one big-ass plane
I got up early this morning to catch the first landing of the Airbus A380 - the worlds largest airplane - at LAX. It was kinda cool to be there, especially after seeing the pics last week of the first jet at LAX back in '59. A lot of people were out, but it was completely orderly without any traffic jams or problems. It was mix of aviation geeks (complete with tower radios listening to the air traffic) and, I'm guessing, curious onlookers like me who happened to live nearby. The plane before the A380 was a United 747 (a "United Heavy" a geek somewhere announced), which was great because it allowed for a good comparison. The A380 was next. The lights slowly pierced through the grey overcast cloudcover. At first we could just see the lights, then the wings, and slowly we began to see just how big this monster was. It slowly, quietly descended to a graceful landing as people cheered. And that was it. A witness to history just around the corner from home.
Unfortunately they aren't showing the plane to the public, but I'm going to drive by the airport later to see if I cant get a glimpse from the road, and I'll go to see it take off Tuesday evening. I had read about how the plane was supposed to be low on emissions and fuel efficient, but what really suprised me was how quiet it was. It seemed to make half the noise of the 747 that landed before it. I think it was the quiet that made the big beast of a plane seem so graceful. I look forward to day when I can look out my window and see them fly over the ocean as a daily occurence.
[update: I ran across this blogpost from someone who came down from Silverlake, my old neighborhood. It includes a great video clip that gives you a feel of what it was like to be there as a spectator:]