Airport Codes: A Meme for Pilot Bloggers

What can you say about the airports you’ve landed at?

This afternoon, while slowly steaming in my camper with the air conditioner on full-blast, I took a moment to connect to the Internet, check my e-mail, and check up on my Twitter friends. One of them, Highway 89 Project photographer Ann Torrence, had linked to a blog post she’d just updated, “Collection of Airport Codes.” In it, she wrote about her dislike of flying and provided a table of codes for the airports she’s been to.

It’s interesting to me because the average person doesn’t pay much attention to the three- or four-character airport codes that are part of a pilot’s life. For each airport listed — and she listed airports all around the world — she included a very brief comment about her experience there.

While I’m not nearly as well-travelled as Ann, I’m pretty sure that I’ve been to more airports. In many cases, however, I was the pilot in command when I landed at the airport. I have my own story for each of the airports I’ve landed at. So I decided that it might make a good theme for future blog posts about flying.

Quincy, WAThis, in turn, triggered an idea for a meme — something that other pilots who blog could write about, too. What are the airports that you’ve landed at? Pick one and write about it. You can write about why you went there, what you were flying, or what it was like. You can write about the perfect weather or nasty crosswind or unreasonably hot temperatures. You can write about the coffee in the FBO, the courtesy car, or the line guy — or lack thereof. You can write about the people you were with and what they thought when you made that perfect landing — or two, or three. (Just teasing my airplane friends.)

If you pick up this meme and spread it, please do use the Comment link or form to post a comment with the URL for the blog post you created. Be sure to say a little bit about the post when commenting to prevent my spam protection software from thinking it’s just spam and deleting it. (It tends to delete comments that contain only links, especially if there’s more than one link.) As long as the link points to a post in this meme as described here, it’ll stay. You can copy any part of this post to spread a description of the meme, as long as you link back to this post so others who follow it will add their links to the comments here.

In the meantime, I’ll start writing my own posts about some of the airports I’ve landed at. I’ll try to keep it interesting.

I hope those of you who have blogs will join the fun. Because, as we all know, an airport is far more than the three- or four-character code that represents it on charts, publications, and GPSes. I want to read your stories.

4 thoughts on “Airport Codes: A Meme for Pilot Bloggers

  1. I so enjoy reading Maria’s website, and when I saw her call for contributions to her article on favorite airports, I felt compelled to participate. I fly for a major airline, and most of my flying is in and out of major airports all over our country and internationally. I fly maybe 800 hours a year and most of the flying is into airports where most of the approaches are routine and, for the most part, uninspiring. In the past I have done some small plane flying, and I must say that flying into and out of our very own airport in Wickenburg is pretty spectacular. Not only are we surrounded by mountains and desert, it is fairly obvious that this area in which we live used to be part of a large prehistoric ocean as it is very uniform in elevation. Our airport is a nice facility with a long, wide runway and a rustic operations office. I guess the only drawback to it is that our town’s leaders have approved a development to be built at the end of the runway, but like most governments in our area, money seems to be the driving force.

    As to my other favorite airports to fly into, New York’s LaGuardia Airport is right at the top of my list. Depending on the weather and wind conditions, two approaches are among my favorites. When the wind favors landing to the south, the approach leading to runway 22 is amazing. As one descends into the area, the air traffic controllers funnel traffic up the Hudson River and permit us at times to descend to 2500 feet. At dusk the city is off to your right and it glows like a diamond. Times Square is always awake and bustling. If the traffic is landing to the north, aircraft are directed to fly up the East River and, at point 5 miles from the airport, we are directed to turn eastbound and follow the Long Island Expressway. We fly east and then turn north over Shea Stadium followed by a sharp turn onto final for landing on Runway 31. All the while, we are slowing the aircraft, extending flaps, lowering the landing gear and configuring for landing. To say we have our hands full is an understatement!

    My next favorite approach is landing to the south at Washington D.C.’s Reagan National Airport. Growing up as a child I used to accompany my parents to the airport where we would park at a viewing area literally at the end of the runway. It was so cool to look at the airplanes as they flew over our heads at 100 feet on their way to landing a quarter mile away on runway 19. This is a challenging approach I love to fly as we descend and wind our way in following the course of the Potomac River. As we get closer to the airport we fly over the old portion of Georgetown and the Lincoln Memorial and Jefferson Memorial at 300 feet. Seeing the nation’s signature buildings and monuments is a sight you don’t soon forget.

    Other favorites include flying into the small airport at Nantucket. It is like stepping back into time as it really has the small town flavor and feel of a typical New England village. Just to keep things interesting, there’s always a stiff crosswind to keep you on your toes. If you ever saw the television show “Wings” you knew exactly what it looked like as the set totally recreated what the real Nantucket airport looked like. Chicago’s O’Hare Airport is always a challenge as it is incredibly busy and congested. And, one look at the skyline of Chicago on the summer evening and you will never forget it. The small airport at Jackson, Wyoming is another example of walking through the terminal doors and feeling as if you were b being transported back 30 years. The little airport restaurant makes a terrific cup of chili! Flying through the mountains on the approach to Salt Lake City is gorgeous, but when it is windy you can get the equivalent of an “E ticket” ride at Disneyland. A flight into Reno, Nevada affords a picturesque approach, especially in the winter as Lake Tahoe glistens in the distance. Seattle, Washington is always a favorite as a departure around Mt. Rainier at low level makes you feels as if you could reach out and touch the mountain.

    There are a number of others, but I’ll stop here. Maybe one of these days Maria will talk me through how to place one of the videos I’ve made from the cockpit on her web page.

  2. Thanks, Jim, for sharing this. You need your own blog. You definitely have a talent for telling stories. I should get you set up on WordPress.com. Then you can put your videos there!

  3. Maria,

    Ever tried AIRNAV? You get your pick of airport codes there as well as pix, sectionals, and info. on navaids, etc.

    Mark R.

  4. I’m not quite sure how this relates….

    Yes, I’ve used AirNav. But I usually find its information sorely out of date.

    What the folks at AirNav don’t tell users is that they charge a fee for an FBO to be included. When I ran the FBO at E25, I refused to pay up. They removed our airport from the database, even though we carried both JetA and 100LL. That tells me that the database is incomplete. And any trip to a listed airport will tell you that the fuel prices are usually wrong. I think they’re doing a disservice to the aviation community by providing information that people rely on when they do nothing at all to make sure it’s accurate. I have a serious problem with ANY Web site that depends on user input to maintain data.

    So I don’t recommend AirNav. 100LL.com is better for fuel pricing. And SkyVector.com is far better for navigational needs.

What do you think?