The Hidden Beauty of Flight
December 6, 2010 3:33 PM   Subscribe

Paths of Flight

# 63 The number of airplanes filmed for this video.

# 5k The number of airplanes in the sky every hour in the US.

# 24 The number of hours spent filming airplanes for this video.

# 50k The number of airplanes operating in the US skies every day.

# 13 The number of flights we took to film airplanes.

# 621 The number of people (in millions) that flew in airplanes in 2010.

# 4 The number of security badges we wore.

# 90% The percentage of US airspace covered by radar.

# 1 The number of sea lions spotted while filming.
posted by bwg (11 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Shame, it looks cool, but the video is so stuttery it made me want to kick my laptop....hopefully it's just my post-dinner, backwoods connection getting bogged down. I've always loved long still-exposures of the "highways of light," this looks like a continuation down that path.
posted by nevercalm at 3:42 PM on December 6, 2010

That was beautiful! Given your listing of stats, I think I can worry less about the possibility of my plane crashing.
posted by Sal and Richard at 3:46 PM on December 6, 2010

I wish they zoomed in more on those long shots of the Oakland landings...
posted by clorox at 3:51 PM on December 6, 2010

the video is so stuttery it made me want to kick my laptop

Lay off the caffeine, nevercalm (eponys... etc.). There's nothing stuttery here. Just smooth landings and takeoffs.

Sometimes I think the best way to appreciate being in the air would be to be to see the plane from the outside, while you're sitting inside. Sort of like having a mirror over the bed while you're having sex, only cool.
posted by Faze at 3:51 PM on December 6, 2010

Too bad Kai Tak shut down...
posted by clorox at 3:59 PM on December 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

What they're talking about when they say they "design flight paths":

Currently, airports use instrument approach procedures published by the FAA. They're very standardized for each airport, and everyone follows them. What the global aviation community is doing right now - and it's in its infancy - is to use RNP-RNAV to optimize approach and departure procedures (as well as en-route, but that's a bit easier since traffic density is lower) for the at-the-moment conditions of weather, traffic density, and aircraft performance. Airlines (like Southwest at Oakland) contract with companies that design these optimized routes (GE Aviation, among others), who then get these flight paths approved by the FAA or equivalent aviation authority.

Doing this sophisticated kind of routing requires special equipment on the aircraft as well as coordination with the FAA and local air traffic control. Aside from saving the airlines money and fuel, it's also supposed to ease congestion at busy airports - if planes can get in/get out quicker, you can operate more flights per hour.
posted by backseatpilot at 4:19 PM on December 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Thanks GE. a bunch of good guys...
posted by rainperimeter at 4:30 PM on December 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Too bad Kai Tak shut down...

Indeed. I flew in and out of there a few times years back, and it was really thrilling. And how cool to get out of your plane and be right in the city. It was like arriving at a train or bus station: there you were, no long commute to the city from the airport. That was so cool.

Too bad about the music for this GE video, though. Third rate Steve Reich ripoff, and god, it's clunky when the kick and handclaps samples come in.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:06 PM on December 6, 2010

This is scary. The only series of recurring dreams I have is composed of dreams of plane crashes. I usually figure out that they're dreams when the planes are flying super close together as depicted here, and then they collide or break apart mid-flight.

No, I'm not scared of flying. Why do you ask?
posted by mkb at 5:06 PM on December 6, 2010

Shamelessly aped from Flughafen, by Ho-Yeol Ryu1, which you may have seen as this New York Magazine cover.

1: warning: annoying flash website
posted by joshwa at 6:30 AM on December 7, 2010

Here's a pretty graphic of some of the major arrival and departure routes near San Francisco.
posted by exogenous at 6:49 AM on December 7, 2010

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