the horizon. To me, this is by far the greatest office window one can get, bested only by Astronauts.

November

Winter is coming

This CS-100 is treated on Pad Charlie at Zurich Airport. It’s this time of the year again when cold air and precipitation covers it with a thin layer of frost. To get the aircraft clean and ready for flight, the ground crew either applies a one- or two-step procedure. This depends on the weather conditions and deposits on the airplane’s surfaces.

December

Flying home for Christmas

An ocean of stars is shining bright above us during our long journey home from Singapore. Only occasional radio chatters fill the quiet airwaves of this silent winter night over eastern Turkey. It’s good to be flying along side our colleagues in their Airbus 330; flight LX147 from Mumbai.


1 Kommentare

Vuelo nocturno – The magic of flying at night

Flying through the night, while the world beneath us is at sleep, is a pretty common thing as a longhaul pilot. Late evening departures lead to far distant destinations like Singapore, Hong Kong, Sao Paolo or J’burg. Depending on the direction of the flight the crew and the passengers either have a short night up ahead if flying eastbound or almost eternal darkness if headed westwards.

 

The latter is the case for my todays flight across the Atlantic Ocean to South America. Our flight is packed and some 340 passengers are settling in for a long night flight. Its my turn to be at the flightdeck for the first part of the journey, as my other co-pilot gets the chance to rest in the crew bunk above the passenger cabin. We are heading our westbound, along the clearly visible Alps to our left. Just before reaching Geneva and the western tip of Switzerland we are making a shallow left turn to join the Rhone valley leading us to Marseille and onward onto the Mediterranean Sea. Our routing will bring us towards Algeria and on across the northwestern part of the vast Sahara. We will be flying past Dakar in Senegal where we will be heading out onto the Atlantic Ocean. Our south-westerly course will get us across the wide blue – in fact it was pitch-black during the night – to the north eastern shore of Brazil. Landfall is expected just north of Rio de Janeiro and the remaining few hundred miles will get us straight towards Sao Paolo. Our landing is expected around 6am local time, still before the sun will rise.

 

The chatter of the French and Spanish ATC accompanies us for another hour, we get changed over to Algiers and past the bright city light of the capital of Algeria towards the Sahara. Tonight will be a special night, since its one of the few nights every August where countless shooting stars will be seen all over the night sky. Deriving from constellation of Perseus, these meteor showers will guide us through the night.

 

Just as the bright city lights are vanishing behind us, the Milky way starts to become clearly visible up ahead. Its now us, pacing at almost the speed of sound along the invisible highway and the pitch-black night sky above this surreal landscape. Ahead of us are another eight hours flight time, but we already stopped counting the shooting stars. And we got already to a few hundred.

 

Enjoy this timelapse video of my night flight towards South America, a short impression of the view that night.

 

124 Kommentare

"Challenge Accepted" - A Windy Landing

Fall keeps not only the pharmacies busy – also we pilots get challenged quite frequently. As summer enjoys some time off on the southern side of the globe, some impressive weather systems keep moving in and across Europe. These frontal systems are quite likely accompanied by gusting winds, dropping temperatures and gusty winds. The closer we get to the ground, the smaller our margins for errors get and gusty winds are among those factors not likely to ease a landing.

 

I’ve been flying in and out of London Heathrow many times during my time on shorthaul. My logbook totals some 98 landings at LHR performed by me as pilot flying. Arriving across the Channel we usually pick up a BIG3B arrival into EGLL – as the airport is also know in the world of abbreviations. Quite frankly the airport is operating at its capacity limit resulting in us having to be a little patient before commencing our approach and landing. Each and every airport has some holding areas where the planes queue for their turn. This so called holding pattern normally consists of a 180° turn followed by a one-minute straight flight before doing another turn.

Today LHR is very busy again, resulting in some twenty minutes delay for our flight. Will circling over the Biggin Hill Airport southeast of the metropolis the Captain and I are going through the approach ahead of us. The latest weather report indicates some strong southerly winds and a low cloud ceiling. My job will be to select the proper commands at the autopilot to intercept the final approach path and stabilize the Airbus for it’s landing on runway 27L. As we go through our briefing I mention the important steps and my intentions. My focus is put on the specials we are soon going to face, or one could also call it the challenge. The main hub of British Airways and the gateway of London to the world is equipped with two parallel runways, facing east west. To accommodate the impressive amount of traffic one runway is mainly used for landings while the other handles the departing planes. In between the two runways are the terminal concourses as well as the maintenance area with its huge hangars. They are sitting right next to the runway heads of 27L/R and are well know to cause some nice wind rotors right by the time we are about to settle the aluminum bird softly onto the concrete. Among the dense traffic situation this is one special LHR offers us during weather as this day.

 

“SWISS THREE ONE EIGHT complete the orbit over BIG and leave heading 260 degrees, speed 220 knots”, a precise instruction by the ATC calls and end to the almost 15 minutes waiting in the queue. Shortly there after we will be instructed to continue our descent and after a series of heading changes will be intercepting the localizer of the ILS (instrument landing system). I will fast forward these remaining 10 minutes to landing and focus on the last seconds before touchdown.

 

The autopilot did a hell of a job, getting us properly established on the approach path. Our gear has been lowered, the flaps set and all the checklists completed. A few minutes earlier we started to feel the wind. It has been giving us some nice shakes and bumps as we are making our way towards the runway. My captain acknowledges the landing clearance the last puzzle piece completing all our preparations for the landing. My brain is fully focused and the ringing sound of me disconnecting the autopilot and thus taking manual control of the aircraft just adds a boost to it. We are going faster as usually to compensate for the gusting winds, racing for the runway at a mere fifty meters per second. I get some nice bumps of the wind and gently correcting our flight path to meet the touchdown zone. “One hundred”, the plane talks to me, saying that I am getting roughly 30m above the ground still focusing on maintaining the descending flight path. Soon I will start to compensate for the wind. In order not to be put off by the crosswind I keep veering the airplane into the wind, something I need to correct by the time we touchdown. This is done turning the nose of the aircraft towards the runway and applying some aileron into the wind. So I am basically flying with crossed controls going some one hundred and forty something knots. “Fifty”, we are now over the runway and I shift my focus into the infinite. This helps me to catch my vertical approach towards the runway. “Thirty”, the airplane is almost aligned with the runway banking slightly into the wind, while I gently starting to pull on the side stick slowing that descent. “Twenty, Ten”, Mr. Jean-Paul Airbus (as we use to call the airplane) tells me that we are about to touchdown and only a few meters are between our gear and the 4000 meters of concrete ahead of us. I pull back the thrust lever, cutting the thrust of the engines down to idle and keep adding some backpressure to keep that nose up where it should be. Here we are, certainly not the gentlest one, but a safe one for sure. Our Airbus has firm contact with the ground and I apply the reverse thrust and start braking to slow these 63 tones of pure engineering down. A few moments later we are vacating the runway, making our way to the gate just in time.

Behind the Scene: Photo Calender "Up in the Sky 2020" now available

Take a closer Look

Welcome on board

As an airline pilot, I get to meet a great deal of people, explore cities, and landscapes around the world. One of my constant travel companions is my camera. These photographs in this calendar were taken during my flights this past year. In this manner, I can to invite you to take a seat in the cockpit and experience the world from a pilot’s perspective.

 

For more insights into my daily adventures above the clouds, make sure to follow my Instagram account «@sky_trotter» and read my blog www.beyondclouds.ch

 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all involved in making this project possible. A special appreciation goes out to my fellow pilots, internal departments for their support, and permission to use the images. All pictures were either taken during the non-sterile phase of the flight, on the ground, or as an observer in the third seat.

It's an honour that my creative work was selected among the winners at the International Photography Awards 2018.

 

 

Because we care

I am very proud to inform you, that by purchasing this photo calendar you are supporting a cause for good. For every copy sold, I donate CHF 5.- to the children foundation of the SWISS employees (Stiftung Kinderhilfe des SWISS Personals). Visit swiss-kinderstiftung.ch for further information. Thank you very much for your support.

 

This project is produced entirely in Switzerland and promotes an effort for the global climate issue. To be carbon-neutral, all arising CO2 emissions are compensated by donations towards projects of MyClimate. From wood processing to the finished print, the production takes place in accordance with FSC-standards. Therefore, the used paper originates from environmentally-friendly and socially acceptable managed forests.

 

Lets take a closer look

Read the picture description down below. These are the pictures of my 2020 photo calendar with some very different insights into my daily life as an airline pilot. Head over to my shop to get your copy today. Click here to get to the store>

Cover

Transatlantic Twilight

 

A new day dawns on the horizon as we are flying east along the busy North Atlantic Track System. The sky ahead of us is about to display the colorful spectacle as the night slowly dissipates and the sun rises.

 

January

Otherworldly

We are reaching the coast of Eastern Greenland where the frozen Atlantic Ocean meets the rocky, snow-covered mountains of the Arctic. The surreal landscape spreads as far as the eye can see and we have to remind ourselves that we are passing over one of the most remote and unforgiving sceneries on earth. We are glad to have LX38 bound for San Francisco as our wingmen.

 

February

Night Landing

A short evening flight takes the crew of this Airbus A220 to the busy hub of Frankfurt International Airport (EDDF). All checklists have been completed and the landing clearance has been received. They are nicely established on the final approach and in a few moments they will land one of the most modern airliners on runway 25R.

 

March

Into a New Day

We have departed Geneva Airport at night with thick fog. A few minutes later mother nature shows all her glory as we are climbing into the new day. The first rays of a serene morning are casting a warm light across the stunning landscape to our left as we are passing by Mont Blanc, Matterhorn and other tall peaks of the Alps.

 

 


April

Alpen Glow

On days of good visibility, the impressive Swiss Alps provide a scenic background at Zurich Airport. While the first light enfolds the Alps with their warm glow, this Airbus A220 is on final approach to runway 14. The airport springs into life connecting the gateway of Switzerland with its 185 destinations in 66 countries around the world.

 

 

May

Sunrise Atlantico

A long night flight is taking us across the Southern Atlantic Ocean to the Brazilian Metropolis of Sao Paolo. Sunrises and sunsets around the equator are among the most beautiful. Mother nature is putting on an impressive and colorful show, as we are heading southwest circumnavigating some dissipating thunderstorm cells along the coast line.

 

June

Finding our Way

Many people think that navigating in-flight is more challenging, than finding our way on the ground. However, getting from the runway to our gate takes us through countless taxiways, while paying attention to busy ground traffic. This can be more tricky than finding our way up in the sky, especially when experiencing reduced visibility or intense precipitation.

 


July

Coming Home

The warm sun rays of a serene morning are welcoming this Airbus A340 back home after flying through the night. Its journey started twelve hours ago when the four-engine aircraft departed from Johannesburg, South Africa. There are only a few meters left and arriving at the gate also marks the end of a great career of the Captain, who will retire after this flight.

 

August

Stormy Rushhour

The evening rush hour is in full swing as an impressive thunderstorm is building up to the east of Zurich Airport. A common sight after a hot summer’s day in Switzerland. Soon, the flights in and out of our home base will be busy circumnavigating the impressive convective weather as they journey to all corners of Europe.

 

September

Sunset Landing

Despite having all the support from the autopilot, the majority of the landings are performed manually by the pilots. It requires great teamwork, a fully-focused concentration and a great set of skills to precisely maneuver the airplane on to the runway and to crown the flight with a great landing. This crew of an Airbus A220 is about to land on runway 26L at Leipzig Airport during the golden hour.

 


October

Not much to see

Thanks to sophisticated autopilots most modern airliners can land in as little as 75 meters of visibility. This is especially impressive considering that an airplane is flying at around 140kts or 260km/h during a landing thus covering about 70 meters every second. This not only calls for impeccable systems onboard and on the ground, but also for extensive and flawless training of the crews.

 

November

Winter Wonderland

A scenic flight takes us across Switzerland and the freshly powdered peaks of the Alps. The pilots of the Airbus A220 get treated with the latest technology and the Head-Up Display (HUD) displays, all relevant flight parameters and autopilot modes within their field of view while they are keeping a good lookout.

 

December

A Pilot's Christmas Tree

Airline crews are out and about on all of the 365 days of the year. Sometimes we spend time up in the sky, even on Christmas, away from our loved ones. That’s why we have our own little Christmas tree, shaped by the approach and runway lights as we are closing-in to land.

 


 

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Behind the Scene: Photo Calender "Up in the Sky 2019" now available

Take a closer Look

Welcome on board

As an airline pilot, I get to meet a great deal of people, explore cities, and landscapes around the world. One of my constant travel companions is my camera. These photographs in this calendar were taken during my flights this past year. In this manner, I can to invite you to take a seat in the cockpit and experience the world from a pilot’s perspective.

 

For more insights into my daily adventures above the clouds, make sure to follow my Instagram account «@sky_trotter» and read my blog www.beyondclouds.ch

 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all involved in making this project possible. A special appreciation goes out to my fellow pilots, internal departments for their support, and permission to use the images. All pictures were either taken during the non-sterile phase of the flight, on the ground, or as an observer in the third seat.

It's an honour that my creative work was selected among the winners at the International Photography Awards 2018.

 

 

Because we care

I am very proud to inform you, that by purchasing this photo calendar you are supporting a cause for good. For every copy sold, I donate CHF 5.- to the children foundation of the SWISS employees (Stiftung Kinderhilfe des SWISS Personals). Visit www.swiss-kinderstiftung.ch for further information. Thank you very much for your support.

 

This project is produced entirely in Switzerland and promotes an effort for the global climate issue. To be carbon-neutral, all arising CO2 emissions are compensated by donations towards projects of MyClimate. From wood processing to the finished print, the production takes place in accordance with FSC-standards. Therefore, the used paper originates from environmentally-friendly and socially acceptable managed forests.

 

Lets take a closer look

Read the picture description down below. These are the pictures of my 2019 photo calendar with some very different insights into my daily life as an airline pilot. Head over to my shop to get your copy today. Click here to get to the store>

Cover

Welcome on board

This Boeing 777 and its crew are welcoming their guests for a trans-Atlantic journey to Miami, just as their colleagues on board an Airbus 330 are climbing into a beautiful, but cold winter’s sky above Zurich Airport.

January

Late Night departure

As we are climbing into the night sky above Hong Kong, a wide left turn offers us a wonderful overview of the bustling metropolis and its glowing city lights. A few minutes ago we took-off from runway 07R at HKG Intl. Airport and the crew of LX139 and its 343 passengers are settling in for a 12 hours journey to Switzerland.

February

Icy Sunrise

A beautiful sunrise greets us somewhere over the vast sea of ice of the Labrador Sea. Just as the first rays of sunlight are piercing through the serene morning sky, we can spot the west coast of Greenland on the horizon and the silhouette of a Boeing 747 and its impressive contrail.

March

Departing Home

A Bombardier C Series 300 is showing its sleeky silhouette in front of the futuristic Airside Center at Zurich Airport. It has started-up its engines and is about to taxi out to its departure runway. A short hop across the Alps will take LX1612 to Milan and the sunny weather of Northern Italy.


April

Challenging Weather

Moderate precipitation mixed with gusty crosswinds offered a challenging approach for this Airbus 330 flight crew. After a smooth touchdown, the gnarly weather welcomes us to New York JFK airport. A seven-hour journey across the Atlantic Ocean is about to come to an end.

 

May

Office Above the Clouds

Flying an airliner takes us to the edge of the atmosphere while flying almost at the speed of sound. To cope with the everyday challenges of our job, it is essential to be fully familiar with the complex, yet very redundant systems. Intensive training and personal effort make us feel home at his office above the clouds.

June

Cleared to Land

A typical American backdrop is welcoming LX40 to California. After an 11-hour long-haul flight halfway around the globe, this B777 is nicely established on final approach at Los Angeles Intl. Airport. All checklists have been completed and the pilots are fully focused to land the heavy airliner on runway 24R.


July

Electric Sky

A hot summer’s day is about to come to an end as mother nature is putting up an impressive show. Some intense convective weather is passing to the east of Zurich Airport and its intense lightning activity illuminates the night sky while the late night arrivals for runway 28 are in full swing.

August

Coming Home

A hot summer’s afternoon greets us at Zurich Airport as we are approaching runway 14. Its three runways take us to almost all corners of the world. But, touching down on them also means coming home to the 5’700 crew members at SWISS.

September

Taking it to the Skies

A powerful scene as the flight crew of this Boeing 777 takes off at Zurich Airport bound for the US west coast. While accelerating down the runway, the wings start to create lift, thus starting to slightly flex under the tremendous forces that are needed to lift the heavy airliner into the autumn skies above Switzerland.


October

The Pilot's View

All checklists have been completed, the air traffic controller has cleared us to land and the synthetic voice of the radio altimeter started to count down our height above ground. Enjoy the pilots’ vantage point as we are fully focused to land at Zurich Airports runway 14.

 

November

Good Morning, Zurich

A serene morning scenery is framed by the stunning Alps in the background this Airbus 330 is about to land back home. The humid air creates vapour trails and condensation effects along the wings as it is moments from a smooth landing. It will mark the perfect end to a long night flight across the North Atlantic Ocean.

December

Destination Milky Way

We are soaring through the night sky above Turkmenistan, following the milky way on our easterly course. We have just dimmed the lights on the flight deck to fully enjoy the ocean of stars shining brightly above us. Only occasional radio chatters fill the quiet airwaves as we are bound for Bangkok, Thailand.


 

Get your copy today

Did you enjoy these impressions from my daily life as an airline pilot? Head over to my shop to get your copy today.

Click here to get to the store>

1 Kommentare

Behind the Scene: Photo Calender "Up in the Sky 2018" now available

Take a closer Look

Welcome on board

As an airline pilot, I get to meet a great deal of people, explore cities, and landscapes around the world. One of my constant travel companions is my camera. These photographs in this calendar were taken during my flights this past year. In this manner, I can to invite you to take a seat in the cockpit and experience the world from a pilot’s perspective.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all involved making this project possible. A special appreciation goes out to my fellow pilots, internal departments for their support, and permission to use the images.

All pictures were either taken during the non-sterile phase of the flight, on the ground, or as an observer in the third seat.

 

Because we care

I am very proud to inform you, that by purchasing this photo calendar you are supporting a cause for good. For every copy sold, I donate CHF 5.- to the children foundation of the SWISS employees (Stiftung Kinderhilfe des SWISS Personals). Visit www.swiss-kinderstiftung.ch for further information. Thank you very much for your support.

 

This project is produced entirely in Switzerland and promotes an effort for the global climate issue. To be carbon-neutral, all arising CO2 emissions are compensated by donations towards projects of MyClimate. From wood processing to the finished print, the production takes place in accordance with FSC-standards. Therefore, the used paper originates from environmentally-friendly and socially acceptable managed forests.

 

Lets take a closer look

Read the picture description down below. These are the pictures of my 2018 photo calendar with some very different insights into my daily life as an airline pilot. Head over to my shop to get your copy today. Click here to get to the store>

Cover

Transatlantic sunrise

It’s the crack of dawn south of Greenland when the first rays of sunlight pierces through the misty morning sky. We are flying into another warm and beautiful summer’s day.

January

Winter you look beautiful

Some intense snowfall has covered the airport with a thin layer of powder and keeps the ground crews busy; clearing the runways, taxiways as well as de-icing the mid-day departure wave that’s in full swing. A beautiful winter scene at Zurich Airport as these two long haul aircrafts are getting ready for their transatlantic journey.

February

Cutting-edge technology

A calm sunset greets the cockpit crew as they head into the approach at Zurich Airport. The head-up display on the flight deck of the Bombardier C Series offers its pilots a better overview on the important flight parameters while keeping a good lookout.

 

March

Taking a closer look

I am inspecting the starboard engine of our Boeing 777 before departure. These two marvels of technology will soon take us into the sky on our long journey across the Atlantic Ocean. The massive GE-90-115B engine is the most powerful jet engine in the world and boast a 3.2m diameter which could fit the fuselage of an A320.

 


April

Accelerating down the runway

We are fully focused as we are thundering down 25R at LAX. A Boeing 777-300ER can weigh up to 351t at take-off. Today, it takes us about one minute, 2.5km of runway, and speed of approximately 300km/h to lift this aircraft into the air.

May

Feeding the bird

LX39 is getting ready for its long journey back to Switzerland. The ground crew at San Francisco International Airport is busy loading cargo, baggage, and catering. Soon it will lift-off into the evening skies of California carrying 340 passengers, 17 crew members, and 20 tones of cargo.

June

Ready for departure

It’s one of the last days of the Avro RJ100 at SWISS before its retirement. The pilots are concentrating on the upcoming flight phase as the air traffic controller clears the morning flight to Milan Malpensa for take-off: “SWISS 612Q, winds calm, runway 28 you are cleared for take-off”.


July

Encounter in the sky

We are flying along the airways above Georgia when we spotted this Airbus A380 painting an impressive contrail. They appear at high altitude when water vapors in the exhaust of the engines mixes with the surrounding cold air.

 

August

Home sweet home

A serene summer’s morning greets us at Zurich Airport as we are approaching runway 34. Its three runways take us to all corners of the world. But, touching down on them also means coming home to the 5’700 crew members at SWISS.

September

Old meets new

Its been a year now since the last Jumbolino left our fleet. While preparing for its retirement, he met with its successor, the Bombardier C Series. After the lights of this hangar at Zurich Airport went out and all the people had left, they might had a little midnight chat about flying.


October

An office with a view

A sea of lights as far as the eyes can see; it is the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles passing us by. Soon, these lights will fade away and we will be engulfed by the night sky until the sun rises over the horizon. To me, this is by far the greatest office window one can get, bested only by Astronauts.

November

Winter is coming

This CS-100 is treated on Pad Charlie at Zurich Airport. It’s this time of the year again when cold air and precipitation covers it with a thin layer of frost. To get the aircraft clean and ready for flight, the ground crew either applies a one- or two-step procedure. This depends on the weather conditions and deposits on the airplane’s surfaces.

December

Flying home for Christmas

An ocean of stars is shining bright above us during our long journey home from Singapore. Only occasional radio chatters fill the quiet airwaves of this silent winter night over eastern Turkey. It’s good to be flying along side our colleagues in their Airbus 330; flight LX147 from Mumbai.


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Vuelo nocturno – The magic of flying at night

Flying through the night, while the world beneath us is at sleep, is a pretty common thing as a longhaul pilot. Late evening departures lead to far distant destinations like Singapore, Hong Kong, Sao Paolo or J’burg. Depending on the direction of the flight the crew and the passengers either have a short night up ahead if flying eastbound or almost eternal darkness if headed westwards.

 

The latter is the case for my todays flight across the Atlantic Ocean to South America. Our flight is packed and some 340 passengers are settling in for a long night flight. Its my turn to be at the flightdeck for the first part of the journey, as my other co-pilot gets the chance to rest in the crew bunk above the passenger cabin. We are heading our westbound, along the clearly visible Alps to our left. Just before reaching Geneva and the western tip of Switzerland we are making a shallow left turn to join the Rhone valley leading us to Marseille and onward onto the Mediterranean Sea. Our routing will bring us towards Algeria and on across the northwestern part of the vast Sahara. We will be flying past Dakar in Senegal where we will be heading out onto the Atlantic Ocean. Our south-westerly course will get us across the wide blue – in fact it was pitch-black during the night – to the north eastern shore of Brazil. Landfall is expected just north of Rio de Janeiro and the remaining few hundred miles will get us straight towards Sao Paolo. Our landing is expected around 6am local time, still before the sun will rise.

 

The chatter of the French and Spanish ATC accompanies us for another hour, we get changed over to Algiers and past the bright city light of the capital of Algeria towards the Sahara. Tonight will be a special night, since its one of the few nights every August where countless shooting stars will be seen all over the night sky. Deriving from constellation of Perseus, these meteor showers will guide us through the night.

 

Just as the bright city lights are vanishing behind us, the Milky way starts to become clearly visible up ahead. Its now us, pacing at almost the speed of sound along the invisible highway and the pitch-black night sky above this surreal landscape. Ahead of us are another eight hours flight time, but we already stopped counting the shooting stars. And we got already to a few hundred.

 

Enjoy this timelapse video of my night flight towards South America, a short impression of the view that night.

 

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