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Flying High
July 25, 2011 12:39 PM   Subscribe

GE has posted a searchable bird's-eye view of the 6,000 most popular airports in the world.
posted by gman (19 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Don't they know that loose-lipped websites will destory freedom?
posted by IvoShandor at 12:45 PM on July 25, 2011


Wait a minute, Heathrow's on that site! How exactly are you defining "popular"?
posted by Jehan at 12:46 PM on July 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


...public Required Navigation Performance with Authorization Required (RNP AR) procedures.

I have no idea what this means.
posted by reductiondesign at 12:57 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


How exactly are you defining "popular"?

I imagine by 'most passengers/flights', as opposed to 'classiest ambience' or 'finest cocktails available in departure lounge' or 'runways of outstanding natural beauty'.
posted by permafrost at 1:01 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have no idea what this means.

Required Navigation Performance is also known as RNP-RNAV and essentially determines how accurate the aircraft must be in determining its own location. Authorization Required is exactly what it sounds like. What it's saying is that you need special equipment and specially trained pilots (and special approval) to land there with that approach procedure.
posted by backseatpilot at 1:03 PM on July 25, 2011


Is that just the Flickr/YahooMaps photo browser embedded on the page?

Though, the series looks like a neat online article bundle sort of (advertisement) thing. Thanks!
posted by Prince_of_Cups at 1:10 PM on July 25, 2011


I think you can enter any airport code. I don't think BRR is among the 6000 busiest in the world. May be one of the prettiest though.
posted by IanMorr at 1:11 PM on July 25, 2011


...And the reason the website is mentioning it is that GE is one of the companies developing these new RNP approaches. What's been happening lately is that, rather than the FAA building all of these approaches like they normally do, airlines can contract the work out to specialists (like this GE division) who will tailor-make approaches according to the airport and the airlines' equipage. They get submitted to the FAA, who then approves them. Because RNP mostly uses GPS, there's no need to regularly "calibrate" the approaches like you have to do with traditional ground-based systems, so the FAA doesn't need to get as involved.
posted by backseatpilot at 1:11 PM on July 25, 2011


Oh sure, it's only the cool airports like the athletic airports and the social airports that go to parties and put out.


Seriously, this is pretty cool. Worth it for the airports on small islands alone.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:21 PM on July 25, 2011


Airports, shopping malls, nightclubs. This would be my architectural palette were I to design Hell:

(A long lineup, a meaningless pat-down, a guy with popped-collar spills drink on your back. You start to talk to the lady behind you, but the blaring top 40s music makes conversation impossible. Everywhere you look: black-lights, billboards, security theatre. Vacuous people vacuum branded crap from vacuous salespeople. Every hour, your flight delay goes up an hour…)
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 1:23 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is neat, thanks! I love this style of web UI, very simple and clean. I've flown into a couple of the "most scenic" landings, including Telluride and Mammoth. They left out Sedona, the most beautiful place I've ever landed.

RNAV RNP is the new hotness in instrument approaches. It uses modern navigation, mostly GPS, to fly very precise approaches entirely by instruments, when the pilot is flying blind in a cloud. RNP 0.3 is a usual standard, meaning the plane must stay within 0.3 miles of the described course. (There's RNP 0.1 too). Earlier instrument technologies were designed with tolerances of 2 or 4 miles, so it's a huge improvement. Very few aircraft and crews are authorized to fly RNP so far, but it's being adopted by commercial carriers.

One nice feature of RNP is you can tell planes to fly complex curved paths. That's a big help in an airport like Palm Springs, CA, surrounded by very high mountains. The RNAV RNP Y 31L approach approach, for instance, gets you down to 277' off the ground entirely flying blind by taking you in a big circle in the valley. The previous VOR approach only got you down to 1900', much less useful. The RNP 13 approach is particularly nutty.
posted by Nelson at 1:29 PM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


The satellite/air images of my home airport in this site are the most detailed I've seen - better than what's currently in the same region in Google Maps - is there documentation elsewhere of what data sets they're using? I can see myself biking to work, almost.
posted by zomg at 3:03 PM on July 25, 2011


Scratch that previous. When zooming in or out a faint Google copyright appears.
posted by zomg at 3:07 PM on July 25, 2011


gman: expect this to add approx 6 hours to your next attempted entry into the US.

"But it's an American site! You know GE is an American company, right?"

"The twin towers were also an American site. What do you have to say to that, wise guy?"
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:50 PM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


also: no Ouagadougou? For shame.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:52 PM on July 25, 2011


Although flying is mostly painful, this is fun site to remember all the places I've visited. LRV, SXM, AQA, BOM, MEX and BIL have been some of the most memorable landings for me.

As it happens I'm on my route to SEA and will be landing in few hours. Nice use of in-flight internet.
posted by zeikka at 6:20 PM on July 25, 2011


Coming from a global family, the plane is responsible for much what of what I know and experience. I always love tributes to air traveling such as this one. Thanks.
posted by skepticallypleased at 7:39 PM on July 25, 2011


Bad interface design. Next to the search box it has a button that says "Random Airport". How do I search?
posted by republican at 8:19 PM on July 25, 2011


GE paid virtually no income tax in 2010 after posting worldwide profits of $14.2 billion dollars. This is an exercise in endearing the brand to hip, jet-setting types, and we shouldn't let them get away with it.
posted by limon at 12:41 AM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


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