mikeap
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2004 11:17 am

Two 747s In Formation In The Air Over LAX?

Sun Apr 18, 2004 11:33 am

This happend around 6:45pm Saturday April 17, 2004. I am hoping someone can help me figure out what I just saw. I live in Malibu and am on one of the approach paths for LAX. I just saw 2 747s (maybe 1 747 and an A340) fly in together, in formation! One was barely ahead of the other. The approx height was 8000 feet. For starters, I see planes fly in this way all day. In my viewing spot between 2 mountains, I never see one plane pass between the mountains sooner than 25 seconds after the other one. Again, today I could have taken a picture of both 747 in 1 frame! I dont think Air Force One because there were no military fighter jets. Also, they were marked differently. They were right overhead so I could not see the tail but neither had markings underneath. I could see a red and a blue stripe on the bottom of the very back-end part of the body, the part that sticks out past the tail. After that a few regular 747s flew over (BA and Air NZ) and those regular commerical ones were higher than the two that came in formation. So the in formation ones were also lower than is generally done over my house. Again, I cannot stress how close these two planes were. We are talking Air Show close. Does anyone know what this was?
 
vikkyvik
Posts: 11909
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2003 1:58 pm

RE: Two 747s In Formation In The Air Over LAX?

Sun Apr 18, 2004 11:41 am

Mikeap,
I was playing tennis outside at USC at that time. The planes on the approach pass directly overhead on downwind. I'm pretty sure I saw every plane that passed overhead (I automatically look up when I hear one), but I didn't see two 747s as close together as you are describing. I remember seeing the BA 747 too. The planes are usually between 3000 and 4000 feet when they pass over my area, I think. Interesting, nonetheless.
~Vik
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
mikeap
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2004 11:17 am

RE: Two 747s In Formation In The Air Over LAX?

Sun Apr 18, 2004 11:50 am

Yes, it was about 25 mintues before the BA 747. They were right on each other. Maybe they went a different way into LAX. Or maybe they passed it for some show or something else. When I saw it I ran outside and put the binoculars on them. I only had to move the binoculars a couple inchs to go between the planes, which is scary-close. If ayone else knows, please help out. Thanks
 
waketurbulence
Posts: 1264
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2004 12:33 pm

RE: Two 747s In Formation In The Air Over LAX?

Sun Apr 18, 2004 12:46 pm

I am happy to write that this is my first reply to a post, as I am a new member. To answer the question the 2 747's were a Cargo Lux from Europe and a China Air Lines aircraft from Taiwan. If you want to see the replay I suggest you go to http://www4.passur.com/lax.html ... This website is pretty cool, it shows all air traffic around LAX on a 15 minute delay.
-Matt
 
pilottim747
Posts: 1577
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2001 2:34 pm

RE: Two 747s In Formation In The Air Over LAX?

Sun Apr 18, 2004 1:10 pm

Here's the link: Passur's LAX AirportMonitor. It was between 6:50 and 6:55 over Malibu. Both aircraft were Boeing 747-400s, Cargolux 774 and China Air 8. They maintained the necessary legal separation the whole time, however. At their closest point there were 1,000 ft vertical separation, the minimum legal separation.

Below is a sceenshot from when they were the closest. CAL8 was at 10,000 ft and CLX774 was at 11,000ft. The screenshot was taken with the zoom set at 5 miles so the planes must've been within a mile of each other horizontally.



pilottim747

[Edited 2004-04-18 06:11:47]
Aviation Photographers & Enthusiasts--Coordinate your life.
 
mikeap
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2004 11:17 am

RE: Two 747s In Formation In The Air Over LAX?

Sun Apr 18, 2004 2:28 pm

Thanks for the info pilot Tim. Sounds like you really know your stuff. I still do have a couple questions for you. These are still bothering me.
1. Why have I never seen two planes this close together over my house before if it is legally ok. I mean never in over a year and I watch a lot.
2. Doesn't the air traffic controller tell them where to fly, I didn't realize the pilots have a choice?
3. Why did they push it all the way to the legal minimum, I mean there was lots of other room to fly in?
4. If you have to be 1000 or more feet above or below, then what number of feet do you have to be horizontally.
Thanks so much.
 
timz
Posts: 6163
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 1999 7:43 am

RE: Two 747s Over LA?

Mon Apr 19, 2004 6:52 am

"I didn't realize the pilots have a choice?"

They don't, if by that you mean they can zip around wherever they want. ATC had told them what to do. But you're right, that is surprising to see two aircraft destined for the same airport that close together. Did one land on the south side and the other on the north?

As long as they're 1000 vertical feet apart they're allowed to be zero horizontal feet apart.
 
InnocuousFox
Posts: 2556
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2003 1:30 am

RE: Two 747s In Formation In The Air Over LAX?

Mon Apr 19, 2004 8:44 am

I would love to follow that replay and see if the higher one did an "overfly/teardrop" approach. Since it was CLX774 (a cargo plane?), it probably needed to land on the south side.
Dave Mark - Intrinsic Algorithm - Reducing the world to mathematical equations!
 
InnocuousFox
Posts: 2556
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2003 1:30 am

RE: Two 747s In Formation In The Air Over LAX?

Mon Apr 19, 2004 9:03 am

Well, I did just that. I was right. At SMO, CLX774 flew about 120, crossed the approach paths at 8000 and entered a left downwind for the south side. Interestingly, they ended up doing almost simultaneous approaches with CAL8 landing on the north. Just as they were on about a 3 mile final CSN327 (a 777 from ZGGG) was passing over them at 6400 to do the same teardrop approach!
Dave Mark - Intrinsic Algorithm - Reducing the world to mathematical equations!
 
crjdispatchkid
Posts: 97
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2004 3:15 pm

RE: Two 747s In Formation In The Air Over LAX?

Mon Apr 19, 2004 9:09 am

Very cool site. Do you know of any other airports with something like this?
Thanks...C-Ya...Bye
 
maiznblu_757
Posts: 4952
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2002 12:05 pm

RE: Two 747s In Formation In The Air Over LAX?

Mon Apr 19, 2004 9:13 am

http://www.passur.com/

There are other airports.

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