What’s Up With ATC Tonight?

As I’ve mentioned, we live pretty much right under the extended centerline for Burbank runway 8, which leads us to have 737’s and the like overhead at about 4,000′ all day long. Since I’m an airplane nut, this is not a problem.

It also means that I’m pretty used to which direction planes are coming from 99.99% of the time. So when I’m busy on the computer but I hear one coming from an odd direction, it makes my ears prick up.

When a second one follows, I pull out FlightAware to see what their flight paths are.

(Image from FlightAware)

That first plane (a United flight) came in from the northwest (not so unusual), then did a big 360° turn over Hidden Hills (pretty unusual) before he got lined up and had just exited stage right toward final approach. (For reference and scale, from our house at the blue dot, the 405 Freeway and Van Nuys airport there are about half way to Burbank.)

The second guy (a Southwest flight), currently over Tampa Avenue, came in a bit more normally from the north over Simi Valley, looped a little wide, but was now on final.

Then the third plane (Alaska Airlines Flight 1150) followed the second plane and made an even bigger 360° out over the Santa Monica Mountains and Malibu!

What’s up with Air Traffic Control (ATC) tonight?

Let’s step outside and look toward the southwest and Malibu, shall we?

Yep, there he is!

And, yep! There he goes!

A weather-related issue? Possibly. You can see a storm cell over Topanga State Park to our south. There’s a front moving in and some of the showers were supposed to get severe, but that wasn’t supposed to happen until tomorrow morning.

Spacing? ATC maintains minimum separation between aircraft and if there are a few coming in all at the same time, someone might get told to take the scenic route and linger for a few in order to not crowd anyone else.

Whatever. I got my own personal mini air show! The day got better!

1 Comment

Filed under Castle Willett, Christmas Lights, Flying, Photography

One response to “What’s Up With ATC Tonight?

  1. A long, long time ago when I had a summer job with the Landings section of British Airports Authority, I learned a lot about the nuts and bolts of Heathrow Airport. In those days as well as the two main runways that are used in parallel, runway 10 and 28 (add a 0 and you get their bearings), there were a couple of ones that crossed them, for use in really weird weather. I have no idea whether they still get used.
    Our office was on the second to top floor of a small block (6 floors was big in those days) a few miles to the north of the airport. We were all shocked one day when large jets (this was about the time 747s were considered ‘special’), flew straight past our windows only about four plane widths away, so it seemed. Next day we were transcribing all the data for the computers from the landing forms using completely different runway codes from usual!

    Liked by 1 person

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