Monday, January 04, 2010

Bouncy bouncy

Wellington can be a bit of a white knuckle ride to fly into at times, mostly due to being located at a 20 mile gap in the middle of a thousand mile long mountain chain. The resulting frequent gusty winds combined with the hills to the north of one end of the runway adding their own turbulence to the mix can make for a bumpy ride.

Sometimes on rough northerly days I'll head out to the airport just to watch. The turbulence makes things more interesting, and for better photographs as well. The stormy conditions this weekend were a good chance to grab some shots

Jets on a wet runway make for good 'blast off' shots
The rain and humidity on Sunday were also good for vortex formation. Boeing 737's are particularly prone to this effect. As the airflows from the top and bottom of the flap corner meet, they start rotating and form a vortex. The vortex creates a localised area of lower air pressure which condenses water vapour if the conditions are right, and voila, the plane is making its own streamers. These are some of the best I have seen:

Vortices showing the bumpy ride to touchdown. If you are close enough you can hear them a few seconds after the aircraft has passed. They sound like a hissing intermittent low whistle.
Included just becuse I like the way the reverse thrust is kicking up spray.


Maureen said...

Ooh I like that vortex thingy! Cool!

Katherine (a.k.a. Katie) Corrigan said...

Ugh, I need an air sick bag just from the photos, giggle

Off-Black said...

I've passengered into this airport on very calm and very rough days; the rough ones are far more entertaining :)