If you recall from my Mother’s Day post, I am fortunate to have a wonderful Mom who basically broke into United’s headquarters to buy me something unique for my birthday as a youngster. My Dad is equally fantastic and did everything he could to encourage and foster my passion for airlines, airports & travel, and this Father’s Day post is devoted to him.
As a young pre-teen and teenager my Dad took me to the parking lots around Chicago’s O’Hare Airport on countless weekends so I could watch the arrivals and departures. We would bring a scanner to listen to air traffic communications to know what was coming and going, and I often filmed our planespotting sessions on an old school VHS recorder. This of course is very much prior to 9/11/2001, and although a security car once stopped to monitor us, we were never approached.
Our typical spot was alongside runway 4R/22L and aircraft would either be departing 22L or arriving on 4R. The parking lot at that time belonged to a flight kitchen, and service trucks would frequently pass by. Even though it’s one of the shorter runways at O’Hare, I still had the opportunity to see a number of wide-bodied jets take off and arrive, particularly DC-10s, L1011s & A300s.
Once I had my driver’s license at 16 I would venture out to O’Hare even more frequently and at all times of the week, sometimes bringing my homework to do in between lulls of traffic. With my Dad’s foundation I found even more spots around the runways to continue my passion for planespotting. I even had quite a few pilots wave to me, which I greatly appreciated. Sitting alongside airport runways and watching as much as I did, I hoped one day I’d frequently fly.
Last month I flew through Chicago on a couple of occasions and was incredibly fortunate to be seated in a window seat on the correct side of the plane to capture the following takeoff from runway 22L. Happy Father’s Day, Dad… this takeoff is for you.
My Love & Light,