Thursday, October 08, 2009

Air Traffic

One of my regular habits, when my schedule allows, is a late afternoon water aerobics class at a local gym.  They have a small outdoor pool, in a slightly claustrophobic enclosure off the locker rooms.  It's relatively rare for us to see any air traffic above us while we splash, but today the sky was practically swarming.

We heard a high-pitched snarling sound, like an angry sewing machine.  We all looked up - sometimes you see a police or a traffic copter - and there were three little propeller planes, the single-engine overhead-wing style, flying very low overhead in tight vee formation.  Cessnas flying in close formation?  I don't know if they were really Cessnas, of course; I don't wear my glasses in water aerobics class, so my vision is limited.  They looked like Cessnas.  What they did not look like was military fighter jets.  Now, it is Fleet Week, and the Blue Angels are in town; but I never heard that the Blue Angels flew single engine prop planes.  Maybe it's just copycats.  Then they were gone, and we went back to exercises.

A little later we heard a lighter snarling sound, and one of the little planes flew back over by itself.

Finally, I happened to glance up and saw a blimp, floating silently past the south end of the pool.  Not the Goodyear blimp; it had some kind of ad for tickets on the side. 

I'd still like to know who was flying single-engine propeller planes in close formation. 

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps I'm being irrelevant.

    We live in Kensington, about 5 miles North of Berkeley, along the Western edge of the East Bay Hills.

    Typically, the flight path for air traffic into and out of San Francisco and Oakland airports doesn't even get close to us.

    But about 10 years ago, I began to notice that very large cargo and passenger jets were cruising right over us at all hours of the day and night. Since this hadn't happened before, I began to wonder what was going on.

    I called my local representative's office to complain and inquire. I was told that this was a matter of some dispute. For a while the Oakland Airport tried to literally deny that this was happening, that none of its flights ever flew over Kensington. Then they backed down, and decided to admit what everyone already knew, that during peak hours, and during times of high cloud cover, perhaps 10% of its flow was redirected over the hill, instead of through the Carquinas Strait or over Livermore from the South.

    These huge babies were really flying low! You could even smell their exhaust on occasion. They've pretty much stopped doing it in the last three years or so, but every once in a while....

    Personally, I wouldn't mind if blimps flew overhead any day of the week. I love'em!