Looking Up And Finding Memories

We live a mile away from our local, municipal airport (AIK), which is just fine with me as I have always enjoyed aviation, even though I never took the time to get a pilot’s license. As I drive by the airport daily, I look and see what activity is going on and listen to the radio communications on my scanner.

Back in the old days,  (like 54 years ago, give or take) we lived in Hillside, NJ, which is just a few miles away from what is now Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR). Our house was under one of the flight paths and I would sit outside and watch the planes as they came to or left the airport, low over our house.   I was maybe 6-7 years old and my father and I would get in the car and drive over to the airport on Saturdays and actually pull up on the grass adjacent the runways and watch the planes land and take off.

I’m not sure if it because dad was a police officer or if airport security was a little less complicated back then, but it was great fun and I remember him telling me about the “Super Connies” that we were watching.  We had bottles of soda and a bag of potato chips and we just sat there, watched planes and made memories. Today, EWR, ranks #2 on the list of the worst airports in the country, bested only by New York’s LaGuardia (LGA) and these days,  I doubt anyone could get as close to the runway as we did.

As those memories floated through my mind this morning, I wondered how many planes might be in the sky. More specifically how many  planes were over the continental US at any given moment. Not surprisingly, the great oracle Google knew. The average number of planes in the air is 9,728 with an average of 1,270,406 souls on board.  That’s a lot of planes and it takes an army of skilled pilots, crew and air traffic controllers to keep it all under control.

I then went to my FlightAware app and zoomed out on the Eastern half of the United States and took a screen capture, showing the planes that were in the air at that moment. Most of us never look up or notice what is moving above us.  You can zoom in with Flight aware and see flights that are flying over you and you can tap the image of the plane and it will tell you what kind of plane it is, what company it is (if commercial), where it took off from and where it is going to.

It feeds my inner nerd.

Below is a screen capture of  a close up.   The blue dot is the airport and you can see that I clicked on a plane that left our airport.  The box shows the “N” or registration number, the kind of plane it is (Cessna 182) and that it is at 2,500 feet up and cruising at a comfortable 136 miles an hour. The plane is the one directly below the “2,500” Based on the path, it looks like he/she is enjoying a nice ride on a beautiful afternoon.

Tracking planes (the app is free) is another way to learn something new while you are trapped at home.

About Ray V.

Living in Aiken, South Carolina, USA, I like to share what I am looking at, thinking about or listening to. I refer to this as the view out my window. Thanks for stopping by.
This entry was posted in Aiken, Aiken Municipal Airport, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Looking Up And Finding Memories

  1. petespringerauthor says:

    Doing anything with your dad makes that activity a little better. Good memories, Ray. That map is a great visual of all of the action, and there are a lot fewer planes and people flying right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim Borden says:

    this looks like a fun app to have; will be downloading it later today!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ray V. says:

      It also comes in handy if you travel or have to pick someone up at the airport. For example, if you are landing at an airport and have a connecting flight, you can find the gate information before you get off the plane… and figure out how fast and far you need to run 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember my mother taking us kids to the rail yard in town to watch the trains go by.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. GREG TAYLOR says:

    When we lived in Florida, across the bay from MacDill AFB, we could stand in our yard and watch the aircraft coming and going from the base. During the Cuban Missile Crisis it seemed every plane the Air Force owned was flying in. But, one of my favorite memories of that place was watching the Blue Angles as they flew over our house during a performance across the bay. When we moved to Atlanta we lived close to the Atlanta airport and the air traffic, even then, was continuous. The most spectacular aircraft takeoffs I ever saw was watching our carriers launch strikes in the predawn at Yankee Station.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ray V. says:

      Yankee station? And yes, ATL is non-stop and it’s remarkable that I never had an accident all the times I was driving and watching airliners instead of cars.


  5. Margy says:

    We love that app, especially when we are in Arizona. We are a ways off the flight path of Phoenix Sky Harbour. In the evening we sit on our roof top patio and watch the stream of planes coming in over the mountains NE of Phoenix.
    We also have an app that shows all the planets and satellites – another interesting learning tool when we are up on the roof!

    Liked by 1 person

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