I took this shot a couple of weeks ago in the Philippines. In this photograph of an old YS11 propeller aircraft landing at Baguio, it looks like the starboard engine is on fire, creating a stream of smoke behind the plane. In fact, this is a cloud formation behind the plane which you can see more clearly in the photograph that I took half a second before and which I have posted to the workshop. I was just lucky that I took this at the right moment to create this impression.
I had taken this plane up to Baguio from Manila three days before, and I took this shot from the side of the runway as it was coming into land for the return trip. When I bought my ticket on Asian Spirit (“the People’s Airline) I didn’t realise that I would be flying on a plane as old as this. At Manila airport I saw a BAe146 and a Dash7 parked outside the terminal building, and I thought we would be flying on one of those, but when they put us into the bus they took us over the back of the airfield where this old propeller plane was parked. As I climbed on board I noticed the fuselage around the door was patched up with a grey gunk, and there was what looked like a large steel plate welded under the fuselage as if to hold it together. When I got to Baguio (an unpressurised flight at 10,000 ft) I looked up the aircraft’s registration on my BlackBerry and discovered it had been built in 1969 and had been operated by ANA in Japan on domestic flights until 2003 when it was sold to Asian Spirit. Given the repairs that I could see on the fuselage, I wondered whether it had been in a crash at some stage, but an Internet search revealed that the only problem it had experienced had been in 1980 when it got struck by lightning, damaging the nosecone and fuselage, and shattering the rudder. However, it landed safely with no injuries reported.
The flight into Baguio involves a long left hand turn through a valley, skirting a few mountain ridges, and then landing on an airstrip cut into the side of the mountain with a pronounced downhill gradient. If I had known I would be flying into Baguio on a 36 year old plane, I might have considered taking the bus instead (but that is a 7 hour trip compared to 55 minutes by plane) but fortunately the weather was fine and the trip uneventful.
In the workshop photograph you will see a security guard standing on the left of the frame (which I have cropped out on this one). He is blowing a whistle at a jeepney that was about to cross the airstrip. The runway at Baguio has a road crossing the middle of it, and when a plane is about to land or take off, they blow a siren to stop vehicles and people crossing. However, people stand very close to the edge of the runway when the planes take off – just as well they aren’t jet aircraft or they might get blown away!
*** I have posted to the workshop a vertical crop as suggested by Kari. It looks better than the original. Thanks for the suggestion Kari ***
Critiques | Translate
ktanska (28995) 2006-01-13 6:53
Looking at your portfolio, I guess you have plenty of experience on small airports and various airplanes! Interesting photo and good note as always.
You seem to have tough choice on the crop.
I would either choose only slightly cropped version of the original showing the guard.
Or vertical crop showing just the couple and the plane.
Aazragi (1927) 2006-01-13 7:05
Wow, what a lovely shot you got. Hope you wait for this shot for a long.
bachduong (651) 2006-01-13 7:16
Great shot ! I like this picture .
sarju (5324) 2006-01-13 14:06
the ease with which these people are walking so close to the plane is incredible.
It almost makes me awe with admiration for these people.
very good capture of the drama over here.
Compositionally and aesthetically, both ways this photo is very solid
thanks for sharing this incredible beauty and such an informative note
regards ... sarju
PS: Congratulations on getting through the flight alive .. :D
feather (51130) 2006-01-14 6:59
What a story! Health and Safety issues are seemingly not a concern here. A well-timed shot to create the illusion of smoke.
WorldGuru (176) 2006-01-14 9:26
7 hours or 55 minutes? As long as they are "properly" maintained and the pilots have the appropriate skills I don't care how old they are(the planes...;-). It's when they knowingly cut corners... An old bird properly maintained is better than a new one poorly maintained...;-)
Sounds like exciting adventures. Looks like the pilots had to have their skills together with that low IFR weather where they landed.
kensimage (8565) 2006-01-14 11:38
Wow, I'd be nervous, too, in a plane like that. But I'd bet the bus is even less safe, statistically speaking; it's just that thought of falling out of the sky that makes the air risk harder to ignore.
Excellent POV here that contrasts the unprotected people casually standing around against the large airplane landing right next to them.
capthaddock (28790) 2006-01-14 18:49
Hi David - yes the WS crop works better, but it is still a very interesting photo with a delightful note, hmmm ex-sovietistan definitely does not have a monopoly on risky aircraft, though having survived a ride makes fascinating table conversation (a personal harrowing experience on an Uzbekistan airways flight comes to my mind on an overheated overcrowded dilapitataed Tashkent-Bukhara flight, one of those planes crashed in Termiz a few months after my experience)
gaby (19819) 2006-01-15 0:36
David bonjour - I prefer this version for the compo - superb and strong view and very interesting note (I take many old planes in Africa - west and central - and, often, I'm very afraid).
Have a nice sunday
jbweasle (9395) 2006-01-15 9:09
Ha ha, David - I like this chance image, it really does look like smoke from the engine. The two people in the foreground looking at the plane adds strength to the picture by giving a link between the plane and the ground. It's their look which brings this to life and the vertical crop enhances this. While the horizontal is a good shot, I share your opinion that the vertical one is an improvement.
AiresSantos (56155) 2006-01-17 3:22
Hi David, great capture !
Interesting composition with very good note, sharpness, colors and contrast.
I like the perspective and the people in the shot !
Very well done,
chaity (1539) 2006-01-25 19:38
hi David, I wouldn't like to miss shots taken especially with aircraft. 8-)
You really got me fooled when you mentioned about the smoke coming from the engine.
Nice view of the place.
samrat_roy1 (701) 2006-05-01 6:00
but i wonder, how did the authorities allowed the man with his child (maybe), stroll near the run-way?
voyagenation (1180) 2006-07-13 11:16
that stroyline fits the popular saying and it goes; "only in the Philippines".
superb timimg to the catch...
tomauer (316) 2007-04-11 12:00
Very Nice photo and note! My friend in the Philippines flew these! Although, note: they do not fly the YS-11 in Asian Spirit anymore, BAe ATP's are replacing, and the 146's are growing. They even recently purchased an old MD-?? "mad dog" from Continental Airlines.. hehe, Sorry for off-topic guys.
The Baguio Flight would be scary, The Airport is notrious with Foggy conditions, My mum used to work for Philippine Airlines, And she chose to go on sick leave and miss the flight, and the flight she was meant to take Crashed due to a monsoon and fog! damn lucky she threw a sicky!
thanks for sharing!
- Copyright: David Astley (banyanman) (7789)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2005-12-29
- Categories: Decisive Moment
- Camera: Nikon D100, Nikkor AF-S 24-120/3.5-5.6G ED, UV
- Exposure: f/9.0, 1/320 seconds
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Theme(s): Air Craft - Comercial air crafts only [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2006-01-13 6:30